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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

5. Masculine

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Activities: Author Activities

John Rollin Ridge (Yellow Bird) - Selected Archive Items

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[1184] Anonymous, John Rollin Ridge and Daughter Alice (c. 1860),
courtesy of Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries.
John Rollin Ridge was born into an important Cherokee family in Georgia. His father was assassinated for signing the treaty that led to the Trail of Tears. Ridge later married a white woman and rejoined the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. Issues of assimilation and resistance resonate in his literary works as in his life.

[1190] Anonymous, Joaquin, the Mountain Robber (c. 1848),
courtesy of the California State Library.
The fact that no verifiable portrait of Murietta exists only enhances the legend of the California outlaw. Murietta's exploits were often exaggerated, and many acts committed by other bandits were erroneously attributed to him.

[4246] John Rollin Ridge, First page of Joaquin Murieta (c. 1854),
courtesy of University of Oklahoma Press.
This sensational novel tells the story of a Mexican American outlaw who seeks revenge on marauding Anglo American miners during the California Gold Rush. The work was originally attributed to "Yellow Bird," Ridge's Cherokee name.

[4249] John Rollin Ridge, Title page of The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, The Celebrated California Bandit (1955),
courtesy of University of Oklahoma Press.
This is considered both the first novel written in California and the first novel written by a Native American. Its publishers identified author John Rollin Ridge by his Cherokee name, "Yellow Bird."

[5832] Charles Christian Nahl, Joaquin Murieta (1859),
courtesy of Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley.
Charles Christian Nahl and John Rollin Ridge are two of the many artists inspired by the legend of Joaquin Murieta. Here Murieta is depicted as a Spanish American-style hero.

[6403] McKenney & Hall, John Ridge, a Cherokee (c. 1838),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-3157].
Author John Rollin Ridge was born into a prominent Cherokee family. His father, John Ridge, was educated in New England and married a white woman. The family favored assimilation and accommodation.

[8277] John Rollin Ridge, Excerpt from The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit.

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