Katy Dickinson's Reviews > Women's Indian Captivity Narratives

Women's Indian Captivity Narratives by Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-S...
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Apr 30, 08

bookshelves: history-and-biography
Read in January, 2008

From my January 25, 2008 blog http://blogs.sun.com/katysblog/entry/...

1782 William Crawford, Simon Girty, and History

Last month when I visited Washington, D.C. for the first time in many decades, I toured the National Museum of the American Indian, opened as part of the Smithsonian Institution in 2004. It seemed to me that one way of understanding more about the complex relationship between the European/American cultures and the American Indian cultures was to read reports from individuals who had personally experienced both. In the museum store, I bought two books:

o Women's Indian Captivity Narratives, Editor: Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, Penguin Classics, 1998, ISBN-10: 0140436715, ISBN-13: 978-0140436716

o Captured by the Indians: 15 Firsthand Accounts, 1750-1870 Editor: Frederick Drimmer, Dover Publications, 1985, ISBN-10: 0486249018, ISBN-13: 978-0486249018

In these books, I was interested to read for the first time about the death by burning in 1782 of General George Washington's friend, Colonel William Crawford. This disturbing story was told in:

o "That is Your Great Captain" by Dr. John Knight, 1783 (in Captured by the Indians)

o "To Eat Fire Tomorrow" by John Slover as told to Hugh H. Brackenridge, 1782 (in Captured by the Indians)

o "A Narrative of the Life of Mary Jemison" by James E. Seaver, 1824 (in Women's Indian Captivity Narratives)

Knight and Slover were captured with Crawford after Crawford's failed expedition against the Ohio Indians (Wyandot, Huron, Delaware, and Shawnee tribes). Knight and Mary Jemison's husband Hiokatoo (of the Seneca tribe) were witnesses to Crawford's death; Slover was told of it by his captors.

Trying to sort out what happened by reading these memorable accounts is a good exercise in detection and understanding the difficulties of History even when first-hand accounts are available.
...
Having read these books, I have a greater appreciation for the complexity of this early period of American history and the interactions of the Indian, British, French, and American cultures. It is certainly more exciting than I remember from my required American History courses in High School and college!

Copyright 2008 by Katy Dickinson
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