#WCW Helen Hunt Jackson
Novelist and poet, Helen wrote two books that brought attention to the treatment of Native Americans. Her 1881 book, “Century of Dishonor,” shone a light on the mistreatment of Native American’s by highlighting the betrayal of the U.S. Government in breaking treaties and detailed four massacres as an example of the genocide carried out against them. The public was outraged and horrified but not much was done. Jackson travelled to Southern California to learn about the Native Americans there. She wrote a fifty-six page report, asking for the government to address Native American issues but nothing came of it. In 1884, she wrote her second book, “Ramona”, a tale of a mixed race Irish/Native orphan girl raised in Mexican/Spanish colonial society and the discrimination that she faced. It was compared to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and was a national sensation. Places all over southern california are named “Ramona” and claimed to be her birthplace despite the fact that she was a fictional character. There have been five film adaptations (1910-1946), a radio broadcast of it (1945), a Mexican Telenovella (2000), and the Ramona Paegent (play) in Helmut, CA has been an annual event since 1923.