In the Land of the Grasshopper Song


In the Land of the Grasshopper Song

Two Women in the Klamath River Indian Country in 1908-09, Second Edition

Mary Ellicott Arnold and Mabel Reed
Introduction by Susan Bernardin
Foreword to the new Bison Books edition by André Cramblit
Afterword to the new Bison Books edition by Terry Supahan

352 pages
41 illustrations, 1 map


December 2011


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In 1908 easterners Mary Ellicott Arnold and Mabel Reed accepted appointments as field matrons in Karuk tribal communities in the Klamath and Salmon River country of northern California. In doing so, they joined a handful of white women in a rugged region that retained the frontier mentality of the gold rush some fifty years earlier. Hired to promote the federal government’s assimilation of American Indians, Arnold and Reed instead found themselves adapting to the world they entered, a complex and contentious territory of Anglo miners and Karuk families.

In the Land of the Grasshopper Song, Arnold and Reed’s account of their experiences, shows their irreverence towards Victorian ideals of womanhood, recounts their respect toward and friendship with Karuks, and offers a rare portrait of women’s western experiences in this era. Writing with self-deprecating humor, the women recall their misadventures as women “in a white man’s country” and as whites in Indian country. A story about crossing cultural divides, In the Land of the Grasshopper Song also documents Karuk resilience despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

New material by Susan Bernardin, André Cramblit, and Terry Supahan provides rich biographical, cultural, and historical contexts for understanding the continuing importance of this story for Karuk people and other readers.

Author Bio

Mary Ellicott Arnold (1876–1968) and Mabel Reed (1876–1962), partners in life and work, were activists known for their foundational work for the cooperative movement, most notably their leadership of the Consumers Cooperative Services. Susan Bernardin is an associate professor of English at SUNY College at Oneonta and a coauthor of Trading Gazes: Euro-American Women Photographers and Native North Americans, 1880–1940. André Cramblit is the operations director for the Northern California Indian Development Council. Terry Supahan is the president of Supahan Consulting Group, which provides guidance to tribes, rural governments, and community development organizations.

Table of Contents

I. The Unmapped Way, and How, Finally, We Hit the Trail, and the Mountains Closed Around Us
II. Innocents Abroad in the Land of the White Man
III. We Cross the River into Indian Country
IV The Course of True Love, Indian Way
V. Indians at Home, When There Ain't No Growl, nor No Trouble
VI. Indians at Home: the Essie Growl and the Water Growl
VII. Innocents Abroad on the Professional Trail
VIII. The Ford at Siwillup
IX. Indian Gambling, and Other Topics of the Day in Indian Country
X. We Make the World Over and Leave Out Something
XI. Everybody Got Trouble When the World Is Made Wrong, Indians and Everybody
XII. We Hit the Trail for Points East, with all the Glories of Iced Tea, Iced Coffee, Fried Chicken, and Ice Cream in the Offing
XIII. Return to the Rivers: Everybody Got Trouble, White People and Everybody
XIV. Moving Day on the Klamath
XV. Indians at Home in Up-river Country
XVI. The Baby Growl
XVII. We Introduce White Customs in the Form of Two Christmas Trees, and, for a Moment, Fear We May Regret It
XVIII. Ti Postheree
XIX. The Open Trail
XX. The Schoolmarms Come Down Like Wolves on Yreka, and Then Celebrate the Fourth in Indian Country
XXI. We Cross Marble Mountain and Find the Indian Ain't Got No Chance in White Men's Country
XXII. The Great Deerskin Dance
XXIII. Farewell to the Klamath
XXIV. I-to Poo-a-rum

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