cover image

Fort Marion Prisoners and the Trauma of Native Education

Diane Glancy

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 11/2014
Pages: 144
Subject: Social Science
eBook ISBN: 9780803256941


At the end of the Southern Plains Indian wars in 1875, the War Department shipped seventy-two Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Caddo prisoners from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida. These most resistant Native people, referred to as “trouble causers,” arrived to curious, boisterous crowds eager to see the Indian warriors they knew only from imagination. Fort Marion Prisoners and the Trauma of Native Education is an evocative work of creative nonfiction, weaving together history, oral traditions, and personal experience to tell the story of these Indian prisoners. Resurrecting the voices and experiences of the prisoners who underwent a painful regimen of assimilation, Diane Glancy’s work is part history, part documentation of personal accounts, and a search for imaginative openings into the lives of the prisoners who left few of their own records other than carvings in their cellblocks and the famous ledger books. They learned English, mathematics, geography, civics, and penmanship with the knowledge that acquiring the same education as those in the U.S. government would be their best tool for petitioning for freedom. Glancy reveals stories of survival and an intimate understanding of the Fort Marion prisoners’ predicament.    


Diane Glancy is an emerita professor of English at Macalester College and is currently a professor at Azusa Pacific University in California. She is the author of numerous novels, including Claiming Breath (Nebraska, 1992), Designs of the Night Sky (Nebraska, 2002), and The Reason for Crows: A Story of Kateri Tekakwitha.  


“Diane Glancy inhabits a world of images that breathe life and voice for the voiceless men, women, and children. . . . No simple history lesson, this, as Glancy examines how language is both captor and savior, another means of imprisonment and also liberation.”—Gina Ochsner, author of The Necessary Grace to Fall

“This book is mesmerizing and will stay with you for lifetimes.”—Jackie Old Coyote, Apsaalooke Nation, former director of education and outreach at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development  

“The survival of Indian people represents one of the most important subjects in American history. Glancy creates a multilayered narrative about the Kiowa, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Arapaho Indians, who became prisoners of the United States government during the late nineteenth century. She invites readers to contemplate the bleak realities and the difficult choices presented by historical circumstances.”—Brad Lookingbill, professor of history at Columbia College of Missouri