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May 11,1896 - Western writer Mari Sandoz is born

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  • deadeye_dolly
    1896 Western writer Mari Sandoz is born Mari Sandoz, the author of several histories that demonstrated sympathy for Indians that was unusual for the time, is
    Message 1 of 1 , May 11 3:40 AM
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      1896 Western writer Mari Sandoz is born

      Mari Sandoz, the author of several histories that demonstrated
      sympathy for Indians that was unusual for the time, is born in
      Sheridan County, Nebraska.

      Sandoz had a difficult childhood on a Nebraska homestead. Her
      father, Jules, was a bitter, tyrannical man, who took out the
      frustrations of homesteading on his wife and children. Unusually
      bright and studious, Sandoz eventually escaped to the University of
      Nebraska, which she attended irregularly from 1922 to 1930. She
      never earned her degree--though the school awarded her an honorary
      Doctor of Letters in 1950--but found that she enjoyed the life of
      the scholar. After working as a schoolteacher for a time, she
      gradually devoted herself to historical research and freelance
      writing.

      Sandoz authored a number of novels, but today she is remembered for
      her meticulously researched non-fiction histories. Her 1935
      biography of her father, Old Jules, is a bittersweet and moving
      history of homesteading on the Great Plains. Even more valuable,
      though, were Sandoz's histories of the Plains Indians.

      In 1949, she published Crazy Horse, a biography of the great Sioux
      warrior who participated in the 1876 defeat of George Custer at the
      Battle of the Little Big Horn. For decades after Little Big Horn,
      Crazy Horse was usually portrayed as a bloodthirsty savage who
      helped murder a great American hero. Sandoz's biography revealed a
      noble and admirable man dedicated to his people and to resisting
      white theft of their traditional lands.

      Sandoz's 1953 book, Cheyenne Autumn, was equally unusual for its
      many appealing and sympathetic portraits of Indians. Painstakingly
      researched, the book remains valuable to this day for its thorough
      treatment of Indian history and folkways. Cheyenne Autumn is a
      moving condemnation of the brutal war waged by the U.S. to deprive
      the Cheyenne of their lands and traditional ways. The book was also
      the inspiration behind John Ford's 1964 movie of the same name.
      Cheyenne Autumn was one of the first Westerns to abandon the old
      racist stereotypes of the Indian as a vicious savage and emphasize
      the tragedy of the Indian experience.

      Strong willed, ambitious, and dedicated to providing an accurate
      history, Sandoz's work marked the beginning of a movement that
      greatly revised how Americans viewed the history of western
      settlement. The Indians were not the villains in this great
      historical drama, Sandoz suggested, but the victims. Mari Sandoz
      died in 1966, just as many Americans were starting to embrace her
      more compassionate view of the Native American.

      http://www.historychannel.com/tdih/tdih.jsp?
      category=oldwest&month=10272957&day=10272976
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