- Cherokee Sister: The Collected Writings of Catharine Brown, 1818-1823 ed. by Theresa Strouth Gaul, and: Laura Cornelius Kellogg: Our Democracy and the American Indian and Other Works eds. by Kristina Ackley and Cristina Stanciu, and: The Newspaper Warrior: Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins's Campaign for American Indian Rights, 1864-1891 eds. by Cari M. Carpenter and Carolyn Sorisio
The past several years have seen a surge in literary recovery projects on Native American writers, including Robert Dale Parker's Changing Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930 (2010), David Martinez's The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972 (2011), Lionel Larre's Tales of the Old Indian Territory and Essays on the Indian Condition (2012), and Siobhan Senier's Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England (2014). These collections reflect critical efforts to expand the canon to highlight the diversity and richness of Native American literature. Three more recent collections make noteworthy contributions to ongoing archival recovery of Native writings across genres, deepening appreciation of the life and literature of three early Native women writers: Catharine Brown, Laura Cornelius Kellogg, and Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins.
Theresa Strouth Gaul's Cherokee Sister: The Collected Writings of Catharine Brown 1818-1823 makes available the writings of Catharine Brown, "arguably the earliest Native woman author of published, self-written texts in the United States" (2). Winner of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers Edition Award in 2015, the collection seeks to give Brown the long overdue recognition she deserves "as an agent, a leader, a figure of enduring Cherokee resilience and adaptability, and—importantly—a writer" (5). Brown enrolled in the Brainerd School, founded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign [End Page 213] Missions (ABCFM), in what is now Tennessee in 1817. Soon after, in 1818, she became the first American Board Cherokee to convert to Christianity. Due to her "celebrity status" as the first convert and her English-language literacy, she became "a familiar figure and author in the columns of religious periodicals, which dominated magazine print culture in New England during this period" (2-3). Brown gained an audience for her writings and helped shape public opinion on the Cherokees, and her literary corpus comprises thirty-two recovered letters and a diary, making her, after Mohegan writers Samson Occom and John Johnson, "the most prolific Native writer before the late 1820s" (5).
Gaul's broad introduction offers useful contexts for understanding Brown's writings, including background on Brown's life and Cherokee history, and literary frameworks for letters, diaries, and early Native writings. Gaul explains that the impetus behind her recovery project is to foster scholarly interest in Brown, who "has been virtually excluded from the emerging canon of Native writers in the United States, even from works focusing on Native women writers" (5). Despite being a contemporary of Native activists and leaders such as William Apess (Pequot) and prominent Cherokee men including Elias Boudinot and John Ridge, Brown has received little critical attention. Gaul attributes this oversight to the privileging of the book over other forms in literary studies: "To the extent that she has been remembered at all by a few specialists in Cherokee studies or Native studies, Brown's place in history and literature has been conserved through Memoir of Catharine Brown; indeed all recent scholarship about her uses the biography as its central, and often sole, source" (4).
For the first time, Brown's letters and her diary appear in the same volume along with reprints of other nineteenth-century publications related to her life. Divided into two...