Pushing the Bear: After the Trail of Tears

Overview

It is February 1839, and the survivors of the Cherokee Trail of Tears have just arrived in Fort Gibson, Indian Territory. A quarter of the removed Indian population have died along the way, victims of cold, disease, and despair. Now the Cherokee people confront an unknown future. How will they build anew from nothing? How will they plow fields of unbroken sod, full of rocks too heavy to lift? Can they put aside the pain and anger of Removal and find peace?

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Overview

It is February 1839, and the survivors of the Cherokee Trail of Tears have just arrived in Fort Gibson, Indian Territory. A quarter of the removed Indian population have died along the way, victims of cold, disease, and despair. Now the Cherokee people confront an unknown future. How will they build anew from nothing? How will they plow fields of unbroken sod, full of rocks too heavy to lift? Can they put aside the pain and anger of Removal and find peace?

Pushing the Bear: After the Trail of Tears tells the story of the Cherokees’ resettlement in the hard years following Removal, a story never before explored in fiction. In this sequel to her popular 1996 novel Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears, author Diane Glancy continues the tale of Cherokee brothers O-ga-na-ya and Knobowtee and their families, as well the Reverend Jesse Bushyhead, a Cherokee Christian minister. The book follows their travails in Indian Territory as they attempt to build cabins, raise crops, and adjust to new realities.

The novel begins with a nation defeated—displaced, starving, broken, still walking that hated Trail in their dreams. Debate rages between followers of the old ways and converts to Christianity, and conflict between those who opposed and those who authorized resettlement eventually erupts into violence. In the aftermath of confusion, despair, and turmoil, a new nation emerges.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Glancy's sequel to Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears (1998) is set in Oklahoma Indian Territory following the Cherokee nation's relocation. This episode in U.S. history is underexplored in fiction, and the novel's themes emerge as surprisingly current owing to our increased awareness of ethnic cleansing in recent times. We become acquainted with a cast of characters who deal with rage, grief, and depression following their harrowing journey, yet the narrative rises above individual voices, becoming almost mythic in tone. Some tribal members felt themselves to be part of their former Southern communities, living in cabins with the typical household goods of the day and even owning slaves. Others had a connection with farming and nature that makes their uprooting to the inhospitable Oklahoma environment even more tragic. The exiles deal with issues of separation and division, for example, between Christians and pagan believers or the wealthy tribe members who benefited from the treaty and those who are impoverished by the move. VERDICT Highly recommended for readers of literary fiction; the novel's narrative, with its simple sentences and wry tone, make it accessible to young adult readers as well.—Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Libs., Harrisonburg, VA\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806140698
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 10/26/2009
  • Series: American Indian Literature Series
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 809,967
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Glancy is Professor of English at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota. She has received the Cherokee Medal of Honor from the Cherokee Honor Society. She is also an award-winning author of poetry, short stories, and plays. Her works include War Cries, a collection of plays, and Firesticks and The Voice That Was in Travel, both short story collections published by the University of Oklahoma Press. Her collection of essays, Claiming Breath, won the North American Indian Prose Award and an American Book Award.

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