The Blue Tattoo

A cozy, genteel room to discuss books, authors, and things literary.

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The Blue Tattoo

Post by Cosima___J » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:08 pm

Pretty darn interesting true story of Olive Oatman, who at the age of 13 was captured by Yavapai Indians while travelling with her family to California in 1850. After a year laboring as a slave, she was traded to the Mohave Indians, where she was basically adopted as a member of the tribe. She quickly learned their language and adopted their customs. Olive's transformation from a white girl into a Mohave young woman included having her light brown hair dyed black and her chin adorned with blue tattoos. Unlike the picture most people have of American Indians of that time period, the Mohaves were rather fun loving people who enjoyed bawdy jokes and spending time together laughing. Olive lived for five years under the benign treatment of the Indians before being "rescued" and returned to white civilization.

Olive became quite the media star of her day with newspapers across the country running stories about her Indian captivity. She made a living giving lectures about her experiences. Unfortunately, instead of acknowledging the fact that the Mohave treated her very well, she painted them in a most unfavorable light. The author speculates that Olive believed the only way she would be accepted back into white society was to denounce Indians. But in the privacy of her own room at night, she paced the floor many nights, crying over the loss of her life with the Mohave. Sad.

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