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Publisher's Summary

With the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Choctaw people began their journey over the Trail of Tears from their homelands in Mississippi to the new lands of the Choctaw Nation. Suffering a death rate of nearly 20 percent due to exposure, disease, mismanagement, and fraud, they limped into Indian Territory, or, as they knew it, the Land of the Dead (the route taken by the souls of Choctaw people after death on their way to the Choctaw afterlife). Their first few years in the new nation affirmed their name for the land, as hundreds more died from whooping cough, floods, starvation, cholera, and smallpox.
Living in the Land of Death depicts the story of Choctaw survival, and the evolution of the Choctaw people in their new environment. Culturally, over time, their adaptation was one of homesteads and agriculture, eventually making them self-sufficient in the rich new lands of Indian territory. Along the Red River and other major waterways, several Choctaw families of mixed heritage built plantations, and imported large crews of slave labor to work cotton fields. They developed a sub-economy based on interaction with the world market. However, the vast majority of Choctaws continued with their traditional subsistence economy that was easily adapted to their new environment.
The immigrant Choctaws did not, however, move into land that was vacant. The U.S. government, through many questionable and some outright corrupt extralegal maneuvers, chose to believe it had gained title through negotiations with some of the peoples whose homelands and hunting grounds formed Indian Territory. Many of these indigenous peoples reacted furiously to the incursion of the Choctaws onto their rightful lands. They threatened and attacked the Choctaws and other immigrant Indian Nations for years.
©2004 Donna L. Akers (P)2016 Redwood Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"With graceful writing, Akers beautifully seamlessly incorporates Choctaw language and worldview into her analysis and announces herself as an important new indigenous voice in historical scholarship." (Journal of Indigenous Nations Studies)
"Akers, a member of the Choctaw Nation, clearly posits that she is providing an "insider's" perspective and intends to show that Choctaw culture survived the juggernaut of assimiliation… She achieved her objective in a commendable fashion… a balanced and readable account." (Journal of the West)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jan on 05-25-16

A proud people more honest than the government

Apparent thesis documenting the beliefs and history of a people who populated the North American SouthEast until forced to leave by government bigots. I used to think that Jefferson was somewhat honorable, "All men are created equal" and all that. However, it seems that he was no better than any other crook, and ordered his agents to cheat these and other indigenous peoples out of their rightful properties. Already known is the revenge/hatred by Jackson of all indigenous people and the horrors that he forced upon them.
This study goes into the matriarchal society of the Choctaw, and how their belief system clashed with the bigoted society moving into and across North America, as well as the hostilities from the people who were effectively dispossessed by their banishment to an inhospitable land so alien to their homeland.
There is much information presented that is probably unfamiliar to most people who were not intimately affected by what happened to the Choctaw.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBOOM.
The narrator gave her presentation as if a lecture, and therefore spoke more slowly so as to enhance the listener's ease in notetaking.
Addendum: In 1847 during the Irish potato famine, the Choctaw Nation of Native Americans donated money to assist with famine relief. The Irish have just completed a monument of appreciation. “These people were still recovering from their own injustice. They put their hands in their pockets and raised $1m in today’s money. They helped strangers. It’s rare to see such generosity. It had to be acknowledged."

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By pixledust on 05-13-16

Very Dry History of the Choctaw

What did you like best about Living in the Land of Death? What did you like least?

I liked the origination story of the Choctaw people. I had never heard it. I find it intriguing that traveling for 43 years to a sacred forever home is part of their origination tale. It is unusual in that the actual origin is unknown or not considered important enough to pass down. There were many interesting details in this story. One comes to know them well because they are reiterated more than once. This detracts from the story.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Some aspects of the history are fascinating. The U.S. strategy of getting Choctaw leaders into debt and then trading debt forgiveness for land was new to me. The 53 minute introduction was a critique of other historical treatments of the Choctaw nation. While it is important material, it needed an editor. It could have been covered in half the time. This is the definition of extreme academic padding.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Sally Martin?

Not unless she was on crack. The narrator has a relaxed voice and gives an insipid delivery of a very repetitive book. The audio quality was good and she reads accurately, but the combination of the repetitive material and her calm, slightly monotonous voice kept putting me to sleep.

Was Living in the Land of Death worth the listening time?

Yes, it represents a little know area of history and some parts of it are very interesting.

Any additional comments?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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