The Blue Tattoo

The Blue Tattoo

The Life of Olive Oatman

Book - 2009
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In 1851 Olive Oatman was a thirteen-year old pioneer traveling west toward Zion, with her Mormon family. Within a decade, she was a white Indian with a chin tattoo, caught between cultures. The Blue Tattoo tells the harrowing story of this forgotten heroine of frontier America. Orphaned when her family was brutally killed by Yavapai Indians, Oatman lived as a slave to her captors for a year before being traded to the Mohave, who tattooed her face and raised her as their own. She was fully assimilated and perfectly happy when, at nineteen, she was ransomed back to white society. She became an instant celebrity, but the price of fame was high and the pain of her ruptured childhood lasted a lifetime.
Based on historical records, including letters and diaries of Oatman's friends and relatives, The Blue Tattoo is the first book to examine her life from her childhood in Illinois--including the massacre, her captivity, and her return to white society--to her later years as a wealthy banker's wife in Texas.
Oatman's story has since become legend, inspiring artworks, fiction, film, radio plays, and even an episode of Death Valley Days starring Ronald Reagan. Its themes, from the perils of religious utopianism to the permeable border between civilization and savagery, are deeply rooted in the American psyche. Oatman's blue tattoo was a cultural symbol that evoked both the imprint of her Mohave past and the lingering scars of westward expansion. It also served as a reminder of her deepest secret, fully explored here for the first time: she never wanted to go home.
Publisher: Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, c2009.
ISBN: 9780803211483
0803211481
Branch Call Number: 979. 00497 OAT M
Characteristics: xi, 261 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm.

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lilypad_1
Jun 20, 2017

I think this author has shown every which way Olive Oatman could have felt during each of the radical changes of circumstances in her life in a way that seems almost impossible to know. He also gave, in vivid detail, how each of the tribes differ, humanizes them and lets us know they would feel and treat their captives.
To think that this was only around 150 years ago and look at the changes in this country makes it just absolutely amazing. The fact that we have lost the respect for nature and spiritual aspect of these cultures is our loss.

JCLEmilyD Mar 29, 2017

This is a very fascinating story of Olive Oatman who's family was massacred on their way west during the gold rush. Olive and her sister are spared death but remain captives to a local Indian tribe, they are later traded to a different tribe where Olive (her sister died during this time) remained nearly five years. The author works very hard to stream together that correct facts about Olive's life, a difficult task due to vast number of conflicting accounts. A fascinating and rather quick read for a biography.

m
mawall
Aug 10, 2015

Worth the read. Interesting book.

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