Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Indian Captive

by Lois Lenski

This is a fictionalized account of the story of Mary Jemison, a young teenager who was kidnapped by the Seneca Indians in the year 1758. Back then, the custom among the Seneca was to kill or kidnap a white settler for every one of their own people who were killed by the invading pioneers. Indian Captive tells the tale of Mary's capture and her subsequent adjustment to life among the Seneca. I found it to be a fascinating tale, as Mary moves from terror to sorrow to finally finding a place in her new community. To my thinking, the whole concept of an "indian captive" is barbaric, yet the practice does contain an element of justice. The whole book reflects the tension well. The Seneca endeavor to make Mary feel loved and welcome, yet that can't erase the harm they caused by killing her family and kidnapping her in the first place. That Mary finally is able to accept her new people despite their transgressions is an accurate reflection of what it means to live with the flaws of one's family, friends and neighbors. I will definitely look to find a copy of Mary Jemison's actual memoirs once I get back to the States. Until then, I'll just have to make sure this book stays on my shelf.
LibraryThing link


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