In early 1891, S. Alice Callahan’s Wynema, a Child of the Forest appeared from the press of H. J. Smith and Co. of Chicago. While its exact moment of publication remains unknown, the novel contains a publisher’s preface dated April 1, 1891, soon after the massacre at Wounded Knee in December 1890.1 According to Callahan’s father, the novel “had a great run for a year or so, after it was placed on the market,”2 but sales declined. Though Carolyn Thomas Foreman acknowledged in a short article in 1955 that “it was a great surprise to discover” Wynema, as it had “escaped all Oklahoma bibliographers,”3 the novel was virtually lost to scholarship until A. LaVonne Ruoff edited it for publication in 1997.4 Though scholars have discussed a number of issues related to the text,5 there is general agreement that Wynema is the “first novel written in Oklahoma”6 and the “first known novel written by an American Indian woman.”7

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