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The United States Grows
(1865-1900)

Helen Hunt Jackson Writes for the Native Americans



Helen Hunt Jackson Writes for the Native Americans
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.1

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    best, policies, happening, plight, federal, deals, activist, spelled, pseudonym, instant, agent, influence, defense, direct, reservation, government
     content words:    Helen Hunt Jackson, Emily Dickinson, Hunt Jackson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Native Americans, Native American, Mission Indians, Ponca Chief Standing Bear, Chief Standing, United States


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Helen Hunt Jackson Writes for the Native Americans
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Growing up, Helen Hunt Jackson learned to do the right thing. After all, her father was a preacher. She learned the importance of writing, too. Her mother was a writer and her father was also a professor. The famous poet, Emily Dickinson, was a classmate of hers. Later in her life, Helen Hunt Jackson was also influenced by Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The success of that book showed her how much a piece of writing could influence people's ideas.
 
2     It is not surprising then that Helen Hunt Jackson considered two of her books, A Century of Dishonor and Ramona, to be the most important works of her life. Both of these books supported Native Americans in their fight for fair treatment.
 
3     Helen Hunt Jackson was both an activist for Native American causes and a writer. She didn't always write about Native American issues, however. Her early writings included children's stories, travel articles, poems, and novels. Like many women writers of her time, she began her career writing under a pseudonym.
 
4     She received a commission to write articles about California for a magazine. When she traveled there, she began to learn about the Mission Indians of southern California. Altogether, she published about thirty books and over one hundred articles. She is best remembered, however, for A Century of Dishonor and Ramona. She published both of these books under her own name.
 
5     Mrs. Jackson first got the idea for A Century of Dishonor when she attended a lecture by the Ponca Chief Standing Bear. He spoke about how the Poncas were forcibly removed from the reservation where they lived.

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