The Fillies are thrilled to have Angela Archer aka London James come to talk about the incredible hidden gems in history. She has a giveaway as well.
Imagine being yanked from the comfort of your home (or, in most cases, your wagon) and thrust into an unfamiliar world where you don’t speak the language, understand the customs, or recognize the faces around you. It’s the stuff of novels, and yet, it was the reality that a lot of women faced when Native American tribes captured them.
I first stumbled upon these captivating tales while researching for my book, “A Terrible Glory,” which delves into the fascinating history of the Battle of Little Bighorn. The more I learned, the more I realized that these women’s stories were not just an essential part of history but also a testament to the incredible strength of the human spirit. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading about them; they were like hidden gems waiting to be unearthed, revealing their hardships, incredible strength, and resilience.
In the late 1800s, Native American tribes captured European and Euro-American women for various reasons – revenge, warfare, alliances, and even survival. These women, who were forcibly taken from their homes, faced unimaginable hardships. Yet, amidst the struggles, they had a spirit that defied even my imagination. Many of these women were adopted into the tribes that had captured them. They were given new names and began to assimilate into the tribe’s way of life, learning the language, traditions, and skills of the tribe.
Take the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, for instance. Captured by the Comanche tribe in Texas in 1836, she eventually became an integral part of the tribe. She married a Comanche chief and raised a family. Like many others, her transformation shows the incredible journey these women embarked upon during their captivity.
I won’t deny that many women didn’t have the same outcome. There were cases of abuse and murder, the dark side to the light side, just as with everything in history. But for some, the initial trauma of capture gave way to a period of learning and adaptation. Most of the women even brought their own skills with them, such as farming, cooking, and homemaking, to their captor’s communities, and, in return, they absorbed valuable survival skills and gained a profound understanding of Native American customs.
Olive Oatman’s story stands out as an example. Captured by the Yavapai tribe in Arizona in the 1850s, she was eventually adopted by the Mojave tribe. During her time with the Mojave, she learned how to adapt to the harsh desert environment and even embraced traditional tattooing as a part of her identity.
When some captives were eventually released or rescued, they faced the arduous task of reintegrating into society. The transition was far from smooth, as they had become deeply assimilated into their captor’s culture. Their own communities often viewed them with suspicion, fearing they had become too “Indian.”
Sarah Wakefield’s story is a testament to this struggle. Captured during the Dakota War of 1862, she defended the Dakota people during the trials that followed. Her actions led to accusations of treason and hostility from some in her own community.
And then there’s Mary Jemison, the famous author who was taken captive by the Seneca tribe during the French and Indian War. She chose to live the rest of her life as a Seneca woman and became known as “The White Woman of the Genesee.” Her story reflects the profound transformation captivity could have on one’s sense of self and belonging.
These women’s stories, so rich in detail and emotion, represent a complex and often overlooked chapter in American history. Not to mention, they challenge our preconceived notions about Native American-European relations.
In the end, they were remarkable survivors and often lived in two worlds, and their lives remind us of the resilience and the capacity for cultural exchange and understanding, even in the most challenging circumstances.
Question time! What part of the Native American history/culture interests you the most?
Leave a comment, and you might win an e-book copy of A Terrible Glory!
“It is observed that in any great endeavor, it is not enough for a person to depend solely on himself.” ~ Lakota Proverb
They called it a terrible glory and the last great battle for the American West. While the battle of the Little Bighorn was the last stand by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer against the Lakota tribes, to Lily Sinclair, it was the last stand between her old life and her new beginning.
After her in-laws squander away the family fortune, Lily and her husband, Alfred, head west to the mountains of Montana, the only land available to poor people and far away from the debts haunting them. When a band of Cherokee warriors attacks their wagon train along the way, they kill her husband and take her captive, selling her to a Lakota tribe for the price of several horses.
Widowed Lakota warrior Tahatan has vowed never to take another bride after his wife’s death. However, he soon finds himself forced into a marriage with the outspoken, yellow-haired Yankee who challenges every thought in his head.
With Custer’s sights set on the hidden gold in the depths of the Black Hills, the Colonel begins his warpath on the tribe villages. Can Lily overcome the demons of her past and defend Tahatan and his people? Or will she betray them all for the actions against her dead husband?
This book was previously published with the title: “Through the Eyes of a Captive”. When I first started writing under Angela Christina Archer, I thought I would write Historical Romance forever. I have since changed genres, and with this change, my Historical Romance titles now bear the name London James and are predominantly Clean & Wholesome, often graced with light Christian elements. “Through the Eyes of a Captive” has been re-envisioned under this lens and has been revised and edited. *****THAT SAID, I HAVE TO ISSUE A WORD OF CAUTION: this work delves deeper and darker than typical London James titles. Centered on the Battle of Little Bighorn, it paints a realistic, sometimes stark picture of hardships, fights over land, and war, including its toll on children. Despite its serious themes, there’s no profanity or explicit content.