Morgan S. Ward
English 101 MWF 10:00-10:50
October 19, 2011
Heartfelt and Close to Home
One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a crazy group of pioneer women who, under the authority of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. “Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.” Was the St. Martin's Press’ opinion.
I enjoyed reading One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus, and I believe that the story line was very intense and surreal. In 1874, the Cheyenne Chief Little Wolf goes to Washington, DC to try to make peace with the white men (and at the same time assure his tribe's survival.) The Indians and the U.S. government agree to trade 1000 white women for 1000 horses with the hope that these women would marry men in the Cheyenne tribe and have babies. The government thought the women would civilize the Indians; and the Indians wanted to use their children to save their tribe and be apart of the white world, America. The idea that 1000 white women leave their current situations in life to head west and marry Cheyenne Indians sounded fascinating to me. I admit that I was a little curious about what type of woman would agree to this program. After reading this novel I see that the women depicted in this “program” and very colorful personalities and sometimes even a little strange. I believe the author did this to keep his readers on their toes.
Although this agreement between the U.S. Government and the Cheyenne Indians never really happened, the book was written in such a way that the reader could totally believe these incidents occurred. I thought Mr....