Helen Hunt Jackson's famous exposé chronicles the oppression and murder the Native American peoples suffered throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
This book was published in 1885, at a time when the final conflicts between the United States and the Native American populations were being fought. The concept of allotted reservations as a means of settling land disputes had by then been underway for decades. At this point in time, the colonial settlers from Europe had spent over a century driving back the native inhabitants of North America; most of the tribes were, as a consequence, in a subjugated state.
Jackson casts her examination over the preceding century, cataloging the systematic process through which the Native American populace was suppressed, killed and robbed of their lands and heritage. Each separate tribe is considered, such as the Cherokees, Sioux and the Delawares: for each we are given a cultural profile, before Jackson details the interactions - peaceful and hostile - each respective tribe had with the incipient European settlers.
An accurate history which details aspects of treaties signed between the tribes and the European settlers, and the trade which occurred between the two parties, A Century of Dishonor discusses the forced resettlement and relocation of many peoples. Many resettlement procedures resulted in the new, white residents becoming agitated; they would frequently demand the Native Americans be evicted.
Helen Hunt Jackson's accounts are, for the most part, an eye-opening and sobering history which depicts a complete supplanting of the Native American peoples in the United States. For her part, Jackson was an ardent campaigner on behalf of the rights of the native peoples - she authored this comprehensive history after the success of Ramona, her novel which propelled her cause to new heights.
This edition of A Century of Dishonor contains all the appendices, several of which deal with the massacres and the qualities of the Native Americans. Also appended are Jackson's complete series of 'exhibits': which consist of correspondences between Jackson and others, with several acting as case studies of individual settlements or events.