Sorry for the delay in getting April’s book up. Last month and the past couple of weeks have been busy with moving, starting to get back into horseback riding (and soon showing) and other fun things life throws your way.
In April I read One Thousand White Women – The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus. This book was recommended to me over and over by a couple of family members and I finally picked up a copy. The book is historical fiction and is based on a request received by President Grant from a Cheyenne Chief in the early 1800’s. A request came from the Cheyenne to trade one thousand white women for one thousand horses. The thought behind this would be that if the women integrated in the Cheyenne society and had children with Cheyenne men the new generation would be true Americans and would be loved by both native and white societies. In reality, the US government said “hell no” but this book is an interpretation of what could have happened if that deal was agreed upon.
To say this book is up my alley is an understatement. Fergus did a wonderful job of researching the history and culture of the Cheyenne people and their dealings with white Americans as they moved west. Add to that the fact that May Dodd, the main character, was a women trapped by her society and the way women were supposed to behave in early America and I’m hooked. In this book women can opt into the Brides for Indians program. May jumps at the chance, as she has been institutionalized by her parents for having run off with an older man and started a family with him out of wedlock.
This is where the book hooked me for the second time. Showing all of the different women and walks of life they had before they joined the Brides for Indians program. So many women trapped in slavery, or stuck in the working class or even poverty found a way back to life and found themselves through the program.
The battles that each woman faces throughout the journey and the realizations they each have about what they thought they came to do and what they ended up discovering is such a beautiful portrayal of the human life and complexities of societies intermingling.
I highly recommend this to anyone who is at all interested in US history, women’s history, Native American history or just wants a good fictional story. It was one of the few times in my life I picked up a book that I really couldn’t put down.