MEMOIRS OF A CAPTIVITY AMONG THE INDIANS OF NORTH AMERICA by John Dunn Hunter

MEMOIRS OF A CAPTIVITY AMONG THE INDIANS OF NORTH AMERICA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hunter, when an infant, was captured by the Plains Indians and lived among the Kansas and Osage tribes until he fled to a frontier settlement at the age of nineteen after having warned a friendly trader of an impending Indian attack. His Memoirs of his adventures and the accompanying description of Manners and Customs of Several Indian Tribes, published in 1823, caused a sensation until they were refuted and ""exposed"" as inauthentic by a noted Indian expert of the day. Hunter himself, a friend of Thomas Jefferson and Daniel Boone, unsuccessfully attempted to organize Indian immigration to Mexico, led the short-lived Fredonia rebellion and was assassinated by an Indian -- allegedly a hired killer -- in 1827. Drinnon asserts the Memoirs is ""an important document,"" ""perhaps a minor classic in the American literature of self-discovery""; in this new edition he has preserved them intact but edited and abridged Customs. Both convey the well-known picture of a masculine, hunting and warrior society, unified by racial pride (""the Indians universally believe that the Great Spirit. . .exercised a partiality in their favor which was indelibly registered in their color""), but already threatened by the white man's predatory excursions into their untamed wilderness. A period source and historical curiosity.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1973
ISBN: 1150459921
Publisher: Schocken