Monday, February 20, 2012
One Thousand White Women is the fictitious story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians.
The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime.
And after a dynamic book discussion, Esther treated us to an amazing lunch in the theme of the book!
Our main course was buffalo burgers! (Tasty~!)
An amazing succotash....
And a fresh berry cobbler for dessert.
And our second 'dessert' was meeting Esther's little 3 month old grand daughter! She was even sweeter than our first dessert! :-)
Excerpt from One Thousand White Women:
n September of 1874, the great Cheyenne "Sweet Medicine Chief" Little Wolf made the long overland journey to Washington, D.C., with a delegation of his tribesmen for the express purpose of making a lasting peace with the whites. Having spent the weeks prior to his trip smoking and softly discussing various peace initiatives with his tribal council of forty-four chiefs, Little Wolf came to the nation's capital with a somewhat novel, though from the Cheyenne worldview, perfectly rational plan that would ensure a safe and prosperous future for his greatly besieged people.
The Indian leader was received in Washington with all the pomp and circumstance accorded to the visiting head of state of a foreign land. At a formal ceremony in the Capitol building with President Ulysses S. Grant, and members of a specially appointed congressional commission, Little Wolf was presented with the Presidential Peace Medal-a large ornate silver medallion-that the Chief, with no intentional irony, a thing unknown to the Cheyennes, would later wear in battle against the U.S. Army in the Cheyennes' final desperate days as a free people.
I am the Sweet Medicine Chief. My duty is to see that my People survive. To do this we must enter the white man's world-our children must become members of your tribe. Therefore we ask the Great Father for the gift of one thousand white women as wives, to teach us and our children the new life that must be lived when the buffalo are gone."
Now a collective gasp rose from the room, peppered with scattered exclamations of astonishment.
"In this way," Little Wolf continued, "our warriors win plant the Cheyenne seed into the bellies of your white women. Our seed will sprout and grow inside their wombs, and the next generation of Cheyenne children Will be born into your tribe, with the full privileges attendant to that position."
At exactly this point in Little Wolf's address, President Grant's wife, Julia, fainted dead away on the floor, swooned right from her chair with a long, gurgling sigh like the death rattle of a lung-shot buffalo cow. (It was unseasonably hot in the room that day, and in her memoirs, Julia Dent Grant would maintain that the heat, not moral squeamishness at the idea of the savages breeding with white girls, had caused her to faint.)
"For your gift of one thousand white women," Little Wolf continued in a stem, louder voice over the rising clamor ,"we will give you one thousand horses. Five hundred wild horses and five hundred horses already broke."
at 5:00 AM