Singer of his people : the unification of two peoples in John Milton Oskison's The singing bird
Smith, Melinda G.
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John Milton Oskison, born on September 1, 1874 in Tahlequah, Indian Territory was a prolific writer of short stories, articles, and novels. His unpublished manuscript The Singing Bird is significant because it is an historical novel that details Cherokee removal, both voluntary and forced, from the East. The work offers a view of the frontier that seems to be, in many ways, innovative because, unlike other writers from this period, he does not call for the Americanization of the Cherokees. His vision of the West is that of a place where white and Cherokee characters live side by side, each adopting characteristics of the other culture. Furthermore, the novel undermines contemporary representations of Native Americans and criticizes white settlers as uncivilized. This novel is particularly interesting because of its concern with both white and Cherokee cultures; Oskison does not privilege one over the other, but values each with equal fervor.