Tiya Miles on The Narrative of Nancy, a Cherokee Woman

Tiya Miles (University of Michigan) has published “The Narrative of Nancy, a Cherokee Woman” in the recent issue of Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies (H/T Legal History Blog). From the intro:

On November 24, 1801, Nancy, “by appearance an Indian woman,” gave testimony at Fort Southwest Point, a garrison in eastern Tennessee established in 1792 to defend white settlements against Indian attack.1 In a statement recorded under the title “The Narrative of Nancy, A Cherokee Woman,” Nancy claimed that she had been wrongfully held as a slave in Virginia since the year 1778. At the time of her testimony, Nancy was approximately thirty one years old and living with a white man named, incredibly, Captain John Smith. Smith had purchased Nancy from John Fulton, who had bought her from William Kennedy. Nancy described the crime of her capture in graphic detail in the narrative, testifying that

[S]he was taken when a child from her mother, that the white people afterwards boasted that they held their guns over her mother’s head to frighten her when they took her away: that sometime afterwards she was carried a great way on horseback to a place where there were a number of houses . . . that she had two masters before Mr. Fulton bought her, that she had brothers and sisters when she was taken away from her mother, that she never saw any waters larger than the Tennessee and Clinch Rivers.

Here is the full article — tiya-miles-the-narrative-of-nancy