Cherokee Identity In Lucie's Faces In The Moon

1336 Words 6 Pages
Faces in the Moon is a narrative about Cherokee women in the 1950s. It tells the story of Lucie, a mixed blood Cherokee, who returns to her home in Oklahoma as an adult. Having escaped her life of poverty through education, something that the women in her family did not have access to, Lucie is confronted with memories of her impoverished childhood upon her return to her mother’s home. Through Lucie’s flashbacks, we learn about her struggle to come to terms her Cherokee heritage as a child.
For Lucie, coming home means that she is confronted with the sufferings that she has worked hard to escape and forget. Oklahoma represents Lucie’s connection to her Cherokee heritage and to her family. When she left Oklahoma, she left behind her old lifestyle
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Lucie was confused about her identity as a child. Although Lucie’s mother raised her with a proud faith in their Cherokee heritage. She tried to maintain their Cherokee heritage and keep their family history alive through storytelling. “I was raised on the voices of women” (Bell 4), began the novel. From this statement, we know that stories are an integral part of Lucie’s life, both past and present. Storytelling is an important part of Cherokee tradition, so as a little girl, Lucie tried to relate to her native heritage by aptly listening to the stories that her mother and aunt told, but she “knew no Indian princesses, no buckskin, no feathers, no tomahawks” (Bell 58). As an adult, Lucie grew to become ashamed of her Indian identity and tried to break free of the past to find her own narrative, but she found herself at “[her] position on the table” listening to the voices of her mother and aunt telling stories (Bell, 5). It appears that Gracie also struggled with her identity. She balked at uppity Indians and preferred a non-Native appearance. She chose “high heels over moccasins” and “blue eyes over black eyes” (Bell, 58-59). Nonetheless, she embraced the Cherokee tradition of storytelling, telling her daughter their family’s stories again and …show more content…
I knew that storytelling was an important part of the Cherokee culture, but the way Bell presents it in the novel shows me that it is an important connection between the past and the present. Storytelling is a way for Cherokees to keep their family’s history alive. The novel also cleared some of my misconceptions about Oklahoma and history. In the past, I thought that because Oklahoma was the Indian Territory, there was a strong presence of Native American cultures and heritages. However, the characters’ struggle to maintain their Cherokee identity changed my outlook. From a little girl who was eager to learn about the Indian ancestry to an adult woman who rejected her Cherokee heritage, it was apparent that Lucie’s identity crisis greatly affected her attitude towards her heritage. This makes me question if there were a great number of Native Americans who felt like Lucie during the mid-1900s, ashamed of their Indian heritage. In conclusion, Faces in the Moon details the struggles of Native Americans in the mid-1900s through the story of a mixed blood Cherokee. Weaving together the past and present, the novel illustrates the lives of three generations of Cherokee women and how they overcame their struggles and came to terms with their heritage during a time of change. Bell meritoriously uses their stories to reveal stirring truths a vanishing Cherokee culture about and to convey

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