Book Review: One Thousand White Women

Book Review: One Thousand White Women

One Thousand White Women

This is a fictional account spinoff from an actual proposal that a Cheyenne chief made in peace talks in Washington: give us a thousand white women to couple with our braves, and since our children belong to their wives’ tribe, this will assimilate us into the white culture peacefully. I thought this offer had interesting potential and this novelist did as well.

I enjoyed this book even though I can only give it three stars. It was written as a journal from a woman’s point of view who participated in the “Brides for Indians” program, but was unfortunately done by a 21st century man. The attitudes, action and language in these journals did not ring true to what a Victorian woman would have thought, said or done. We like her partly because it is more like one of us attempting this gutsy thing instead of someone back then. The characters were more stereotyped than necessary, but as there were many, this did help identify them efficiently. And some details were somewhat implausible…

But what I liked was being transported back to a Plains Indian lifestyle, in a book with a decent plot and an unclear ending. But this “alternate history” wasn’t depicted as alternate enough to change the broader strokes of impending demise for the American Indian. Since the premise was fictional, why stick so tightly to history? Instead, maybe show us another way that might have worked!

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