“Gathering Around a New Fire: The Bemo Family, Interracial Marriage, Race, and Power in the Mvskoke Nation, 1870-1897” explores from an Indigenous and gendered perspective the lived experiences of the interracial Bemo family in the Mvskoke Nation located in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). The marriage of Douglas Bemo, a Mvskoke/Semvnole student at Tullahassee Mission, to Katie Edwards, his white teacher, is the primary focus of this dissertation. My research seeks to restore Indigenous cultural agency to the complex Bemo family history. I merge Katie’s myopic narrative, federal Indian policy documents, missionary records, and nineteenth-century newspapers with Mvskoke/Semvnole oral histories, tribal documents, and ethnohistorical sources to produce a more nuanced portrait of interracial family life in nineteenth-century America. I contend that studying interracial families, like the Bemos, is essential to understanding the socio-cultural dynamics at work in the American West and demonstrates how gender, power, and race became intertwined.
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Dr. Durwood Ball
Second Committee Member
Dr. Margaret Connell-Szasz
Third Committee Member
Dr. Robert Franklin Jefferson, Jr.
Fourth Committee Member
Dr. Angela Pulley Hudson
Race, Marriage, Interracial Marriage, Indigenous History, American West, Muscogee Nation
Martin, Michelle M.. "Gathering Around a New Fire: The Bemo Family, Interracial Marriage, Race, and Power in the Mvskoke Nation, 1870-1897." (2022). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hist_etds/300
Available for download on Tuesday, May 14, 2024