I’m really enjoying this book and came across a passage today that I want to share, but before I do let me give you a little background on the book.
The story is about May Dodd and her adventures in traveling across the country from New York to the American West in the year 1875 as part of a government program to send unmarried, fertile woman to marry and mate with Cheyenne warriors in hopes of assimilating future generations of the Cheyenne people with the white man’s world.
The U.S. government has agreed to send the Cheyenne Nation 1,000 white women in exchange for 1,000 horses, 500 hundred wild horses and 500 that are already broken. The book has not and probably won’t explain the condition and value of the horses that the Cheyenne will be sending to the U.S. government but it does explain where these women will come from.
A few will be women that volunteer, that are of a certain age and able to bear children. The rest of them will come from prisons and insane asylums where in exchange for traveling across country and marrying heathens, they will be given their freedom.
Now I’m not big in politics, don’t throw my political opinion around as easily and frequently as do most people, especially on Facebook, but I will say that it doesn’t seem as though our government has changed much from 1875!
In the part of the book that I want to share, the women have already arrive at Fort Laramie and are being detained there, basically as prisoners until they are shipped off to their new spouses. The ladies are gathered at the table for dinner and are discussing the latest New York fashion in hats.
There is one lady named Helen Flight who is the author of a book entitled Birds of Britain and is working on a new book entitled Birds of America. Ms. Flight finds herself short of funds to continue her research on the Birds of America and thinks it a grand idea to head off to marry a Cheyenne warrior for the opportunity to study the bird life of the western prairies at no expense to her! That makes perfect sense right?
One of the ladies is wearing a new hat with feathers and they are all commenting on the hat and Ms. Flights says, “I say, Miss Bradley, were you aware that the feathers on your hat are the breeding plumes of the snowy egret?”
“Why no I wasn’t”, answers Miss Bradley. “Isn’t that fascinating?”
|Snowy Egret - Full Breeding Plumage - Photo Credit|
This made me tear up. Imagining those poor birds defending their young and being killed, simply for feathers! According to Wikipedia, the Snowy Egret is now a protected species thanks to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The book also talks about the train stopping along the way on the prairie for the men on board to "hunt" the buffalo on the prairie by shooting them where they stand out of the train windows. There is no "hunting" involved, just cruelty and cowardliness at shooting defenseless animals for sport. The animals left where they fall, some dead some mortally wounded, some with newborn spring calf's, left to rot.
It just makes me sad and angers me to think of how cruel human beings can be. I'm not opposed to killing animals to supply us with food, as long as it is done humanely, but to kill them for sport or for fun or for fashion! No! Just no...