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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: indians, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. My Name is Not Easy – Diversity Reading Challenge 2015

I have chosen to Review My Name Is Not Easy as part of the celebration of Native American Heritage during the month of November. Title: My Name is Not Easy Author: Debby Dahl Edwardson Publisher: Marshall Cavendish, 2011 Themes: Alaska, Alaska Natives, Indians, Whites, … Continue reading

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2. The Dawes Act: How Congress tried to destroy Indian reservations

By Stephen Pevar

Chiefs at Verde Reservation, Arizona. Source: NYPL Labs Stereogranimator.

How would you feel if the government confiscated your land, sold it to someone else, and tried to force you to change your way of life, all the while telling you it’s for your own good? That’s what Congress did to Indian tribes 125 years ago today, with devastating results, when it passed the Dawes Act.

During the 1800s, white settlers moved west by the tens of thousands, and the US cavalry went with them, battling Indian tribes along the way. One by one, tribes were forced to relinquish their homelands (on which they had lived for centuries) and relocate to reservations, often hundreds of miles away. By the late 1800s, some three hundred reservations had been created.

The purpose of the reservation system was, for the most part, to remove land from the Indians and to separate the Indians from the settlers. Reservations were usually created on lands not (yet) coveted by non-Indians. By the late 1800s, however, settlers were nearly everywhere, and Congress needed to develop a new strategy to prevent further bloodshed.

The government decided that instead of separating Indians from white society, Indians should be assimilated into white society. Assimilation of the Indians and the destruction of their reservations became the new federal goal.

Two very different social forces helped shaped this new policy: greed and humanitarianism. Many whites wanted Indian land and knew that they would have an easier time obtaining it if Indian tribes disappeared. This greed prompted Congress to pass the Dawes Act, also known as the General Allotment Act, in February 1887. The Dawes Act was also favored by many non-Indian social reformers who were aware that Indians were suffering unmercifully under the government’s existing reservation policies, and they sincerely believed that the best way to help Indians overcome their plight and their poverty was by encouraging assimilation. Although their motives differed, both groups pressured Congress to pass the Dawes Act. The objectives of the Act, as the US Supreme Court has noted, “were simple and clear cut: to extinguish tribal sovereignty, erase reservation boundaries, and force the assimilation of Indians into the society at large.” Indian tribes had no say in the matter and were not even consulted.

Most Indian tribes had no concept of private land ownership. Rather, land was communally owned and everyone worked together to gather what they could from the land and shared its bounty. In order to compel assimilation of the Indians, a scheme was developed that would undermine Indian life and culture at its core: individual Indians would be forced to own land for private use. Indians would be converted into capitalists.

To accomplish the new policy of assimilation, the Dawes Act authorized the President of the United States to divide communally-held tribal lands into separate parcels (“allotments”). Each tribal member was to be assigned an allotment and, after a twenty-five-year “trust” period, would be issued a deed to it, allowing the owner to sell it. Once the allotments were issued, the remaining tribal land (the “surplus” land) would be sold to non-Indian farmers and ranchers. Congress hoped that by allowing non-Indians to live on Indian reservations, the goals of the settlers and those of the humanitarian social reformers could both be satisfied: land would become available for non-In

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3. Nissitissit Witch by Rosemary Chaulk


Reviews of Nissitissit Witch

A book you can't put down, one minute you are sitting on the edge of your seat then you fall off, rest and before you know it, you are still reading and its the next day. The characters are so real, and the eerie feeling . . . is so real. --Barbara

The mystery, history and the story of Sarah, which comes to life, you can actually see it play out before your eyes and (it) leaves you craving . . .more. –Cheryl Pillsbury



http://rosemarychaulk.blogspot.com/

Joining us today is author Rosemary Chaulk. Her debut novel, Nissitissit Witch was recently released from AuthorHouse. We’ll talk to Rosemary about the book, the history behind it, and current social tie-ins.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Rosemary. It’s great to have you with us!

Let’s get started by finding out a bit more about you. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Littleton, Mass which used to be a small farm town. We moved there from Waltham when I was in the third grade. At that time there was more cows than people.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I used to write when I was a teenager, later after college I was married with a family and had no free time or even the desire to write.
Three years ago I began to write again. Now I seem to be totally obsessed with writing.

And who is your greatest source of inspiration?
My greatest source of inspiration was my mother. Her life in some ways was a mess. She was a manic depressant alcoholic but never gave up and always got back up and tried again. When life knocks me down and I wonder if it is worth getting back I look to her example of never giving up no matter how dark it gets.

Tell us a little about Nissitissit Witch. Where did you find the inspiration for this story?
I was born under the sign of the bull, forever connected to the earth. I have spent my entire life working outside year round doing land survey. I have a deep respect and love for the land and at times in my career I was sickened and even despondent about the massive pollution that I saw. In the early seventies I worked in a survey crew doing topographic surveys along the banks of the Merrimack River in Lowell, Mass. The branches of the trees, which hung in the river, were covered with toilet papers and condoms; tampons swam by like perverted sperm on their way to the ocean to infect the source of life. I have carried these images my whole life.

In the town I live in was a village, North Village, and people to this day believe the village was cursed by a witch and died. A cursed piece of land right in the town I live in. But then I thought, “Can land be cursed or is it just the tortured souls who roam it who are cursed?

In this book I found a way to express my love for the land and make people aware of just how much we polluted North America once we took it from the Indians

When the settlers took the valley from the Indians they killed a tribe that had lived there for six thousand years. The settlers lust for the land was strong, it proved to be ironic that their lack of respect for this land was the very thing which killed them

Tell us about your main characters.
I based my fictional characters on actual newspaper articles. In doing the research I noticed that there were many mentions of people dying in an unusual way. Reading some of the research I found North Village to have a cobbler who made his own felt, in researching felt I found it to be made using mercurous oxide. The cobbler traveled the farms in the area selling his boots. There was also a velvet shop and in researching velvet I found that it has to be steamed and not ironed. Further research showed that all of the royal colors back then contained poisons and sometimes heavy metals, even the wallpaper back then was toxic and many infants died in their cribs. It is even rumored that Napolian’s insanity was caused by his love of green wallpaper, which was the most toxic. When I researched heavy metal poisoning research showed that people died raving lunatics, certainly that would be an unusual way.

Why will readers relate to them?
The story is very contemporary in the fact that we are still polluting our word, we still have bigotry and small mindedness and people are given derogatory labeled because we do not understand them.

What will they like about them?
My characters come alive and the reader will enjoy being with my characters as much as I enjoyed being with them when I wrote the book.

Is there anything they will dislike?
Everyone has detested the Norwegian and several people urged me to take him out of the book but he was a real character in the village.

The 1800’s was a time of great growth for America. The West was settled; railroad towns popped up across the land as the U.S. Government sought to connect the east and west coasts; and inventions like gas lighting, the telegraph, and the grain elevator made life better and easier for people living in the 19th century. How did progress affect the characters of your novel?
The industrial was one of the causes of the death of North Village. None of the small mill villages in this area survived the industrial revolution. All the large businesses moved to the large cities abandoning waterpower for steam.

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman was a popular CBS TV show in the 1990’s. Set in the mid-1800’s it might have been the first show to showcase the mistreatment of the Indians and the crimes against the land that took place in favor of progress. Have you ever seen the show?
Yes I used to watch the show all the time.

And if so, do you feel there are parallels between Dr. Quinn and Nissitissit Witch?
Dr Quinn had trouble being accepted as a doctor because she was a woman. My main character is very intelligent like Dr. Quinn but she is a Quaker in a town that was Puritan in a backwoods village. Worse than Dr. Quinn my main character is persecuted and murdered because she is different.

Are there contemporary themes or struggles running through your novel?
When the settlers took the valley from the Indians they killed a tribe that had lived there for six thousand years. The settler’s lust for the land was strong; it proved to be ironic that their lack of respect for this land was the very thing, which killed them. This type of blind lust still exits today


Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and Nissitissit Witch?
The book and more information on the book is available at my website
http://www.rosemarychaulk.com/

I have two videos on youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPNHobuS_yE

And http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGSTiqs7gGQ

What is up next for you?
I am working on a science fiction story J1TIs there anything else you would like to add?
The book is entertaining and educational and is a must read if you love the environment.

Thanks for joining us today, Rosemary. I wish you great success!

10 Comments on Nissitissit Witch by Rosemary Chaulk, last added: 11/21/2008
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4. Organizing Your Research by DL Larson

When I first started researching the early 1800's for my American historical, I took plenty of notes. I was very careful to site the title, copyright dates, volume, author, and what library I was researching from. I even kept track of the page numbers I found important information. I wanted to make sure when I posted my Bibliography at the end of my novel, I would have all the accurate documentation. Well, I succeeded in accomplishing that, but it didn't take long for me to realize I needed another system to keep track of the information I acquired. You may need an organizing system as well.

After shuffling through notebooks, copied pages from books, and numerous notations in my own handwriting, I knew it would be quicker in the long run to index what I had already found. My system started out much like an inverted pyramid. I used topic titles such as: Indian Tribes, Routes, Military, Rivers, Towns: Indian/White, Maps, Laws Passed, etc. This was done well before excel was a household word.

Within any topic title I kept several folders, for instance the Indian Tribes I researched were many and varied from culture to culture. My story included real people in our history so details became very important. The Pawnee Indian Tribe was very different from the Shawnee, yet they knew of each other and cross referencing became even more important. Color coding worked well in keeping my notes accurate and easy to verify if I had a question that needed answering. I didn't want to state something as simple as the Pawnee were friends with the Potawatomi if they were in fact sworn enemies or had no contact with them during that era.

Timelines, as we've mentioned this week, are very important. When doing a historical about a real person (and well known) it's never good to have him in one part of the country in a your story when history has him in another place. I documented where my character was over a three year period and although I sometimes forgot and the writing took over, it was easy to search through my notes and sigh with relief when he was where I needed him to be.

Research may be tedious, yet once organized it will save hours of time for any writer. My system may not work well for you, but what ever system you develop, it will prove its worth as you write your story.

I always thought I would write more about Indians of the midwest since I acquired so much information, but I never have. Yet, I'm not willing to throw my notes away. Maybe someday I will revisit those archives.

What works well for you in note keeping or researching a special topic for your book? Tell us your secrets on keeping organized.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

2 Comments on Organizing Your Research by DL Larson, last added: 7/22/2011
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