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Richard Green sets the inspiring story of Te Ata against the historical, political, economic, and social upheavals of the Dawes Act, the federal government's allotment program designed to abolish tribal governments and assimilate the Chickasaw and other Indian tribes into the American mainstream. Although Te Ata grew up in Tishomingo and Bloomfield, a tribal boarding school, rather than on a reservation, she was raised on her father's Chickasaw stories. In time, Te Ata recognized the wit and wisdom of her father's stories and found she had a special talent for collecting and adapting them and other American Indian folktales into dramatic performances.
Green's research is extensive, drawing on his position as tribal historian for the Chickasaw Nation and the support of Te Ata's family to access Te Ata's personal papers, memorabilia, and the letters and photographs exchanged between Te Ata and her husband, Clyde Fisher, founding director of the Hayden Planetarium.
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