A Cherokee Woman's America: Memoirs of Narcissa Owen, by Karen L. Kilcup

By Karen L. Kilcup

This first scholarly variation of the writings of a distinct local American lady information a unprecedented lifestyles in a mix of genres together with oral historical past, ethnography, and western event sketches. Narcissa Owen used to be of combined Cherokee and Scots-Irish descent and the daughter of a pace-setter of the outdated Settlers (those Cherokees who moved west ahead of their next compelled elimination by means of the U.S. executive, the infamous path of Tears).

The Memoirs show a desirable and intricate 19th-century woman—an artist, tune instructor, storyteller, accomplice slave proprietor, Washington socialite, spouse of a white railroad government, widow, and mom of the 1st local American U.S. Senator, Robert L. Owen, Jr. Her writings interpret the background of the tribe and describe the cultural upheaval of the Cherokees relocating west. They additionally provide a glimpse into antebellum, Civil struggle, and Reconstruction American life.  

This version presents a wealth of history info together with a biographical preface, chronology of Owen's lifestyles, family tree, and textual footnotes. moreover, an introductory essay locations the Memoirs within the context of Owen's predecessors and contemporaries, together with Cherokee cultural and literary culture, the bigger Indian historical/literary context, and women's writing of the overdue nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Extra info for A Cherokee Woman's America: Memoirs of Narcissa Owen, 1831-1907

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Invoking as well Nancy Ward’s appeal to the role of the mother in both American and Cherokee cultures, Owen’s resistance narrative, like Keys’s, concludes with the miserable deaths suffered by many of the travelers. Both narratives reflect Simon Ortiz’s assertion that “Speaking for the sake of the land and the people means speaking for the inextricable relationship and interconnection between them” (xii; see also xvii–xviii; see Cook-Lynn, Anti-Indianism 103, 178; Weaver 11). As Warrior, among others, has emphasized, “land and community are necessary starting-points for the process of coming to a deep perception of the conflicts and challenges that face American Indian people and communities” (85).

Through a series of international councils” that included other tribes as well and that resisted the Dawes Allotment Act (Hertzberg 8–9). In contrast to this secular movement, the messianic, visionary Ghost Dance, which emerged in the late 1880s, was a pan-Indian religious movement that sought to “hasten the return of aboriginal times in which . . the tribes themselves were again to become supreme” (Hertzberg 10), but this peaceful movement culminated horribly in the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890.

Conveying powerfully, if differentially, for both her white and Native listeners, the menace and voraciousness of the white settlers through the image of the helpless “very small child” [emphasis added], Winnemucca moves from personal history to a tribal history that is intricately interwoven with her own family; structurally, in these first few sentences the dynamic narrative moves quickly from the self, to the whites, back to the tribe, and then to her grandfather’s important role (“ I . . I .

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