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Native Women In History:

Mary Ulmer Chiltoskey and
Wahnenauhi (Lucy Lowery Hoyt Keys)


Mary Ulmer Chiltoskey, storyteller of "The Legend of the First Woman", is a widely known and respected storyteller who has lived with the Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina for 6 decades. In addition to Aunt Mary, A Tell Me Story, she is also the author of Cherokee Words With Pictures, co-author of Cherokee Plants: Their Uses - A 400 Year History, and publisher, with her husband Going Back Chiltoskey ( a renowned Cherokee wood-carver) of Cherokee Cooklore - To Make My Bread. She taught history and was a librarian in the Cherokee schools, and has been active in all phases of the Cherokee community. In 1989 she was named an honorary member of the Eastern Band for her many years of service to the Cherokee people.

Wahnenauhi, or Lucy Lowery Hoyt Keys, lived in Oklahoma during the 1800's. She was a member of what Cherokee author Jack Frederick Kilpatrick termed the "planter class of mixed bloods--wealthy, educated, and receptive to all the Victorian attitudes of the corresponding stratum in Southern White society." This was a time when Wahnenauhi's social class vigorously promoted Cherokee acculturation into white society, and most traditional culture went underground. In spite of this prevailing attitude among her peers, she wrote a manuscript on Cherokee history and customs that was published in 1889 in the Bureau of American Ethnology's 196th Report. James Mooney made extensive use of Wahnenauhi's manuscript in preparing Myths, History, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees, an important source of information on traditional Cherokee culture.


The Legend of the First Woman

Kanati and Selu - The Origin of Corn and Game

Selu - The First Woman

Native Women In History