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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

     by Fergus, Jim

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

This novel, written in journal form, details May Dodd's participation in a secret government treaty entered into by Ulysses S. Grant and Chief Little Wolf of the Cheyenne Indian nation. The 1875 treaty involved the trade of 1000 white women for 1000 horses and was called "Brides for Indians." The women were recruited from jails, mental hospitals and debtors' prisons and became indentured to the Cheyenne tribe for two years as wives. The hope was that the resulting offspring, raised by the Cheyenne, would help assimilate the Indian people into the white man's world. May Dodd had been imprisoned in a lunatic asylum for promiscuous behavior until the "Brides for Indians" program came along. Her journal details her adventures as the wife to Chief Little Wolf. The journal includes the emotions and daily experiences of several women who participated in the program. Living on the prairie among the Cheyenne is physically and emotionally difficult. Marrying the Cheyenne warriors brings hope, fear and heartache to these brave women. 

The spark for this novel was an actual historical event that occurred in 1854. A Cheyenne chief did request the gift of 1000 white women as brides but the offer was rejected by the U.S. Army. The story is a little difficult to believe but the book is entertaining and an easy summer read. The ending comes as a shock and is quite brutal compared to the book as a whole.

Reviewed by sw, 06/03. Other reviews by sw.