Cherokee Thoughts, Honest and Uncensored

Written by Robert J. Conley
Review by Nan Curnutt

Novelist Robert J. Conley explores his own heritage in this nonfiction collection of essays about the Cherokee people, their history and culture. In fresh, entertaining prose, Conley discusses the lives of such famous Cherokees as Will Rogers, General Stand Watie and Nancy Ward. He gives his views on the Dawes Roll, the Trail of Tears, Cherokee-owned casinos and Oklahoma Sooners. He tells the story of Cherokee outlaws from both sides—the side of the Marshalls who are pursuing them and the side of the Cherokee people. He talks with insight about and the Civil War and revelation about Cherokee humor. (They are laughing more often than people know.) He reveals interesting information about slaves and freedmen in the Cherokee nation.

Conley’s writing style is informative and engaging. The book is well-researched, containing notes and an index for those who want to dig deeper. Besides offering an entertaining (but not chronological) history of the Cherokee people, Conley’s essays open the reader’s mind to Cherokee ways of thinking. This book is highly recommended reading, especially for lovers of Native American history.