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September 15, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: Your Epidermis Is Showing and It Is White

Kate Hart

Today's road trip involves 
~* time travel *~

If you could go back in time to research any period, what would it be? 


(Actually it comes in handy all the time, because I research a lot for both my day job and my writing. Rest assured, State of Arkansas, your investment in my education was not in vain.) 

Photobucket So as I have related elsewhere, I'm about as white as white girls come. However, being from Oklahoma, my family does have a smidgen of Indian heritage, as Okies are wont to do.* From a very young age, Native American history fascinated me... probably because once we moved to St. Louis, I latched onto that little bit of different in an attempt to be interesting.

(Instead, I told my third grade class that I was Cherokee-- pronounced "chair-ROW-key." In case you're wondering, um, that pronunciation is wrong.)

Geronimo (below) and Ft. Sill (above)
via the
Oklahoma Historical Society
In college, I managed to make almost every single paper relate to Indian issues. Civil War and Reconstruction? "Stand Watie, Cherokee General." Revolutionary War? "Captivity Narratives of Colonial Women."  Modern America? "AIM and Wounded Knee." US to 1865? "A Comparison of The Jesuit Relations and the Diaries of Cristobal Colón"-- a paper I then managed to translate and use in a Spanish class as well. My senior independent study examined "Indian Involvement in the Mexican American War." I looked at Cherokee matriarchy for an Intro to Sociology class, and indigenous poetry for Latin American Lit.


My paranormal MS is set in Oklahoma, and I'm tying a lot of this research into it. Several famous Native American warriors and chiefs are buried at Ft. Sill, a real military base near my fictional town. I keep finding amazing connections between them and my story, particularly Geronimo. One crazy story claims frat boys from Yale dug up his remains and took them to Connecticut. Another claims his remains were reburied on Elk Mountain, a location that figures prominently in REFUGE.

So it's really a no brainer: I'd choose to see North America pre-colonization, particularly the south and west. If I got multiple choices, I'd jump forward to the second half of the 1800s as well. But I'd only go if a bulk order of sunscreen would survive the trip. My 0.05% Native American skin needs all the protection it can get.

*No I do not think I am descended from Cherokee princesses. But if you're wondering, my mother has a CDIB confirming our Chickasaw ancestry, which means we qualify for tribal enrollment; my dad's side is Choctaw but no one can track down any proof there. 

And while I'm on about it: Dear hipsters, take off your damn headdresses. And then read the rest of that blog.
ETA: Very interesting discussion on headdress link, courtesy of Kirsten.


Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate!


  1. I snickered at your first little "*" at the bottom. Kiowa always liked to tease that the first thing white people like to say is "my great-great-great something or other was a Native American princess"... he has a point though though lol, I've heard it multiple times from people.

    I think I was destined to marry a Native American man... I was obsessed a bit myself as a child with Native American history/culture. And I totally love that my husband's mother kept him an awesome baby book with a family tree... it is so fascinating to see this list of people with their traditional tribal names... etc. It makes me excited to have kids one day and share all the stuff of their history them (and then explain to them how they are now watered down with the whiteness hahaha)

  2. So I should be searching around Connecticut to find where the frat boys hid Geronimo? (So joking lol).

    I'm not surprised by your choice of time periods :)

  3. Very cool. I was always interested in Native American stuff.

  4. Great post, but the title of this post? Genius. :)

  5. Umm...would it be creepy to bring up our cosmic connections again? No, okay. My husband is a history professor - dissertation on Native Americans. We watch PBS documentaries like most people watch The Bachelor. Just sayin'

  6. WOW. Reading the titles of those papers made me remember everything I loved/hated about college. That is some serious, and seriously awesome, research.

    My choice was totally a product of my language classes in HS/College. Am not French (unless you count French Canadian! woot) but am total Francophile.

  7. History nerds UNITE!

    *Internet fist bump*

    And I'm really interested in Native American culture and history

    (and, omg, that "hipster" link is really fascinating!)

  8. Somehow I thought this would be your choice ;) Definitely an interesting time to visit!

  9. Hahaha I love this answer (and the title). I feel you with the time period obsession!

  10. But I'd only go if a bulk order of sunscreen would survive the trip. My 0.05% Native American skin needs all the protection it can get.

    I hear you on that one!

    @ Sarah, my choice is largely because I am an anglophile! ;)

  11. But I'd only go if a bulk order of sunscreen would survive the trip. My 0.05% Native American skin needs all the protection it can get.


    It would definitely be interesting to see America pre-colonization. Fascinating.

  12. I love this. Of course. I'm not even sure what to say that wouldn't end up being a massive comment. About how interesting it would be to be able to separate N.A. fact from fiction? About how studying Native sexuality in school was totally mind-blowing? About how cute you'd look in a headdress? j/k Damn hipsters.

  13. HAHA, awesome.

    I have both Cherokee and Blackfoot ancestry. Shamefully, though, I don't know much about Native American culture, and I wish they talked about it more in school.

  14. Nice. I had major NA heritage envy growing up in Wisconsin. Sadly, I am solely descended from German farm people. But I did go to Cherokee Middle School!

  15. A: Hell yes.

    Q: Does this make me want to read Refuge even more?

  16. I'll hitch a ride with you in that time machine to pre-colonial days! The Lakota looked high on that map to me, too. So much for accuracy :-)

  17. Cool post! I have to admit I know very little about Native American history -- which is terrible because my Dad practically lives at Crow reservation in Montana.

    Um, I like how you made all your university papers about Indian issues. I was the same, but as a marine biologist, I always made it about sharks. Did it matter that it was an economics paper? No. Supply and Demand of Shark Fishing -- boom!

  18. Ashamed to say that I never knew of your interest in OK/Native American history.

    Have I failed you?

    Brilliant usual...Chair-row-KEE Princess.


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