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Well written, a mere glimpse into the Cherokee experience, but take the commentary with a grain of salt.
on May 22, 2007
In "Mankiller: A Chief and Her People," author and former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller recounts her experiences growing up on reservations, government relocation and her activism in Indian affairs.
This book is well written and offers, if nothing else a peek into the mid 20th Century Native American and reservation experience.
There is no doubt that those of us with Native American heritage, particularly Cherokees, have ancestors who have been dealt less than a fair hand in the brief history of the United States. But I find it unfortunate when such potentially powerful leaders of social movements; especially those supposedly seeking to rise above past adversities, indict the "white" community at-large for every setback. It is regrettable that Mankiller, who is herself half-white, can wholly reject one part of her heritage while blindly embracing the other.
Mankiller speaks with contempt of "white lady" do-gooders, who tried to reach out to her as a reservation bound child. This is precisely the type of racial bitterness that keeps many fellow modern Native Americans "victims," feeling helpless and reservation bound.
Cherokee culture has a long history of acceptance and assimilation, not necessarily into white culture either. Other cultures (even Europeans) were long accepted into early tribal clans.
While we must never forget the reprehensible events that were the Trail Of Tears or any other federal or state sanctioned forced relocation of any tribe or peoples, there comes a time when all persecuted cultures must move foreword. There's little doubt the tribe most certainly has. We must begin to embrace the long acknowledged civility and citizenship of the Cherokee people and stop seeking modern scapegoats for our moments of misery.
Having said this, I commend Mankiller for achievements in both American and Cherokee societies. To have witnessed the transitions of Native American culture at the height and hub of the American Civil Rights Movement grants Mankiller the prerogative to share her story and her perspectives in this book.
REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ, AUTHORS DESERVE READER'S OPINIONS!