• Publication Date: March 28, 2008
  • ISBN: 9781551117201 / 1551117207
  • 450 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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  • Publication Date: March 28, 2008
  • ISBN: 9781551117201 / 1551117207
  • 450 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Banner reading Teaching the survey? Learn more about The Broadview Anthology of American Literature, with covers of the available volumes

Ramona has often been compared to Uncle Tom’s Cabin for its influence on American social policy, and this is the only edition available that presents this important novel in its full historical context. A huge popular and critical success when it was first published in 1884, Ramona is set among the California Spanish missions and tells the story of the young mixed-blood heroine, Ramona, and her Native American lover Alessandro, as they flee from the brutal violence of white settlers.

This Broadview edition re-examines the novel’s legacy by placing it alongside public speeches, letters, and newspaper articles that promoted what was ultimately a damaging campaign by reformers to “assimilate” Native American peoples. Selections from Jackson’s non-fiction writings call into question the link between assimilationist policies and the story told in Ramona; also included are the writings and testimonies of some of Jackson’s Native American contemporaries, as well as a selection of travel essays and images that helped to create “the Ramona myth.”


“Siobhan Senier’s invaluable new edition effectively situates Ramona in its cultural, political, and historical contexts. The appendices assemble a riveting collection of documents, including texts on public opinion surrounding allotment and on women’s roles in Indian reform. Particularly valuable, the section on contemporary Native American voices restores historically silenced perspectives on the allotment and assimilation debates. The lucid, thoughtful introduction and the group of images related to the novel further enhance our ability to appreciate Jackson’s classic novel. Absorbing and challenging, Senier’s edition sets the standard.” — Karen L. Kilcup, University of North Carolina

“In this new edition, Siobhan Senier insightfully reads Ramona in its many modes: a vehicle to advocate for Indian rights; a reinscription, however strategic, of the most common stereotypes of Native peoples; a record of one activist who was wholly consumed with ‘the Indian question’; and a ‘sugar-coated’ narrative of the Mission era in Alta California. Senier deftly sets the stage for readers to grasp the myriad voices echoing in Ramona through her appendices of contemporary works by tribal and non-tribal authors of the time, reflecting current trends in Native American literary studies that seek to engage indigenous perspectives. With these materials in hand, readers are better poised than ever to comprehend the complexity and longevity of the legend of Ramona.” — Penelope Kelsey, Western Illinois University

“Siobhan Senier’s edition of Ramona finally gives this important American novel the critical attention that it deserves. Not only does Senier’s graceful introduction situate Ramona in relation to Jackson’s own activism on behalf of American Indian peoples and to the contentious historical climate of the late nineteenth-century, the included appendices provide ample context for multiple understandings of the novel and its historical moment. I could as easily teach this edition of Ramona in an American Indian rhetoric studies course as well as in a literature course. I am particularly impressed by how this serious scholarly contextualization works in relation to Senier’s equally serious consideration of the ‘Ramona myth’ and how that myth plays out in contemporary Californian culture.” — Malea Powell, Michigan State University

Foreward (by Phil Brigandi)
Helen Hunt Jackson: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text


Appendix A: Public Opinion on Allotment and Assimilation

  1. From Massachusetts Senator Henry L. Dawes, “Solving the Indian Problem” (1883)
  2. From Richard Henry Pratt, “The Advantages of Mingling Indians with Whites” (1892)
  3. From United States Congress, Committee on Indian Affairs, Minority Report on Land in Severalty Bill
  4. “In the Way,” New York Times (24 December 1879)
  5. “The Indian Severalty Law,” New York Times (27 May 1887)

Appendix B: Selected Indian Non-Fiction by Helen Hunt Jackson

  1. Letter to the Editor, New York Tribune (23 December 1879)
  2. Letter to the Editor, New York Tribune (26 December 1879)
  3. Letter to the Editor, New York Tribune (31 January 1879)
  4. From the Report on the Condition and Needs of the Mission Indians of California (1883)

Appendix C: Women in Indian Reform

  1. Alice Cunningham Fletcher, letter to Harriet Hawley (6 January 1884)
  2. From The Women’s National Indian Association, Sunshine Work (1894)
  3. From Anna R. Dawson (Arikara), Report from the Fort Berthold Reservation (1900)

Appendix D: Contemporary Native American Voices

  1. From Thomas Wildcat Alford, Civilization and the Story of the Absentee Shawnees (1936)
  2. Francis LaFlesche (Omaha), “An Indian Allotment” (1900)
  3. From Suzette LaFlesche (Omaha), Preface to William Justin Harsha, Ploughed Under (1881)
  4. From S. Alice Callahan (Muscogee), Wynema: A Child of the Forest (1891)
  5. Pleasant Porter (Muscogee), “What Is Best for the Indian” (1902)
  6. From Zitkala-Sa (Dakota), “Lost Treaties of the California Indians” (1922)
  7. From Alfred C. Gillis (Wintun), “The California Indians” (1924)
  8. Lone Wolf (Kiowa) et al.,Testimony before the Jerome Commission (1899)

Appendix E: Contemporary Reviews of and Responses to Ramona

  1. From The Los Angeles Times (13 January 1885)
  2. From The Nation (29 January 1885)
  3. From Elaine Goodale, The Southern Workman (February 1885)
  4. From Elizabeth B. Custer, The Boston Evening Transcript (14 May 1887)
  5. José Martí, “‘Ramona’ de Helen Hunt Jackson” (1887)
  6. From George Wharton James, Through Ramona’s Country (1909)

Appendix F: A Portfolio of Ramona Cultural Images

  1. Map of Ramona’s Homeland
  2. Rancho Camulos, South Veranda
  3. The Altar at Rancho Camulos
  4. Mission San Luis Rey (1910)
  5. Mission Capistrano (1915)
  6. Henry Sandham, illustration of Ramona
  7. Henry Sandham, illustration of Alessandro’s Murder
  8. Ramona Lubo at her Husband’s Grave
  9. Ramona Lubo at George Wharton James’s Graphophone
  10. 1908 Meeting of the Mission Indian Conference
  11. Ramona’s Marriage Place (1920s)
  12. The Ramona Pageant (c. 1930)

Works Cited and Recommended Reading

Siobhan Senier is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire.