NPR

Author Mines Family And Tribal History For Novel 'Cherokee America'

As an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, author Margaret Verble taps deep into tribal history for her books.
"Cherokee America," by Margaret Verble. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Author Margaret Verble taps into her Cherokee heritage for her books, starting with her Pulitzer Prize finalist novel, “Maud’s Line.” Her follow up, “Cherokee America,” takes place in Indian Territory just after the Civil War.

The Cherokee and other tribes were removed from their land, which was mostly southeastern states, and relocated to land now known as Oklahoma in forced marches that became known as “The Trail of Tears.” Thousands died along the way.

Cherokee America Singer, the lead character in Verble’s new book, is the matriarch of a prosperous farm family in Indian Territory, Verble tells Here & Now’s Eric Westervelt. She is inspired by a real-life woman named Cherokee America Rogers that Verble’s grandmother told her about.

“The reason grandma felt so fondly of her is because when her father, who is my great grandfather, and his brother came as orphans of the Civil War into Indian territory trying to find work and place to live, Mrs. Rogers took them in, and she essentially made their lives,” Verble says. “They became farmers there in eastern

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min readPolitics
What Trump May Be Missing In Those Polls He Calls Fake
Polls taken 18 months before an election are not predictive, but they have sent signals that proved helpful when heeded by presidents in the past.
NPR2 min readPolitics
Senate Passes $4.6 Billion Emergency Border Funding Bill Signalling Battle With House
The sweeping 84-8 vote came minutes after the Senate handily rejected the House's humanitarian assistance bill, signalling what will likely be a contentious battle to reconcile the competing bills.
NPR4 min read
'When We Were Arabs' Is A Nostalgic Celebration Of A Rich, Diverse Heritage
Author Massoud Hayoun has Moroccan, Egyptian and Tunisian heritage — and is also Jewish. He weaves in his family history with the politics that shaped their lives, including European oppression.