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Blue Star

Blue Star

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The Story of Corabelle Fellows, Teacher at Dakota Missions, 1884-1888

Author Kunigunde Duncan

Minnesota Historical Society Press (February 15, 1990)

A volume of reminiscences that portrays Dakota life as observed by a non-Indian teacher who lived among them.


In 1884, young Corabelle Fellows, well-educated and gently bred, overcame her parents' objections and left her upper-class home in Washington D.C. to become a church-sponsored teacher among the Indian people of Dakota Territory. For the next several years, she taught English, art, and domestic science on Rosebud, Pine Ridge, and Cheyenne River reservations. In return for her friendship, the students affectionately gave her the name Blue Star. A keen observer, especially of Indian Women's and Children's lives, she learned much about their family traditions. Her teaching career ended in 1888 when she married Samuel Campbell, A Dakota mixed-blood.

Fifty years later, Corabelle recalled her experiences in Dakota land for Kunigunde Duncan, who turned them into this book, first published in 1938. Her story, with its personal perspective on the Indians struggles to keep their religion, lands, language, and way of life, will both intrigue and enthrall readers.

A new Introduction by Bruce D. Forbes, professor of religious studies at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, highlights the inevitable dichotomy between the openess Corabelle Fellowes expressed toward the Indians and her failure to understand the negative impact of the federal government's assimilation policy.

Reviews and news

"Her story, as she looks back on her life, is interesting and unusal, and it is told simply but with brightness and zest. . . . The whole book has character."
New York Times

  • 250 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.25 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873512459

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