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Angela Pulley Hudson And "Real Native Genius" On Tuesday's Access Utah

The University of North Carolina Press

In the mid-1840s, Warner McCary, an ex-slave from Mississippi, claimed a new identity for himself, traveling around the nation as Choctaw performer "Okah Tubbee". He soon married Lucy Stanton, a divorced white Mormon woman from New York, who likewise claimed to be an Indian and used the name "Laah Ceil". Together, they embarked on an astounding, sometimes scandalous journey across the United States and Canada, performing as American Indians

for sectarian worshippers, theater audiences, and patent medicine seekers. Along the way, they used widespread notions of "Indianness" to disguise their backgrounds, justify their marriage, and make a living. In doing so, they reflected and shaped popular ideas about what it meant to be an American Indian in the mid-nineteenth century.

Weaving together histories of slavery, Mormonism, popular culture, and American medicine, Angela Pulley Hudson, Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M University, recounts this fascinating tale of ingenuity, imposture, and identity in her book "Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians."  

While illuminating the complex relationship between race, religion, and gender in nineteenth-century North America, Hudson reveals how the idea of the "Indian" influenced many of the era's social movements. Through the remarkable lives of Tubbee and Ceil, Hudson uncovers both the complex and fluid nature of antebellum identities and the place of "Indianness" at the very heart of American culture.

Winner of a 2016 Evans Biography Award from the USU Mountain West Center for Regional Studies.

Angela Pulley Hudson is the author of Real Native Genius: How an Ex-slave and a White Mormon became Famous Indians (UNC Press, 2015) and Creek Paths and Federal Roads: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves and the Making of the American South (2010). She is an associate professor of History at Texas A&M University, where she joined the faculty after receiving her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 2007. She has received numerous fellowships and grants for her research in American Indian history, the cultural history of the U.S. South, and the intersection of African American and American Indian experiences. She lives in College Station, Texas with her family.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.