The Singing Bird

The Singing Bird

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The period between the Trail of Tears and the American Civil War was a turbulent time for the Cherokees. Now that epoch is evoked in a newly rediscovered novel by one of the early twentieth century's most prolific Native voices. John Milton Oskison was a mixed-blood Cherokee known for his short stories, essays, and activism on behalf of Indian causes. Although he was the author of several novels set in Oklahoma, The Singing Bird was never published and remained in a university archive until recently. It is his only full-length novel with a Native theme and quite possibly the first historical novel written by a Cherokee. Set in the 1840s and 1850s, the time of the Cherokee removal and of conflicts between the Eastern and Western Cherokees after they settled in Indian Territory, The Singing Bird relates the adventures of missionaries to the Cherokees who participate in the removal. Focusing on the tangled relationships among the missionaries-particularly the kindly, religious Daniel and his promiscuous, selfish wife, Ellen, the qSinging Birdq of the title-the story conveys a sense of the United States inflicting injustices and broken promises upon a peaceful people. The fictional characters mingle with such historical figures as Sequoyah and Sam Houston, embedding the novel in actual events. Through this story, Oskison has fashioned a detailed depiction of the cultural complexity within the Cherokee Nation. The Singing Bird is a vivid account of the Cherokees' genius for survival and celebrates Native American cultural revitalization-the creation, through a diverse alliance of people, of a future based on traditional Cherokee values. A key document in the development both of Oskison's talent as well as Native writing during an underappreciated era, this novel is also a unique addition to American literature and history.As Powell points out, Oskisona#39;s most frequently anthologized short story, aquot;The Problem of Old Harjo, aquot; was included in ... to this edition, the most fulsome treatment of Oskison, including of The Singing Bird was Daniel Justicea#39;s analysis in Ouranbsp;...

Title:The Singing Bird
Author:John Milton Oskison
Publisher:University of Oklahoma Press - 2007


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