One Thousand White Women – Jim Fergus

onethousandI didn’t think I wanted to read this book about a woman in the late 1800s who marries an American Indian and has his child as part of a government program to assimilate Indians into white society.  But the book is so well written, I’m glad I rolled the dice.  Mary Dodd angers her family when she moves in with a man and has children with him out-of-wedlock.  They commit her to an asylum for promiscuity.  The only way she can escape is to participate as one of a thousand white women marrying and having children with Native Americans. (This was actually a suggested idea, but never implemented.) Mary becomes a wife of Chief Little Wolf, and has his child.  Other women in the program include:  a mute, a nurse, an English naturalist who prefers pants over skirts, a Southern belle with a lap dog, a black woman who escaped slavery, an enormous Swiss woman with a potato face, and a set of lusty Irish twins.  When gold is discovered on Indian land, it leads to disaster between the government and the Cheyenne.

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4 thoughts on “One Thousand White Women – Jim Fergus

    1. No problem. It was an interesting read – not normally something I’m drawn to because I worry about political sensitivities and ramifications. But oddly enough, the program was actually considered by the government at one time at the suggestion of the Cheyenne. In any case, it was well-written. An eye-opener as to the way both women and Native Americans were treated at one time in this country.

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  1. I read this book a few years ago with the same trepidations, and enjoyed it quite a bit. The author not only did his research well, but he surprised me with his sensitivity in capturing the points of view of so many different women. It’s good to see that someone else appreciated this unusual story.

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