Diasporic Women Wahnenauhi, Narcissa Owen, and the Shifting Frontiers of Cherokee Identity Gregory D. Smithers At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century, two women of Cherokee descent gave voice to dynamic, innovative, and in their minds modern articulations of what it meant to be Cherokee in the United States. Wahnenauhi, better known to Euroamericans as Lucy Lowrey Hoyt Keys, was one of these women. At the end of the nineteenth century the Smithsonian Institution reportedly paid her ten dollars for her "manuscript," written in the Cherokee syllabary and first published in 1889. Narcissa Owen, Wahnenauhi's contemporary, also wrote a Cherokee history of sorts, publishing her memoir in 1907.1 Analyzed together, Wahnenauhi and Owen's writings highlight how educated Cherokee women understood the historical dimensions of place, movement, and identity at the turn of the century. Wahnenauhi and Owen rarely receive more than passing mention in Cherokee historiography. The confinement of their writings to the footnotes of history obscures how both women used their considerable literary skills to critique the cultural forces of settler colonialism, forces that helped to rationalize the exile of the vast majority of Cherokees during the 1830s.2 Wahnenauhi and Owen's writings were published during
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Apr 12, 2017
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