By Karen L. Kilcup

This first scholarly version of the writings of a distinct local American girl information a rare lifestyles in a mixture of genres together with oral historical past, ethnography, and western experience sketches. Narcissa Owen was once of combined Cherokee and Scots-Irish descent and the daughter of a pace-setter of the previous Settlers (those Cherokees who moved west sooner than their next compelled removing by means of the U.S. govt, the infamous path of Tears).

The Memoirs show a desirable and intricate 19th-century woman—an artist, song 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 variation presents a wealth of historical past details together with a biographical preface, chronology of Owen's lifestyles, family tree, and textual footnotes. moreover, an introductory essay areas 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 past due nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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

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Federal government. In all instances, however, Ward’s speeches reflect the centrality of community preservation and survival rather than individualistic expression. Moreover, they underscore for us “the link between literature and social relationships that is a natural part of the oral tradition” and the transformative power of language in effecting social change (Womack 16, 17, 66–67; see also Bruchac 91; Armstrong 183). As Theda Perdue indicates: “The political organization that existed in the Cherokee Nation in 1817 and 1818 had made it possible for women to voice their opinion.

Owen knows that the figures are two little girls playing dolls, but she 14 Contexts, Contemporaries, and Narcissa Owen’s Political Aesthetics goes to search “the room where the witches were supposed to be and gave as near as I could a dying yell of a supposed witch. That voice sent all the witchhunters screaming downstairs” (124–25). She concludes with a sense of pleasure that she invites readers to share: “When they found I had only made sport of their witch story and had the laugh against them, that was the end of the faith in witches.

3 That she valued such voices emerges in her introduction, where she announces her motives for writing: “I write for [my family] some of the stories and traditions of the dim past as taught by the elderly Cherokee women, whose duty it was to instruct the rising generation and . . teach them the traditions and the past history of the seven Cherokee clans” (46). 4 Similarly, we do not know whether Owen was familiar with Sarah Winnemucca’s Life among the Piutes or Zitkala-⁄a’s Atlantic Monthly autobiographical essays; but, as I will suggest below, she did not necessarily need to know them to be influenced by them.

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