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Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom

(American Crossroads #14)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  17 reviews
This beautifully written book tells the haunting saga of a quintessentially American family. It is the story of Shoe Boots, a famed Cherokee warrior and successful farmer, and Doll, an African slave he acquired in the late 1790s. Over the next thirty years, Shoe Boots and Doll lived together as master and slave and also as lifelong partners who, with their children and gra ...more
Paperback, 327 pages
Published August 7th 2006 by University of California Press (first published 2005)
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May 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Ties That Bind is an inspiring example of self-conscious, responsible, well-researched work in the face of gaps and absences in the historical record. Miles's use of an Afro-Cherokee family to analyze the tenuous racial boundaries between white, black, and Native Americans in the nineteenth century shows how one may reasonably extrapolate knowledge from case studies and comparative research practices. She recognizes and carefully navigates what George B. Handley calls the “poetics of oblivion,” and ...more
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Still hard to comprehend the uproar this book has caused within American Studies circles. If you're unfamiliar with the history of Cherokee/black slave encounters/miscegenation/slavery, definitely worth your time.
Having learned a great deal from Miles' books on Detroit, the Plantation on Diamond Hill, and Cherokee Rose I decided to try this one. As with her nonfiction books on Detroit and the Plantation the scholarship in this book is impressive. The author skillfully integrates information from historians, anthropologists, and others to provide a comprehensive picture of the complex and at times very troubling relationship which the Cherokee people had with their African American slaves and the few so c ...more
Aisha  Iman
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tiya Miles is a genius, and perhaps the most brilliant person on earth tbh.
Andee Nero
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I feel kind of conflicted about this book because, on the one hand, it takes a stab at discussing a pretty controversial subject and I appreciate that. I think this book really just raises more questions for me though. Regarding the experiences of Shoe Boots' slave/concubine, Doll, Miles can't really get into her head. She asks a lot of questions about Doll that are impossible to answer. She relies on literature, like Beloved, to fill in these gaps, but it feels insufficient. I like that the boo ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A compelling and informative narrative that centers on the experience of one Afro-Cherokee family from their time in (what is now) Georgia, through their removal to (what is now) Oklahoma, and to the civil war and its aftermath.

The story exposes the intersections of nationalism (on many levels), slavery, immigration, rebellions, revolts, bad gov't, good gov't, capitalism, coercion, survival, identification, and so much more. The writing is clear and easy to follow, but the subject matter is a l
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
Little did I know of relationships between Cherokee and African-American peoples following the Civil War. This book shares the evolution of an American family. Captain Shoe Boots is a Cherokee warrior, who along with his African-American slave/partner raise a family of mixed race children during highly turbulent times. I am fascinated with this story and highly recommend it, though it is written as a textbook - so be forewarned.
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a really important adjunct to understanding the relationships between Black and other Native Americans today, particularly the mass disfranchisement of members of the "Five Tribes." It is a history but it begins and ends with individuals.
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great read for developing a deeper understanding of the very complex relationships between African Americans and Native peoples.
Mary Mckernan
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Fascinating story/study into a history I was not aware off Afro/Cherokee lineage through colonial/civil war/trail of tears/up to today.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it liked it
The research is thorough and the argument is clear. The analysis could stand to be a little sharper, but it is a useful book nonetheless.
Josh Reid
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Spectacular example of history! Engaging narrative and impressive research in a tough subject.
Yunis Esa
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great grasp of both the African slavery in the Cherokee and the 19th century of Cherokee people.
Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Love this book. It's a very unique approach to retelling history.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating true story of a native American ("Shoeboots") who owned slaves, and his relationship with one in particular ("Doll"). The research is just incredible and Miles makes it almost like a novel. She also does a great job of putting things into context (eg explaining the difference in attitude between white slave owners and Native American slave owners and how that impacted the humans they "owned").

You really want to know the subjects more and learn how they experienced their li
Michelle Flanagan
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a book that’s been on my TBR list for literally 3 years and I was disappointed! The storytelling style could have been better, and I almost wish someone like Erik Larson would’ve written it for that reason. But, I am glad I made it through and I learned a lot! Had never thought about African-Cherokee relationships in the early days of the US, so it was eye opening. Really interested by the parts that talked about the Cherokee rape laws, which were far more all encompassing than many, and ...more
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Tiya Miles is from Ohio, "the heart of it all," though lately she spends part of her summers in her husband's native Montana. She is the author of two prize-winning works of history on the intersections of African American and Cherokee experience. Her debut dual time period (historical-contemporary) novel based on this research, The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts, was released in 201 ...more

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