© 2019

Indigenous Rhetoric and Survival in the Nineteenth Century

A Yurok Woman Speaks Out


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Elizabeth Schleber Lowry
    Pages 1-24
  3. Elizabeth Schleber Lowry
    Pages 25-39
  4. Elizabeth Schleber Lowry
    Pages 41-54
  5. Elizabeth Schleber Lowry
    Pages 55-68
  6. Elizabeth Schleber Lowry
    Pages 69-81
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 83-85

About this book


In 1916, Lucy Thompson, an indigenous woman from Northwestern California, published To the American Indian: Reminiscences of a Yurok Woman. The first book to be published by a member of the California Yurok tribe, it offers an autobiographical view of the intricacies of life in the tribe at the dawn of the twentieth century, as well as a powerful critique of the colonial agenda. Elizabeth Schleber Lowry presents a rhetorical analysis of this iconic text, investigating how Thompson aimed to appeal to diverse audiences and constructed arguments that still resonate today. Placing Thompson’s work in the context of nineteenth-century Native American rhetoric, Lowry argues that Thompson is a skillful rhetor who has much to teach us about our nation’s violent past and how it continues to shape our culture and politics. In To the American Indian, Thompson challenges negative stereotypes about indigenous cultures and contrasts widespread Euroamerican abuse of natural resources with Yurok practices that once effectively maintained the region’s ecological and social stability. As such, Thompson’s text functions not only as a memoir, but also as a guide to sustainable living.


Lucy Thompson To the American Indian Yurok Indians Native American history California history Native American women indigenous culture Yurok language and culture women's rhetoric indigenous rhetoric rhetorical studies ethnohistory Native American literature indigenous feminism environmental restoration autobiography Native American religion

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA

About the authors

Elizabeth Schleber Lowry is Senior Lecturer in Rhetoric and Composition at Arizona State University, USA. She is the author of Invisible Hosts: Performing the Nineteenth Century Spirit Medium’s Autobiography (2017), and The Seybert Report: Rhetoric, Rationale, and the Problem of Psi Research (Palgrave, 2017).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Indigenous Rhetoric and Survival in the Nineteenth Century
  • Book Subtitle A Yurok Woman Speaks Out
  • Authors Elizabeth Schleber Lowry
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-00258-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-13098-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-00259-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VII, 85
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics US History
    Imperialism and Colonialism
    Cultural History
    Women's Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Indigenous Rhetoric and Survival in the Nineteenth Century: A Yurok Woman Speaks Out is a noteworthy contribution to the field of rhetoric, with relevance to other fields as well. I appreciate how Lowry situates herself as a non-Native scholar and the effort she makes to underscore Thompson’s relevance and impact on contemporary Yurok life. Lowry’s book is highly accessible in terms of length and content and should be considered a companion text for anyone who reads Thompson.” (Olivia Chilcote, California History, Vol. 97 (3), 2020)