Boston: For sale by Cupples, Upham & Co.; G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York; and by the Author, 1883. 8vo. 268 pp. Bound in green publisher's cloth with Greek-style printed border in black along top and bottom of covers. Edges slightly worn, corners bumped, minor tears at head and foot of spine, small scratches to front and back covers, title in gilt on spine. Textblock edges browned with minor staining. Contemporary ownership stamps and signature on front endleaves: "Kate E. Daken / Santa Cruz / 1885." From the Dorothy Sloan Collection of Women in West, with her inscription in pencil inside back cover. Good. Item #3368
The first autobiography written by a Native American woman. "The author championed her people; her book was among the first by an Indian who had grown up in primitive life [...] The first edition is very scarce" (Paher).
Important 19th-century Nevada book, and a key history of the Piute tribe and its dealings with Whites. Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (1844-1891) was the daughter of a Piute chief; as an author and educator, she attempted to raise awareness about injustices against Native Americans.
In the 1878 Bannock War, Hopkins served as a translator (and possibly as a scout and/or messenger) guide for the U.S. Army, during which time her people were forcibly relocated to the Yakima Washington Reservation. Afterwards she traveled to Washington D.C. and appealed for their rights to then-President Rutherford B. Hayes. Though her efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, she was invited to lecture all across the Eastern United States from 1883-4, and in total gave more than 300 lectures.
The present work was written at the encouragement of Ralph Waldo Emerson. It provides "extensive information about pre-White northern Paiute culture, the types of foods, marriage, and other social practices, as well as political leadership," while simultaneously increasing awareness and sympathy for the plight of Native Americans.
It was for "Life Among the Piutes" that Hopkins became the first Native American Indian woman to secure a copyright for an English language publication.
That our copy was owned by a California woman book-collector in 1885 is noteworthy.
Graff 1950; Paher 888; Rader 1927; Smith 4618.