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Olive Oatman Center of 2014 One Book Yuma


Yuma adopted the One Community One Read program entitled One Book Yuma in the early 2000s.  Sarah Wisdom from the Yuma County Library District says it started slowly at first, but now she estimates thousands of Yumans are reading the same book each year.

This year's selection is The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman by Margot Mifflin.  The author will be in Yuma at One Book Yuma events around the city on February 12th.

If you’re traveling along Historic Route 66 headed west, one of the last towns in Arizona you’ll find yourself in is the old mining town of Oatman.  Its said to be named for a woman named Olive Oatman who at 14, while traveling west with her Mormon missionary family in the 1850s, was taken captive by Indians in an attack on her family’s wagon train.  Years later she was ransomed back to the U.S. Army, her face tattooed in blue ink, and in the years after her return she became something of a celebrity as she traveled and lectured about her years of captivity at the hands of brutal natives.

This year’s One Book Yuma, The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman, by author Margot Mifflin, suggests Olive Oatman lived the majority of her years with Native Americans as an adopted tribe member.  Mifflin says Oatman was a slave with the Yavapai Indians for a year after her capture.  But they traded her to the Mohave Indians, and Mifflin says Oatman lived as an accepted member of the Mohave tribe until she was 19, and that she was reluctantly returned to her white family.

This piece was featured in the January 8th Arizona Edition.  Other pieces featured in the show can be found below in the related content section.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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