Your Montana Public Radio
Wed January 8, 2014
Massacre and a Generation-Spanning History of Native-White Intermarriage
Andrew R. Graybill talks about and reads from The Red and The White: A Family Saga of the American West, in which he writes about Malcolm Clarke and the Blackfoot Nation of Montana.
About the book:
One of the American West’s bloodiest—and least-known—massacres is searingly re-created in this generation-spanning history of native-white intermarriage, The Red and The White: A Family Saga of the American West.
National Book Award–winning histories such as The Hemingses of Monticello and Slaves in the Family have raised our awareness about America’s intimately mixed black and white past. Award-winning western historian Andrew R. Graybill now sheds light on the overlooked interracial Native-white relationships critical in the development of the trans-Mississippi West in this multigenerational saga. Beginning in 1844 with the marriage of Montana fur trader Malcolm Clarke and his Piegan Blackfeet bride, Coth-co-co-na, Graybill traces the family from the mid-nineteenth century, when such mixed marriages proliferated, to the first half of the twentieth, when Clarke ’s children and grandchildren often encountered virulent prejudice. At the center of Graybill’s history is the virtually unexamined 1870 Marias Massacre, on a par with the more infamous slaughters at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, an episode set in motion by the murder of Malcolm Clarke and in which Clarke ’s two sons rode with the Second U.S. Cavalry to kill their own blood relatives.
Andrew R. Graybill is an associate professor of history and director of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
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