Sophia Makinoff is positive Congressman Montgomery is going to propose to her today. He has arrived at the school where she teaches so she is hurrying to get downstairs to him as all of the students and other teachers are watching. Much to her disappointment, as she nears her destination, he is announcing his engagement to her roommate. She can't stay at school now to face the humiliation so she signs up with the board of Foreign Missions so she can serve in the Far East, like China. Sophia is in for another disappointment when she is assigned to the Ponca Indian Agency in Dakota Territory.
She finally reaches her assignment after a long, fearful trip and teams up with Reverend Henry Granville, his mother Nettie, James Lawrence the government agent and Will Dunn the carpenter. This is the team that is supposed to teach the Ponca Indians to be American. The government is supposed to by paying the Poncas for their land and supplying them with supplies and tools to build homes, plant crops, and educate them. The government is failing to do their part but the Poncas are learning, doing their part. They trust the government until so many promises fall through they are losing their faith in them but with the help of the team their faith in God is getting stronger.
Dakota Territory was not Sophia's choice but she is soon fighting for them. Sophia takes it upon herself to write letters to friends, the school she taught at and her old church for donations so the people will have shoes, socks, clothes and learning materials. She also writes the government letters telling them how they are failing the Poncas.
The letters did more harm than good, it seems she'll have to move on after falling in love with what she's doing and the people she came to help, without completely finishing her job. The whole team is moving on, thanks to the very grumpy Reverend, Sophia has a new job to go to, but her fight for the Poncas doesn't end there. You will have to read the book to get the real story, sad as it is, and how she continues to help them after leaving.
Catherine wrote a story that lets you know how badly the white people, our government, treated the Indians who they promised to pay for their land but fell down so badly on their part. You get a whole new outlook from this perspective. I'm not much of a history person, and I won't say this came as a shock to me, but it does make you stop and think how could anyone treat another human being the way our government treated them.
I enjoyed this book even more because it takes place in areas that I'm familiar with, the Black Hills was a favorite vacation spot of my step-dad's when I was younger. She talks about the Yankton, SD, Sioux City, IA and Omaha, NE as well as the newspapers from those areas, the same one's we have there today. I was raised there so it brought this closer to home for me.
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