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Paperback My Captivity: A Pioneer Woman's Story of Her Life Among the Sioux Book

ISBN: 1626364222

ISBN13: 9781626364226

My Captivity: A Pioneer Woman's Story of Her Life Among the Sioux

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narrative of captivity among the Sioux Indians This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Should Be Read In Every High School

This is a harrowing story of one woman's survival among horrendous circumstances. Her capture; the murder/scalping of her toddler daughter, the constant threat of death to herself. There is some insinuation that she was probably raped, as well. Her ingenuity is what kept her alive. She speaks of tribal members who were kind to her, and those who were not. It is a very gripping story. I do a lot of genealogy research, and read a lot of newspapers from that day and time. The brutality of life among all people, the politics of the animosity between the Indians and the settlers (left over from the Indians backing the British during the Revolution), the tit for tat, back and forth, atrocities committed by both sides, which affected so many innocents on both sides - it is such a multi-faceted issue for a multi-faceted time. If we will let the people from that day speak for themselves, and pay attention to what they all had to say, our historical view would be so much more accurate, and unbiased.

A haunting touchstone of history

This raw piece of history is ripped out of time and preserved in such a way that it continues to speak for itself regardless of popular culture or fads in contemporary history. One of the advantages of being an American is that our forebears had direct contact with people who lived as we did 7,000 years ago. Among the slaves of the Indians, were people captured from modern literate cultures and the few that escaped left us with a remarkable record, from the inside, of what tribal life feels like. Fanny is no anthropologist and hers is more a narrative of suffering, endurance and the drama of her attempts to escape. Nevertheless, one pulls from the narrative what Indian life was like as well. You get a better sense of the Indian's instincts for dealing with the encroachment of modern culture and I came to appreciate what the pioneers braved to develop America. Fanny's story is as interesting for what it doesn't say as for what it does. Living among the Chief's women, was she one of his wives? Was she raped? Things a pioneer woman wouldn't record. You can sense the strange tension between merging with those around her and the separateness and detachment of someone who has lived in a less savage environment. Her life is tough and she often takes a dim view of the things around her. You find yourself wishing you knew more about her character, however, because her character and choices often seem to be the thing that saves her life. Her brief description of trying to pull one women into a more enlightened view of life leaves one wondering how such things work and it is as interesting for the eventual betrayal as it is for the attempt itself. At one point in the book she tries to rectify the popular eastern perception, even of that day, which imagines the Indians as untouched and pure, with her personal experience of a competitive, brutal life in a classic tribal setting. Some passages are hauntingly relevant to today. The betrayal of the woman she tries to help. The Indian's view of the development aid and peace offerings they received from the U.S. Government vs. the intended effect. It takes a few pages to adapt to the linguistic style of the times and Fanny, though articulate, is no Ernest Hemingway. Nevertheless, I found this short book to be well worth the read and it occupies an honored place on my bookshelf. If you're like me it will leave you with a lot of questions and you'll wish she'd written more. Through Fanny's simple narrative, however, I've gained a new appreciation for courage the pioneers had to muster living in Indian territory and the cultural divide that must have faced the Indians, many of whom successfully assimilated into modern culture in just one or two generations.

A Plains Pioneer Story

A riveting memoir by Fanny Kelly about her capture by the Sioux (Dakota) in 1864. Kelly's small wagon train was attacked in Wyoming en route to Idaho from southeastern Kansas. She spent five months as a captive, her life under constant threat as she and the Sioux walked and rode, often fleeing the army, through Montana and into the Badlands of North Dakota where they starved and froze, their provisions having been destroyed by the army. Kelly's individual story straddles the convergence of two civilizations in implacable opposition with terrible things being done by both sides. The events in Kelly's story take place only two years after the Minnesota Massacre of 1862 and the brutal white response. If you have read and enjoyed the grittiness of Elinore Pruitt Stewart's Letters of a Woman Homesteader you may enjoy this. Both books give a glimpse of the way Americans once lived and thought (nary a convenience store or microwave in sight). This book, however, as gripping as I found it, was also horrifying and sad. We experience individual acts of cruelty within a larger context of cultural incomprehension and intolerance. Tit for tat acts of revenge by hurt and angry people. Relevant for today? I think so.

Like opening a time capsule

It was great to get a peek into the life, via this narrative, of someone who lived went through this unique experience. While referring at many times to the Indians as "savages", she nonetheless admired and respected some of them while showing disdain for others. Through her experience I believe we see that we can't paint a people with a broad brush. I think she learned this lesson well. It was interesting to find out how many whites were held for ransom by the Indians. She devoted a whole chapter to this. She also related a dispute that she had with another captive. They were going to write a book together but that fell apart when the other captive "stole" the manuscript and told the story as her own. If you are of a religious persuasion, you may find inspiration in her use of faith to overcome the obstacles put in front of her. The book is also sprinkled throughout with historical photographs that relate to her story.

My Captivity Among the Sioux Indians

I just finished reading a borrowed copy of Fanny Kelly's book and was fascinated by her account of her experiences. Her treatment by her Indian captors may give one a "politically incorrect" view of our native Americans, but her account is documented and proven true. It is well written, inspiring, and educational -- a book I must have as a permanent part of my library.
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