It was once believed that rain would follow the concussive impact of a battle.
The myth is the topic for the feature article in the fall issue of Great Plains Quarterly, available via the University of Nebraska Press. Volume 33, No. 4, is the final issue for 2013.
In “Making War on Jupiter Pluvius: The Culture and Science of Rainmaking in the Southern Great Plains, 1870-1913,” author Michael Whitaker examines the belief that explosions during battles on the Plains would cause rain. Public funding was spent to test the theory in 1891 by setting off artillery on a Texas ranch. And though nothing conclusive came from the tests, the myth prevailed for years because of cultural ideas held about the environment.
In “Eastern Beads, Western Applications: Wampum among Plains Tribes,” author Jordan Keagle writes about the use of beads by Native Americans and colonists as commerce in the eastern United States and how the use changed as settlers moved west.
Authors Alan Neville and Allyssa Kaye Anderson chronicle and analyze the land loss in “The Diminishment of the Great Sioux Reservation: Treaties, Tricks, and Time.” The article covers the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and continues through modern times.
Also included are book reviews on topics including Lewis and Clark, Native American art and Southwestern swing bands.
Great Plains Quarterly is an academic journal published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The issue is available via the University of Nebraska Press as an individual copy or as a subscription. For more information about the Center for Great Plains Studies and Great Plains Quarterly, go to http://www.unl.edu/plains.