Creek Marys Blood: A Novel
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And again when Dane purported to know Jerusha's emotional strength: "I believe Jerusha's feelings went beyond the limits of the heart. To survive, the weak must feed on the hearts of the strong. Dane's character obviously hasn't realized that Cherokees become Cherokee though cultural practice, not blood. These ideas about blood came from the United States government as they were taking and giving rights to Native peoples after contact. If Creek Mary really were traditional, she would know that if Jerusha wanted her blessing as Dane's wife that she would have to assimilate to Cherokee ways and teach her children to the same.
It pissed me off when Brown talks about a "heap" of buffalo hides. As if the stereotypical Western movie narrative about Natives only speaking pigeon English had taken over his diction: "big heap 'em. Conley and others, but I'm 10 pages to the end and don't regret the Cherokee and Native history refreshment via fiction. This strategy made me feel like he was writing the book to impress people on some level.
Also, by substituting the Cherokee Beloved Woman Mary Ward with Creek Mary in some of the historical moments of the text, it kind of robs Cherokee women of a more historically authentic role model. Perhaps this hybridity was a way for Brown to point out the social construction of ethnicity and the absurd way in which humans revert back to mob mentality under pressure or out of habit. Also, as I'm reading now about Jerusha, I'm still rolling my eyes about the odd way in which sexuality and sex are presented.
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It feels somewhat sensationalized and somewhat sexist. Dee Brown doesn't mention that this practice was adopted by Indigenous folk after the French brought the practice with them. Brown spends time explaining other Creek and Cherokee customs. Now I feel like researching the book and its author--is Brown a southeastern Native? Did he "have to" write about sexy Native women and savage Native men to get the book published in ?
If he wrote this book today, would he have toned down some of his stereotypical language because contemporary audiences value greatee authenticity? How accurate is the historical framework of the text? It seems accurate so far. Well, except for the "savage blood ceremony" on p.
Page "My loins are burning. After random and numerous references to womens' breasts, I'm officially not into "Creek Mary's Blood. Dec 27, Joanna rated it really liked it. A genocide took place in the US. For centuries, Native Americans have been systemically oppressed, dispossessed and killed for land, for greed and for power by the Veheos the white men. Every treaty drawn by the American government was violated, vilifying, pushing out and killing Native Americans.
This part of history, which remains untold in mainstream academia, is an American legacy so well-written in the form of historical fiction by Dee Brown. Creek Mary's Blood is the rich, inspiring and heart-wrenching story of Creek Mary and her descendants; a story of resistance, fight, oppression, betrayal, identity, love, life and death. I really appreciate the perspective from which the story is told and the connections made between different historical times through characters. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in history.
I first read this title in early middle school. It was a book i chose randomly from the adult section of the library because I wanted to read something "big. I think I was a bit young for some of the books themes, but it sparked an interest for me to learn more about native american history and my own native american roots.
It made me question some of what I learned in elementary school and started a I first read this title in early middle school. It made me question some of what I learned in elementary school and started a love for dense chapter books. I just recently purchased this as an adult to re-read. I hope it is as good as I remember. Nov 27, Robin rated it liked it. I thought this book was very anti-American. It shows that the Indians were not all war mongering as depicted in various characterizations be it , film, westerns. They were human as everyone else.
At times it seemed like the author was trying ;to explain too much. Aug 21, Kate rated it really liked it. Sep 14, Trisha Owens rated it it was amazing. Excellent tale based on historical facts, of four generations of Native American Cherokee family of "Creek Mary". Story is told in remembrances to a newspaper reporter, by Dane, the only relative left of Creek Mary's family. It is a story of Native Americans content to live on their own land, versus the inexhaustible greed and avarice of white settlers.
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- Creek Mary's Blood: A Novel.
A "keeper". Highly recommended. Awesome This book gave such a vivid picture of the way the Federal Government treated the Native Americans. It showed how a proud people went through such horrific treatment from a nation that was a true invader in their land. View 2 comments. Jan 16, Carmen Long rated it it was amazing. I love this book - I have a read it a billion times. May 18, Cathy Dunn rated it really liked it. An outstanding historical novel that covers the history of several Native American tribes in several areas of the country, including a detailed description of the Indian removal events.
I learned much about the numerous tribes the main character knew in his life journey Sep 28, R. Ziemer rated it it was amazing. The character of Creek Mary seems to be based on a historical figure who is interesting in her own right. The Creek woman wielded some power among her own people and also dealt with the Oglethorpe and the English colonials who had settled in Savannah, Georgia. Other historical figures such as Andrew Jackson also play their roles on this stage. When revolutionary winds blow through the South, the tribes are divided, with some backing the Americans and others trusting their fate to the English.
Disillusioned, Mary leaves the Englishman and moves to a Cherokee village, where she remarries and raises a new Indian family. It is her full-blood Indian son Dane who tells the rest of the tale. One thing I learned from the book was that the Cherokees and others actually crossed the Ohio and traveled through Southern Illinois during the brutal winter of their removal West.
In their new land, they are again divided as some try to adopt the ways of white society and others seek to live traditional lives. Circumstances bring him to marry a Cheyenne woman and they and their children carry the story out onto the high plains. Brown brings in more historical figures, such as the trader Charles Bent and his mixed-blood family, and well-known native heroes Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Any story delving into this painful history is for me difficult to stomach. But Dane is a great character for his resilient good nature. Interesting and Frustrating This novel depicts the troubles, sadness and frustrations of the plight of Native Americans as their land stolen from them by white men.
It is sickening to think about how so many women,children and elderly were brutalized and forced to live in horrible conditions Many starving to death as they were forced off their land and corralled into small reservations with the promise of freedom and plenty of food and supplies by the government that never materialized. The whi Interesting and Frustrating This novel depicts the troubles, sadness and frustrations of the plight of Native Americans as their land stolen from them by white men.
As it turned out the luncheon was in honor of Mary Dane, a young Indian woman from Montana, the first of her race and the first of her sex to graduate from Columbia Medical College. Teddy was in his usual ebullient form, gesturing wildly and slapping his hands sharply together to emphasize his remarks, his voice rising often to an emotional treble. I was too absorbed in Mary Dane.
Her skin was of a dark honey color; her eyes were a somber black. She was not only exceptionally beautiful, there was about her an impulse of life—not a warmth, but a driving force that I imagined could be felt by every one of the forty or so people at the luncheon tables. I believed that she was aware of each separate one of us, but her dark eyes were directed most often to a very old Indian man seated to her left front. His walnut face was grooved with deep wrinkles. His long white hair fell over the shoulders of his plain blue-serge coat. Most of the time his eyes were closed, but when he opened them and looked at Mary Dane they were very bright, and he would smile, keeping his thin lips closed.
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Suddenly there was Roosevelt handing Mary Dane a scroll of some sort, and everyone stood and began applauding. At first I was not certain of what he had said. I fumbled around for a moment, letting the word-sounds run through my head again. A rather large woman jostled past me, blocking my efforts to push forward to reach the old Indian before attendants hurried him and Mary Dane out through the side door. In the hubbub all I could learn was that they were rushing to board a train. It was not a very good reportorial performance on my part.
The next day I learned from a White House secretary that he lived on or nearby a Cheyenne reservation. No one seemed to know his first name. Dane, and his address was simply Dundee, Montana. It made no sense to me, an old Cheyenne Indian named Dane living two thousand miles north by west of the lush green coast of Georgia and having any knowledge whatsoever of my long-vanished Creek Mary.
But I decided to write a letter of inquiry to Mr. Dane at Dundee, Montana, and to my surprise a brief reply came back quite promptly. He assured me that he was indeed a descendant of my Creek Mary, her grandson in fact. Although he had lived with the Cheyennes for many years, he was not of their blood. He was pleased that I knew of his grandmother, and thanked me for writing to him.
That was all. Of course I wrote to him again, asking him to tell me what had happened to Creek Mary after her bold assault upon the city of Savannah. His second reply was as brief as the first. There was much to tell, he said, so much that he could never put it all into a letter. Besides, his old fingers had stiffened with the years and he found it difficult to write.
Why did I not pay him a visit? He would tell me whatever I wanted to know. And so here I was on a frosty morning in spring, trudging up a Montana dirt road pockmarked with hoofprints and rutted by the steel tires of wagons and buggies. Why had I come so far, taking leave without pay from a job that was insecure at best?
Perhaps it was the letters he had written to me, the ink script so carefully handprinted in bold and steady characters. This was not misspelling; it was almost perfect eighteenth-century English. He had been taught to read and write by his grandmother, Creek Mary, who had learned her English from eighteenth-century British missionaries in Carolina before the tribe crossed the Savannah River into Georgia. I could guess that much. It was like reading a manuscript from the nascent period of our republic, and I was beguiled by this link with the past, to a time so far distant from the modern now of His cabin lay in a sprawling valley, with an upthrust of range far off to the northwest.
A small stream bordered by cottonwoods and willows flowed just beyond it. A few Herefords that had come to drink there lifted their heads to stare at me. It was a lonely place. He must have seen me coming. He stepped outside, lifting his face to the sun, waiting. I shouted a good morning to him, and he nodded.
He was wearing a gray wool shirt, striped snuff-colored jeans, and old scarred cowboy boots. His long hair, silvery in the sunlight, was no longer loose as he had worn it at the White House, but was parted in the middle with a tightly woven braid hanging over each shoulder. The smooth parchment covering his nose and cheeks stretched out into a network of wrinkles, but his bright eyes belied his years. As I came up he offered his hand, and then gestured for me to go inside.
After the bright sunlight the interior of the cabin seemed dark. Three hickory rocking chairs faced a fireplace where a few orange coals glowed beneath a smoke-blackened coffeepot. He took my coat, hung it over the back of one of the rockers and motioned for me to sit there. It is good to have a visitor, he said. All my Cheyenne friends are dead except a few old women, most too feeble to journey out. The younger people are too busy. Do you drink coffee?
His accent struck me as being faintly British, not harsh in the way so many Northern Plains Indians speak. He handed me a large tin cup of coffee, the metal already so hot that I had to rest it on the arm of the rocker. Would you mind telling me how old you are? I asked. I am certain. His tone was slightly nettled. The old ones of the Cheyenne people mark time by events. Some had winter-count calendars on buffalo skins, all lost in the wars.
But of what importance is age by years? My grandmother was probably ninety-five by your calendar when she died. And that is how he began telling me about her. He had known her himself only as an aging woman, but he could visualize her in her early twenties, as could I, through his granddaughter. When Dane was a child eager for stories, seated beside his grandmother or held in her lap, he had listened many times to tales of her days of great glory as the Beloved Woman of the Bluff Village Creeks.
It was a fine summer morning and she went for a ride on the fast-footed Choctaw pony that John Kingsley had obtained for her in trade. She let the pony trot along easily under the live oaks, passing a succession of pathways that forked off to various small vegetable plots cultivated by the Creeks outside their village.
When she came to a level meadow she removed her cape of red English cloth and fastened it to the saddle. Then she put the pony into a fast gallop, feeling the air flow cool over her naked breasts, bracing her neck against the tug of her long hair streaming behind her like a black pennon. The grass ended against a thicket of trees where a clear brook ran swiftly toward the river.
Of its own accord the pony slowed and stopped with its forefeet in the stream. She let it wet its nose in the water, and she was at once aware of a heavy quietness. The thicket was filled with silent birds. She knew that the day was too young for birds not to be filling the air with calls and chatter and music. Without alarm she wondered at the meaning of this, as she often wondered on the meanings of the actions of all living beings—birds, animals, plants, and men and women. She watched the first cloud puffs forming in a sky that was a rich blue after a cleansing night shower.
Because this was a day that was to have much meaning for her, Dane said, she told me many times what she was wearing that morning. Besides the cape of red English cloth, she wore a knee-length skirt of the softest deerskin, and moccasins and leggings embroidered with beads of every color.
She also wore a ring that General Oglethorpe had given her, a ring that bore a sparkling jewel of some kind. Around her neck would have been the gorget with the silver Danish coin that you may have seen my granddaughter wearing that day in the White House. She was never without it. His eyes brightened. There was a Danish gentleman in her life. I think she told no one much about him but me, long after she gave me my name.
So that—Of course. I could see that he was pleased by my recognition. In my feeble searches into her history, I volunteered, I found mention of a Danish sea captain, said to have died of madness in a futile search for her. As she and the Choctaw pony rested at the brook in the golden morning, there was a sudden fluttering of birds in the highest limbs of the live oaks, and then from beyond the thicket came a scream of rage and pain. Reaching for her cape, she quickly wrapped it around her shoulders and forced the pony into the woods, bowing her head before the slap of leaves and vines until the frightened animal brought her into a clearing.
Mary had known him all her life. The screams came again from across the clearing, and she saw them then, nearby his log shelter. Tolchi was bound facing a tree, and a stout white man was flogging his naked back with a leather whip. Her pony had come to a halt, but without hesitation she made it leap into a charging gallop. The stout man heard the thud of hooves and swung around in surprise.
As horse and rider swept down upon him, his fleshy face showed a mixture of anger and fear. One hand still held the whip upright; his blue porcine eyes widened in disbelief at the onrushing horse and rider. Then as she swept past him she tore the whip from his grasp. He spat out a vicious oath, but she turned back upon him, cutting one side of his face open with the tail of the whip.
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He screamed, stumbled, and crawled a few yards, blinded by his own blood, wiping the flow on his sleeve. Then he struggled to his feet and ran like an awkward ox for his horse. She held her pony until he was mounted, and then she lashed the flank of his horse. Turning back to Tolchi, she dismounted and with some difficulty released him from the ropes.
Why, Tolchi, why? Tolchi said that he had been away hunting deer in the north. During his absence the intruder had moved into his cabin and staked off the land. When Tolchi returned, the man had ordered him off his own farm plot, claiming that it was his by a grant from the King of Great Britain and the Trustees of Georgia. Others came with him, Tolchi told her. I saw them cutting trees to build cabins all along the Upper Ogeechee. Her voice was high and angry. This time we will strike not at the separate invaders of our land but at their town, at Savannah itself. She tried to help Tolchi into his cabin, but he brushed her arm away.
His loss of dignity was more painful than the wounds on his back. You must see Checote and have him bathe these cuts with that liquid he makes from tulip-tree bark. Tell Menewa that his warnings of the treachery of white men have come true. Tell him the Beloved Woman of his tribe needs him and his warriors. I have no time to waste with that old conjurer Checote, Tolchi replied.
I shall ride straight to Menewa. With Tolchi riding behind, they went on together to the edge of Bluff Village. She dropped easily to the ground. She touched his leg gently as he eased into the saddle. Go bring Menewa and his warriors back to me. As soon as he galloped away, she strode into the village, her anger still so high that she paid no heed to the greetings of the children playing and laughing in the pathways, and they knew that something was troubling their Beloved Woman.
In contrast to the windowless Creek houses, that half of the building which served as living quarters had several openings in the sides so the log shutters could admit air. They were wide open now to the summer breeze off the river. From earthen tar pots set at strategic points around the building, curls of black smoke drifted in the warm air to discourage mosquitoes. On the river side, Kingsley had built a crude veranda that was roofed with brown palmetto fronds. He was seated there, with his feet propped on an empty rum cask, when Creek Mary came striding across the grass.
He glanced from her across to the empty enclosure of staked saplings where she kept her pony. At the sound of his voice the cry of a child came from inside. Kingsley turned his head as she passed, swearing softly to himself. He was a handsome man with curly reddish hair and a short beard, but he was beginning to grow stout around the middle. When he heard her footsteps again, he stood up.
She was carrying a naked child with its head resting against her shoulder. He shrugged.
Creek Mary's Blood by Dee Brown and Dee Alexander Brown (, Hardcover) for sale online | eBay
Have it as you will. He kicked at the rum cask. Did you have trouble? Her face darkened with quick anger. To trade for cloth for their women, for rum that should be forbidden, for gunpowder and shot to kill more deer. Would you and they want to go back to a life without my trade goods? Become savages again? In this instance, we follow the family history of several generations of the lineage of "Amayi," Creek Mary, a full-blood Muskogee or Creek Indian. Creek Mary's story runs from the days of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson through those of Millard Fillmore and Abraham Lincoln, up to the pre-presidential times and inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt.
The tracing of Creek Mary's family tree is ambitiously -- and awkwardly -- presented through the narration of "Dane," one of Mary's Cherokee grandsons. The more commonly known happenings of the western movement are played down, and stressed instead are the tragic consequences of misinformed white political policies of land usurpation, Indian removal, and, in effect, genocide. An old warrior retired to the remoteness of Dundee, Mont. But it is the network of events and people, and the numerous pauses and starts in Dane's life story which cause much of the history vs.
In two short days Dane recounts more than is humanly possibly to know about the "Trail of Tears" of the Cherokee -- and all this to a recently cynical but now suddenly believing and almost worshipful journalist who has traveled West to find what is left of Mary's family. Dane tells about the wanderings, the forced and voluntary migrations of the Cheyenne, the Arapaho, the Kiowa, the Comanches, and the Sioux.
Also included are Tecumseh, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and countless other Indian chiefs, plus traders, soldiers, preachers, and presidents -- from South, West, and North. The intent is epic, larger than life, a national panorama. But it's all too much for the narrative voice of one old Indian storyteller -- even if he is Creek Mary's blood.