Perhaps because the Washoe population has always been small or because it has been more peaceful than other tribal communities, its history has never been published. In The Small Shall Be Strong, Matthew S. Makley demonstrates that, in spite of this lack of scholarly attention, Washoe history is replete with broad significance. The Washoes, for example, gained culturally important lands through the 1887 Dawes Act. And during the 1990s, the tribe sought to ban climbing on one of its most sacred sites, Cave Rock, a singular instance of Native sacred concerns leading to restrictions.
The Small Shall Be Strong illustrates a history and raises a broad question: How might greater scholarly attention to the numerous lesser-studied tribes in the United States compel a rethinking of larger historical narratives?
"Matthew S. Makley situates Washoe survival in the cultural worldview and actions of Washoe individuals themselves. A complex and sensitive history of an Indian community that has generally been overlooked by scholars, this book makes key contributions to the fields of Indian history and Western history as well as to environmental history."—Jeffrey P. Shepherd, author of We Are an Indian Nation: A History of the Hualapai People
"This timely work makes a strong case for how attention to tribal nations can provide insights into the history and contemporary state of Native North America . . . This volume is a model of ethnohistorical scholarship."—CHOICE
"This well-researched book sets a standard for the rapidly expanding field of small tribal histories."—Journal of American History
"Makley has done a service to the Washoe and students of Indian history by providing this useful account of a small persistent tribe that is usually overlooked in Native American history and in the sweeping accounts of the American West. Their story demonstrates that the histories of small tribes can reveal new dimensions in a general story that is well known in its broad outlines."—Pacific Historical Review
"[Makley's] call for a fresh perspective is very useful and it comes with the added bonus of a solid example of how to tell the story of a smaller tribe."—Nevada Historical Society Quarterly
"A richly textured, meditative analysis of the Washoe, The Small Shall Be Strong demonstrates how bringing new voices and experiences adds depth and nuance to Indigenous history as well as the history of the US West . . . Makley has produced a book that should be required reading for all Americans but especially for the non-Indian residents of and visitors to the Washoe homelands."—Ethnohistory