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Malinche, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea: Indian Women as Cultural Intermediaries and National Symbols

Rebecca Kay Jager Ph.D.

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ISBN 10: 0806148519 / ISBN 13: 9780806148519
Published by University of Oklahoma Press, 2015
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Malinche, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea: Indian ...

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press

Publication Date: 2015

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

About this title

Synopsis:

The first Europeans to arrive in North America s various regions relied on Native women to help them navigate unfamiliar customs and places. This study of three well-known and legendary female cultural intermediaries, Malinche, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea, examines their initial contact with Euro-Americans, their negotiation of multinational frontiers, and their symbolic representation over time. Well before their first contact with Europeans or Anglo-Americans, the three women s societies of origin the Aztecs of Central Mexico (Malinche), the Powhatans of the mid-Atlantic coast (Pocahontas), and the Shoshones of the northern Rocky Mountains (Sacagawea) were already dealing with complex ethnic tensions and social change. Using wit and diplomacy learned in their Native cultures and often assigned to women, all three individuals hoped to benefit their own communities by engaging with the new arrivals. But as historian Rebecca Kay Jager points out, Europeans and white Americans misunderstood female expertise in diplomacy and interpreted indigenous women s cooperation as proof of their attraction to Euro-American men and culture. This confusion has created a historical misrepresentation of Malinche, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea as gracious Indian princesses, giving far too little credit to their skills as intermediaries. Examining their initial contact with Europeans and their work on multinational frontiers, Jager removes these three famous icons from the realm of mythology and cultural fantasy and situates each woman s behavior in her own cultural context. Drawing on history, anthropology, ethnohistory, and oral tradition, Jager demonstrates their shrewd use of diplomacy and fulfillment of social roles and responsibilities in pursuit of their communities future advantage. Jager then goes on to delineate the symbolic roles that Malinche, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea came to play in national creation stories. Mexico and the United States have molded their legends to justify

About the Author:

Rebecca K. Jager, who holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico, is an independent scholar whose research focuses on the interaction between gender and race in U.S. history.

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