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

Women In History

By Karen L. Kilcup

This first scholarly variation of the writings of a special local American lady information a rare lifestyles in a mix 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 Narcissa Owen was once of combined Cherokee and Scots-Irish descent and the daughter of a pacesetter of the outdated Settlers (those Cherokees who moved west ahead of their next pressured removing through the U.S. govt, the infamous path of Tears).

The Memoirs exhibit a desirable and complicated 19th-century woman—an artist, track instructor, storyteller, accomplice slave proprietor, Washington socialite, spouse of a white railroad govt, 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 supply a glimpse into antebellum, Civil battle, and Reconstruction American life.  

This version offers a wealth of heritage details together with a biographical preface, chronology of Owen's existence, 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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Additional resources for A Cherokee Woman's America: Memoirs of Narcissa Owen, 1831-1907

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Constructing pan-Indian generalizations, especially in the case of transculturated women,32 she risks erasing the cultural and tribal specificity of individual authors; we must take seriously Jana Sequoyah’s concern that “authors and scholars of Native American literature may unwittingly denigrate or dispense with the specificity of tribal histories by assimilating the materiality of place and community to the representational esthetics of distance and displacement” (460). Nevertheless, by considering Owen in the context of other Indian women autobiographers, we can gain important insight into constructions of the self, especially in its crucial relation to community, and add to the substantial existing commentary on Native women’s life-writing.

70) By mixing personal history, tribal history, political history, and accounts of Cherokee cultural values, the narrative diminishes somewhat the accusatory tone, but only to a modest degree. A noteworthy feature of the opening section of the narrative is its reiteration of the Cherokees’ adherence to laws, which contrasts sharply to the lawless, uncivilized violence that she depicts in passages like the one above, which echoes and strikingly inverts captivity narratives like that of Mary Rowlandson, which emphasized Indians’ savagery.

Part of the impetus for growth came from the nation’s Contexts, Contemporaries, and Narcissa Owen’s Political Aesthetics 15 very emphasis on education. The Female Seminary published an official newspaper written by the students, the Cherokee Rose Bud in 1854 and A Wreath of Cherokee Rose Buds in 1855. Although much of this literature reflected assimilationist teachings and the mainstream ideology of genteel domesticity and piety, dissenting voices occasionally emerged. ” (qtd. in Mihesuah, Cultivating 98).

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