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In the Land of the Grasshopper Song: Two Women in the Klamath River Indian Country in 1908-09

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  90 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In 1908 two young women—the authors of this book—accepted Indian Service appointments as field matrons for the Karok Indians in the Klamath and Salmon River country of northern California. Although the area had been the scene of a gold rush some fifty years earlier, they write in the foreword, "the social life of the Indian—what he believed and the way he felt about things ...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published November 1st 1980 by Bison Books (first published November 30th 1956)
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May 18, 2012 Bennet rated it really liked it
To start it was mostly a crazy notion sparked by the improper desires of two proper white women craving adventure and freedom.

A Mr. Kelsey was staying with Cousin Annie at the time we were there. We learned he was Special Agent for all Indians in California, and we told him we should like to see what a really rough country was like. Mr. Kelsey looked at our pleated skirts, seven yards around the bottom, and down to within an inch of the floor, and his eye hardened.
“Shall I send you to the rough
Wendy Scott
Dec 06, 2009 Wendy Scott rated it it was amazing
I began this book after having just finished reading another story about a guy who becomes a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakstan for two years. After having finished this book I realized that the two stories had a lot in common, namely, the experience of people taken out of their own culture and dropped into another. What I love about 'In the Land of the Grasshopper Song' is that the cultural exchange that is being written about took place in (more or less) my own back yard: The American West.

Aug 04, 2009 Trinie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this book from a friend in New Mexico who also loves Humboldt County, California. Set in Happy Camp and surrounding areas in the Trinity Alps, it is an astonishing look at Kurok life from two pioneer women who are basically adopted by the native families. Like Mary Kelley's captivity narrative, it is set from the Anglo perspective, but this is the first book I've read that is pretty much in total sympathy with indigineous world-views. It's awesome!!!
Jul 01, 2008 Amanda rated it liked it
Recommended to Amanda by: Marcy8
As interesting for what is not said as for what is said. Going in to this book, I had some expectations. I figured there may be a turning point when the writers, who went to "Indian Country" to educate and civilize, become educated themselves. But this book reads more like a meandering post-experience journal, partially written years after the fact. There's no plot structure to speak of, just a roughly chronological account. It doesn't attempt to put their visit in historical context, or thoroug ...more
Skip Everheart
Sep 12, 2016 Skip Everheart rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read. Just delightful. Highest recommendation!
Nov 15, 2010 Arlington rated it did not like it
Interesting, if you love getting inside the head of white people blindly fucking shit up for Indians. Oh, you don't like that? Me neither. I also don't like boring things that are not just boring but take interesting situations and make them boring (polygamy! rooms full of eels! all delivered SO INANELY). I gave this 150 pages. It's non-fiction, and a diary account, so superficially it doesn't have the pressure to be rocking and rollicking, but it was pretty gross to be inside the daily head of ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Beverley rated it it was amazing
I loved sharing Mary and Mabel's adventures with the Indians along the Klamath River! I have always wished that my ancestors (all our ancestors!) had written journals so that we could know who they were, how they lived their lives, what part of us came from them. Mary and Mabel did just that for two years of their lives, and we are the beneficiaries. How fascinating, to be transported back to 1908-1910, to that place and to those fascinating Native American people. Thank you, Mary and Mabel, for ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
I think living in the area they are telling about made this book far more interesting to me. I can see how it may have been hard to get into it if you weren't familiar with the area. It felt more like a report than a book in the ways it described a lot of the culture and events. I would have loved a little more elaborate details but the story did do a good job of creating an image of what life would have been like in the early years. Made me thankful I came along a hundred years later to enjoy t ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Robin rated it liked it
I think the most interesting part of this story is likely what is not written... what motivated two young women to venture out into Indian country in 1908 in the first place? What were their lives like before this adventure? What kind of personalities did they have that made them brave enough to ford rushing rivers, cross suspended swing bridges on mules, etc... Because this is a journal, we're left at the mercy of the writer, who wasn't an exceptional storyteller. So this is more of an account ...more
Aug 29, 2008 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Two white women, looking for adventure or at least something different, become matrons in the Indian service and travel to the Klamath River country to work with the Yurok people. They--the women--learned quite a lot, and their account, written several decades later with some sensitivity and a good sense of humor, is surprisingly absorbing.
Chris Allen
Aug 31, 2016 Chris Allen rated it liked it
I think that both the government and the Indians got a good bargain when these two women were sent out to the Klamath region. The book provides an interesting glimpse into what life was like at that time.
Apr 19, 2015 Tamra rated it really liked it
Loved this book about two eastern young women who accept Indian Service appointments among the Karok Indians in Northern California about 1908. Good representation of Indian ways of doing things and very funny in so many ways
Bea Alden
Aug 05, 2008 Bea Alden rated it it was amazing
Wonderful account by two Victorian-era women of work they did among the Karok Indians of northern California.
Mar 16, 2012 Harry rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting stories and good information about the area and its natives and settlers. Amazing women who seemed to know no fear.
Nov 04, 2008 Momwiz rated it it was ok
A story of two kind of "prim' ladies from New Jersey in the early 1900's who go to live among the Karok Indians of Northern California.
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