Yellow Bird's Song by Heather Miller


Happy Book Release Day to author Heather Miller. I'm thrilled to share her book, Yellow Bird's Song. Here are the details:

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published: 19 March 2024

Publisher: Historium Press

Page Count: 370

Available: ebook, paperback


In the realm of Cherokee history, this captivating family saga unfolds within the backdrop of American history, an intergenerational story that weaves a compelling lyrical tapestry of tribal sovereignty and the real-life experiences of historical figures.

This atmospheric story, at times resembling an alternative history, immerses readers in the annals of a tribal community as they grapple with the complexities of invigorating their culture and heritage. Rollin Ridge, a mercurial figure in this tribal tale, makes a fateful decision in 1850, leaving his family behind to escape the gallows after avenging his father and grandfather’s brutal assassinations. With sin and grief packed in his saddlebags, he and his brothers head west in pursuit of California gold, embarking on a journey marked by hardship and revelation. Through letters sent home, Rollin uncovers the unrelenting legacy of his father’s sins, an emotional odyssey that delves deep into Cherokee history.

The narrative’s frame transports readers to the years 1827-1835, where Rollin’s parents, Cherokee John Ridge and his white wife, Sarah, stumble upon a web of illicit slave running, horse theft, and whiskey dealings across Cherokee territory. Driven by a desire to end these inhumane crimes and defy the power pressures of Georgia and President Andrew Jackson, John takes a bold step to run for Principal Chief, challenging incumbent, Chief John Ross. The Ridges face a heart-wrenching decision: stand against discrimination, resist the forces motivated by land greed, and remain on the ancestral land or sign a treaty that would uproot their family beside a nation.  



In the many dawns that followed, I took great pains for numbness. Lit the candle mount on my hat with clay-stained hands. Followed my lantern underground, tracing lingering sulfur air singed from blasts of dynamite. I followed the stench willingly, hand braced against embedded veins of iron ore. Work too brutal for shale so brittle.

With pickaxe supine, I heaved the miner’s tool in relentless rhythm against ribs of bedrock. Amidst such brainless work, my memory sparked in flashes against the limestone and gneiss.

Tragedy struck.

I woke again that dawn, heard the banging of the door, the clank of the broken lock, the scuffle of men’s feet across the wooden floor. Overlapping cries, some in anger, some with fear. Papa’s “Wait.” Mama’s “No.” And in drops like the sweat down my back, the warriors steadily spit their threats. “Treaty,” they said. “Traitor,” they said. “Trail,” they said. “Tears.”

Man against nature, in tedious monotony, I rose, hands sliding to grip, overlapping, and thwack. Axe teetering at the fulcrum point then, the collapse. First, a chink, then, the fall of sharp severs that buried my boots. Rocks rang as I bellowed, “Let him go. Leave him be.” No one heard me then; no one heard me now.

I threw my axe underfoot and grabbed the drill rod and hammer. Shadows and sunlight. Men against man, the war party carried him outside. Mama’s hands held me behind her. Mask and kerchief kept her from him.

Beat and turn. Arms pound and burn. They stabbed. Twenty-seven. Twenty-eight. The arrowhead on the bowie knife. Twenty-nine. They stole his breath, walked single file across his body. Mama in blood-soaked white. Papa raised himself to speak. Air escaped. No words.

See more about Heather's new release here: Yellow Bird's Song.


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