Nancy Raven

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Nancy Raven (also Nancy Taylor) (December 25, 1872 – March 25, 1957)[1] was a Natchez storyteller of Braggs, Oklahoma and one of the last two native speakers of the Natchez language.[2]

Her father was Cherokee and her mother Natchez, and she learned Natchez at home. She never learned English, but was trilingual in Natchez, Cherokee and Creek.[3]

In 1907 she worked a little with anthropologist John R. Swanton who collected information about Natchez religion, and in the 1930s she worked extensively with linguist Mary Haas who collected grammatical information and texts using an interpreter. Among the stories she told Mary Haas was one called "The Woman Who was a Fox".[3] Sometimes she used the surname Taylor, which she had taken from her second husband.[3]

She married four times; she had one son Adam Levi from her first marriage, with her second husband Will Taylor she received land allotments from the Dawes Commission in 1907. She was soon widowed, then married a man named Waters, and by 1920 was again widowed and married Albert Raven about whom little is known. In the 1930s she appears to have been once again widowed. In 1930 she sold her land allotment.[3] She was the biological cousin of the other last speaker of Natchez, Watt Sam, who in Natchez kinship terminology was her classificatory nephew.[4][5] Among the Natchez, the language was generally passed down matrilineally, but at her death Nancy Raven had no surviving children, her only son Adam Levi having died from tuberculosis at age 20 in 1915.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nancy Raven". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  2. ^ a b Kimball, Geoffry (2005). "Natchez". In Janine Scancarelli; Heather Kay Hardy. Native Languages of the Southeastern United States. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 385–453. ISBN 978-0803242357. 
  3. ^ a b c d Kimball, G. (2013). "The Woman Who Was a Fox: The Structure of a Natchez Oral Narrative". International Journal of American Linguistics. 79 (3): 421–437. JSTOR 670925. doi:10.1086/670925. 
  4. ^ Galloway, Patricia Kay; Jason Baird Jackson (2004), "Natchez and Neighboring Groups", in Raymond D. Fogelson, Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 14: Southeast, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, pp. 598–615, ISBN 978-0160723001 
  5. ^ Martin, Jack B. (2004), "Languages", in Raymond D. Fogelson, Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 14: Southeast, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, pp. 68–86 

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