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Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs And Claims

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0874172522
ISBN-10: 0874172527
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (1841–1891) was notable for being the first Native American woman known to secure a copyright and to publish in the English language. She was also known by her married name, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, under which she was published. Her book, Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims, is an autobiographical account of her people during their first forty years of contact with explorers and settlers. Sarah was a person of two worlds. At the time of her birth her people had only very limited contact with Euro-Americans; however she spent much of her adult life in white society. Like many people of two worlds, she may be judged harshly in both contexts. Many Paiutes view her as a collaborator who helped the U.S. Army kill her people. Modern historians view her book as an important primary source, but one that is deliberately misleading in many instances. Despite this, Sarah has recently received much positive attention for her activism. She was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 2005 a statue of her by sculptor Benjamin Victor was added to the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nevada Press (November 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874172527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874172522
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins was the daughter of Northern Paiute Chief Winnemucca. Edited by Mrs. Horace Mann,Sarah Winnemucca provides more than a brief glance into the lives of the Northern Paiutes living on the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation during the late 1800s. Winnemucca gives her voice to the plight of her people as they struggle to survive the effects of government Indian policy in the Western United States.
Sarah Winnemucca's autobiography enables the reader to examine how the US reservation system, assimilation policy and the BIA failed to provide adequately for the Paiute people. The author provides the reader with an opportunity to experience the feelings of hope and despair of the Paiute people during the late 1870s and 1880s. Her examples of the corruption by white settlers and Indian agents provides reasonable and believable evidence of what life was like for Sarah Winnemucca and her Paiute family.
Sarah Winnemucca's memories are bitter-sweet. She relates her actions to help not only her own people but the US army during the Indian wars of that era, including the Bannock War. Marrying US Army soldier Lewis Hopkins in the early 1880s, her story also includes events during their marriage. An advocat for her people, Sarah traveled to Washington, D. C. to speak with the President, and she traveled coast-to-coast publicly speaking about the plight of her people as well as her life as a young Paiute woman. Her daring escapades as an Army scout and participant in several Indian wars further illustrate her strength as a Native woman.
This book, written in Sarah Winnemucca's voice, is both a powerful and moving example of the active role some women played in the history of the west. I found her memories to reflect a side of history often overlooked by other authors, and I highly recommend her work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a little difficult to read and understand at times due to the archaic language, but is definitely a worthy read. It tells the story you never learned in your history class in school. From the beginning legend of how the Native Americans became estranged from their White Brothers who were banished across the seas to the Paiute Elder telling everyone to rejoice in the return of the White Brothers is fascinating yet heartbreaking. We all know it didn't turn out so well for the Native Americans. In reading Sarah's story, which is written from the heart, it is easy to see how the Native Americans were exploited, treated as less than human and moved around like pawns to suit the white man's interest. I have the utmost respect for Sarah and her courage to speak up for her people. I also have the greatest respect for those who have followed, speaking her truths. Wake up people, we are on the wrong track. Bless you Sarah Winnemucca for your wonderful book and your attempts to make things right!
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By A Customer on June 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read Winnemucca's autobiography for a Native American History class at University and found it to be excellently written! She was such a powerful role model for Indian women during the time and was greatly respected for her role in the Indian community! Although some feminists may critique her for not standing up for her people at some points in her life, her contributions to the Paiutes have made her one of their most revered members over history. As I read this book I was in awe of how great of a woman Sarah must have been considering the time she lived and how priceless her stories are!
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Format: Paperback
Sarah Winnemucca's story is told with a dry edge. The sufferings she and the Paiutes endure draw the reader in, but at the same time, the author creates a distance between her identity and the rest of the worlds'. Many details of her life are left out, primarily focusing on tribal activity, government oppression, and her own diverse involvements between the two. The book leaves one feeling depressed, yet intrigued by a flourishing curiosity. One can only read about death, rape, disease, and war so often in one text before the "guilt" sets in.
Life among the Piutes is exactly what anyone would expect given the history and culture. Part of what makes it such a good read is the initial expectation of readers from non-native or non-natively educated backgrounds. It provides a comfortable transition from stereotypical expectations to the deep truths, injustices, and cultures of American Indians. It's an easy read that tells the dark tale of one of many oppressed Native tribes and provokes a quest for knowledge thereafter; a vital tool for any person dealing with preconceived notions concerning an entire race of people with a thirst for truth.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was told that this is the first book written by a Native American. How could I not read it! I wish she and the Piutes could rate us. Excellent story that I find I have to read and put down, repeat. Sad and beautiful.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book, wish I had known about it years ago, it should be required reading in school, thank you
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Format: Paperback
Though Winnemucca's story is compelling and her journey is incredible, I was not fond of her style. This is by no means an insult to her, and I am definitely glad I read this. I learned so much. But her deviation from the topics at hand were too frequent and rambunctious, often slowing the story down to a crawl. This is a necessary piece of literature, but those are just what I didn't enjoy.
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