SCARLET FEATHER

1945

‘I think that of all the lives I can remember, the most concise and effective instructions for living I have learned was when I was a pre-historic North American Indian: they believed that only one question needs to be answered before you could enter their Heaven…

‘How many people are happier because you were born?’
– Joan Grant from Speaking from the Heart

Piyanah, the heroine of Scarlet Feather, is a member of a Native American tribe that has betrayed its noble heritage. Her clairvoyant mother refuses to accept the brutality of the tribe’s laws and the segregation of men from women, so Piyanah and her male cousin Raki grow up as outsiders. When she learns that her father is Chief Na-ka-check, Piyanah chooses to defy the rules and train as a Brave, overcoming daunting physical and spiritual challenges. Meanwhile Raki learns from the squaws, gaining female knowledge and empathy.

An exciting and unusual love story, Scarlet Feather is a clarion call for the emancipation of the sexes: ‘the motive behind the book was one I felt very deeply: ‘What experience do I have which best demonstrates a sound relationship between men and women?’ – Joan Grant, Speaking from the Heart.

‘This remarkable novel is a triumph of imagination.’
– Daily Telegraph