The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman (Women in the West)


The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman (Women in the West) Author Margot Mifflin
ISBN-10 0803235178
ISBN-13 9780803235175
Year 2011-04-01
Pages 288
Language English
Publisher Bison Books
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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 Oatmans friends and relatives The Blue Tattoo is the first book to examine her life from her childhood in Illinoisincluding the massacre her captivity and her return to white societyto her later years as a wealthy bankers wife in Texas Oatmans 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 Oatmans 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

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