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"cherokee trilogy" synopses

"Cherokee Rock" Synopsis

     In 1779, ten-year-old Enoli alienates his mother’s medicine man, Mohi, as she dies from smallpox infected by mythic Kosvkvskini (Evil Ones.) The boy aligns with a mentor squirrel who speaks of Son of Stone Cloud, the tribal authority on the disease. The youngster sickens and near death, a giant eagle dispatched by the Great Spirit, saves the patient. Colonial militia destroys his home, but a youthful soldier spares his life. An avenging warrior, Dragging Canoe, recruits Mohi to treat the pox, and vengeance burns the youth’s savior. Son of Stone Cloud mercy-shoots the victim. The famous shaman befriends Enoli, discovers his gift of animal talk, and invites him to apprentice at Cherokee Rock. His father’s ghost urges acceptance. Five years of study, coached by his furry pet, culminates with a first trophy feather. The American Revolution ends, and conflict intrudes. Mohi solicits students to resist white expansion. Their mission transitions to protection of Old Tassle, a peacemaker who negotiates the Treaty of Dumpling Creek. Mohi murders a settler against orders from John Watts, the old man’s nephew and leader of the security squad. Benjamin Waters, a freedman, earns blood brother status and becomes Enoli’s lifelong friend. Colonials betray and murder Old Tassle, whose demise inspires the inexperienced man to pledge his life’s work to peace and good health for his people.


     War continues and Son of Stone Cloud falls wounded. He transfers his shaman mantle to Enoli along with a symbolic name, Dideyohvsgi (Teacher.) While their warriors ally with Spain, rising young leaders Watts and James Vann abhor Dragging Canoe’s slaughter of women and children and their forces split. Mohi shoots Squirrel and cuts off its distinctive tail. Repulsed, they retreat. In camp, Mohi brings settler appeasement offering blankets contaminated with disease. As Watts negotiates the Treaty of Hopewell, Dideyohvsgi discovers the sabotage and begins variolation. Son of Stone cloud asks to return to Cherokee Rock and declares the agreement “talking leaves.” Enoli and Ben assist, but he dies before arrival. At the outcrop, the blood brothers resist Kosvkvskini, who sense weakness after the death. Dideyohvsgi returns to variolate an epidemic at Ustanali where Ben rekindles Walela’s affection. The Cherokee assault Gillispie’s Station and defeat costs Watts’ election as most beloved leader. Dideyohvsgi stumbles upon cow pox’s similarity to smallpox and experiments with more efficient prevention. Meanwhile, Dragging Canoe’s raids provoke the State of Georgia and Governor Blount, who solicits truce. Tasked with Blount’s protection, Dideyohvsgi and Ben discover a Mohi/Blount plot to betray the tribe. Mohi hoists Squirrel’s tail as a victory symbol, and Dideyohvsgi attempts to shoot the traitor. Ben prevents the murder. The militia falls to Dragging Canoe and the friends witness the victor eating prisoners. The pox pandemic concerns leadership and Dideyohvsgi promotes udder puss variolations. Watts sends him to the national council early to treat attendees, but they refuse because of Mohi’s and Dragging Canoe’s lies and propaganda. Talks with Blount, who uses Mohi to contact Spain, continue as a truce conference convenes at Whites Fort. It concludes with the Treaty of Holston. During their return to Walela, the blood brothers confront black horse spirit warriors who warn of assimilation. Angered by the inequalities of the compact, Watts aligns with the Spanish and defeats a white army at the Battle of the Wabash and Dragging Canoe dies of a stroke celebrating. Governor James Robertson and Seiver send a battalion to dominate at the Battle of Hightower, followed by destruction of many Indian villages. The defeated sign the Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse and the uprising ends after Mad Anthony Wayne’s dominance of northern resistance at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Relative calm follows and Dideyohvsgi attempts to recover at Cherokee Rock. Raven Mockers hover above and wait to devour the hearts of a vanquished nation. In desperation, Dideyohvsgi enlists wildlife to fight, but they refuse. Rejected, Dideyohvsgi resolves to lead his people and win the peace.


     Ten years of recovery at Cherokee Rock rebuilds the shaman’s faith. Visited by a specter of Son of Stone Cloud, who teaches a ghost dance with its symbology, Dideyohvsgi begins a fundamentalist return to tradition religious movement. He consults with James Vann, who recommends contact with Tecumseh, who preaches the same in the north. Dideyohvsgi visits Ben and Walela, who cannot assist but promise to raise future children in the Cherokee manner. Dideyohvsgi returns to the rock and recruits two black wolves to attract his people’s attention. They entice followers to a revival under Cherokee Rock where Selu, the Goddess of Corn, promises all non-believers will die from a hailstorm. The storm does not appear, the animals rebel. Dideyohvsgi loses his disciples. Recalling Vann’s advice, he travels to Tecumseh and passes the mantle to the man’s brother. They gather thousands at Prophetstown who threaten William Henry Harrison into attacks. Dideyohvsgi saves Sulu’s wampum belt and a young slave child, who he takes to Ben and Walela. Mohi, now a corrupt property agent, attempts to gain Ben’s farm. Dideyohvsgi listens to John Ross and agrees to run for the national council. In court, Mohi fails his land grab and, enraged, dies of a stroke. The next day, he resurrects through drug deception and uses his rebirth to recruit others to merge with whites. Dideyohvsgi, in a final revelation on Cherokee Rock, confronts Mohi. The Great Spirit intervenes, “the people must be free to choose their own way,” and charges the good wolf to care take Cherokee Rock. In the confrontation, the malignant medicine man falls to his death. Raven Mockers eat his essence. Dideyohvsgi returns to Ben and Walela with peace in his soul. The shaman welcomes his and the people’s future released from personal responsibility.

"Cherokee Rose" Synopsis

     In 1838, a once proud and powerful tribe culturally disintegrates and transitions to the white man’s ways. Challenged by these turbulent times, Ella Waters (18), the daughter of a Freedman and a Cherokee in Georgia, with her slave and childhood friend Ezra (27), witness her parents’ murder, unseen by its hired assassin warrior, Tesali (29). The rational, idealistic young woman assumes family leadership and adopts her native heritage as she probates her estate in progressive Bennett Steel’s court, which frees her slaves. Collected by order of General Winfield Scott for deportation to Oklahoma Territory, the matriarch, her sisters Bella (16) and Lisa (14) unite in a holding camp under horrific, inhumane treatment and conditions with her father’s old friend and shaman, Dideyohvsgi (62.) For the self-defensive murder of a tormentor, State militia collectors managed by Profiteer Hiram Colly, direct her parent’s executioner to bullwhip her beloved Bella until dead. Transferred to U.S. Army control without Ezra, now free and mentored by the Judge who plans relocation to the territory over a water route, Ella vows to discover and establish a new life and home. 


     Included in the first detachment bound for Indian Territory led by her father’s and sister’s murderer/executioner turned scout and the white profiteer, she suffers starvation, pestilence, bigotry, and prejudice during the forced removal. River crossings by ferry drown many and almost include her clan, but Tesali, the scout, prevents that catastrophe. On the frigid northern route to Oklahoma during a record harsh winter, her parent’s murderer also prevents Ella’s abduction by white slavers who mistake her for prime product. A lengthy encampment on the bank of the ice-bound Mississippi challenges their food supply and Ella’s self-confidence. She nears an emotional break and sinks into alcoholism. In a drunken haze, she self-challenges her culture and religious beliefs as she searches her soul for integrity and direction. Occasional encounters with whites show people are not equal. Ella discovers that cruelty and hatred combine in the white culture with compassion and empathy. A freak accident rescues Ella and her clan. It removes them from the icy trails and provides a life-saving Conestoga for their protection. The wagon incident, mid-trip, discloses Ella Waters to Tesali as the daughter of the freedman he murdered. After that moment, wrenching fear complicates Ella’s intense search for identity. Unsatisfied, the morally heroic woman empathizes with her personal and her people’s pitiful plight. She establishes a healing wagon alternative to the Army’s primitive white man’s medicine and earns the moniker “Cherokee Rose” from her grateful fellow deportees. Her new status earns Ella and Lisa a warm welcome at a tavern near their destination. Its owner hosts Lisa for a taste of normality, only to give Ella and her sister a reality check when their fellow starving Indians eat the garbage left from the celebration. Arrival in the Territory offers hope, provisions, and reunification with Ezra who now studies law and clerks for Judge Steel’s court in Fort Smith. The fledging attorney travels to Ella’s land allotment and helps his old friends build their homestead. With the help of her clan and a runaway slave, Ella plants a corn crop and creates a fresh life. A dark storm cloud of locusts descends and devours her farm, and Tesali slave-captures and returns her worker. Devastated by her crop’s destruction and the retaliation execution of her abducted friend, Ella resigns her heritage and leads her family to jump their reservation. 


     During the escape, the greatest wise father in the tribe, Sequoyah, counsels and advises Ella that her people and the whites confront separate civil wars, and he encourages them to seek a secure life in their ancestral homeland. They attempt a riverboat return, but Colly, now a law enforcement officer, captures and returns the territorial escapees to custody in a Fort Smith internment camp. Judge Steel and his inexperienced attorney protégé, Ezra, press the first Habeas Corpus action on behalf of an Indian. Tesali, imprisoned for political murder, escapes confinement and Marshal Colly attempts capture. Ella settles their standoff, which proves the profiteer sponsored her father’s killing. With disjointed misgivings, she witnesses Tesali’s hanging and his mystical flight to the Upper World. The following contentious Waters trial explores nineteen-century native mores, questions tribal conversion to the white man’s spirituality and sets national precedents for Cherokee rights. Ella wins her case and celebrates freedom from government oppression as hostile whites socially attack and nationwide newspapers exalt her victory. Liberated, Ella the Cherokee vows a return to her ancestral home as her Freedman’s half faces an uncertain future.

"Cherokee Reel" Synopsis

     Lisa Waters, a half native American married to a freedman attorney, becomes the social queen of Fort Smith. She forms a lifelong friendship with the wife of John Ross, the Cherokee political giant but alienates the opposition, Treaty Party leader Standhope Watie. Her famous Trail of Tears sister’s cruel murder exposes simmering public tension that forces a move to Tallequah, her mother’s ancestral home. Business and commercial growth propels the family’s prosperity but prompts an identity struggle. Influenced by Ezra, her husband; Moss, a fiddler ex-slave activist; and Mary Stapler, the nation’s first lady, she organizes a freedom railroad and founds a women’s rights movement. Unrest disrupts these efforts and thrusts her confused personality into the civil war as a US army nurse. She loses a beloved spouse and sense of reality at the Battle of Pea Ridge, then adopts a grief driven quest for blood lust vengeance.


     The freedman musician rescues the widow and flees the conflict to a secluded valley sustained by a Union affiliated indigenous minority. Pin guerrilla fighters gather to resist Stan Watie’s First Cherokee Mounted Rifles. Social strife consumes and divides native Americans, but Lisa’s motherhood instinct adopts an orphan, James, and his sisters. The grieving woman’s hatred of her husband’s killers motivates vicious attacks against Confederates and earns a title, the Judaculla, after a mythic warrior. She assumes leadership of the unit but loses the fiddling savior, captured and imprisoned at the infamous Fort Davis Detention Camp. She begins an aggressive campaign against General Watie and his nephew, Elias Boudinet. The rebels capture her surrogate son, and the Pins imprison the General’s kin. A prisoner exchange negotiation confirms the general murdered her sister years earlier.


     Stimulated by the revelation, Lisa and her fighters join Federal troops at the Battle of Honey Creek, where Confederate military domination ceases. That success does not stop Watie. He burns the capital at Tallequah, the Park Hill Ross estate and captures the President. Appomattox ends official conflict, but General Watie refuses armistice. She releases her devotees and returns to the valley. Without Yankee help, massive indigenous rebel support creates masked night riders and battles Reconstruction. Northern sympathizers suffer from victory, including veterans living in Lisa’s basin. Winter’s starvation forces the head to abandon her wards and hunt for food with James. She fails and succumbs to disease, which delays a return. Arriving in the Spring, the leader discovers a devastated graveyard with a few survivors alive, nourished by cannibalism. Losing her followers and adopted daughters destroys the woman’s soul and sends her on a desperate search for redemption.


     Lisa obsesses on the education and care of Cherokee children along with the released but destroyed prisoner, Moss. James devotes himself to a girl disturbed by eating her relative’s flesh. A Union army group returns to the recovering encampment with financing for a field hospital. The Waters matriarch sees harnessing steam to manufacture railroad ties and coal leases in Choctaw territory as a profitable opportunity to service an expanding rail network. Enterprise stimulates the native American economy. Political stress against Reconstruction destroys the business and her relationship with her son. She retires to her defunct wood mill and her home. A deranged impoverished Stanhope Watie attacks his old enemy with imaginary troops and kills Moss, her last defender. She captures the General and returns her foe to hang before his family. As the noose tightens, she questions her similarity to his evil and cuts him free. She retreats and asks her son’s forgiveness. Their indigenous culture and the two as family welcome the turn of a new century.

Cherokee Trilogy Historical Fiction National Book Launch

Tahlequah, Oklahoma, October 1, 2023 – TSALAGI Books is thrilled to announce the highly-anticipated launch of Cherokee Trilogy: Cherokee Rock, Cherokee Rose, and Cherokee Reel authored by James A. Humphrey. The books unfold a riveting multigenerational story of human suffering and triumph inspired by the author’s grandmother. This remarkable third-person, present-tense series captivates readers, stimulates their intellect, and inspires profound personal growth.


The Cherokee Trilogy explores the tenacity of the Cherokee people from 1779 through post-Civil War reconstruction. With compelling prose and insightful wisdom, Cherokee citizen James A. Humphrey guides readers on an extraordinary journey into the depths of human understanding and unveils the real people’s tenacious mastery of their history and future.


Key highlights of the Cherokee Trilogy include:


1.  Insightful Wisdom: Drawing upon extensive research and creative historical character reconstruction, these stories offer unique insights and perspectives that challenge conventional thinking.

2.  Practical Guidance: The Cherokee Trilogy walks the reader through history; it also offers a masterful understanding of the real-life consequences of famous people’s chosen paths applicable to life today.

3.  Inspiration and Motivation: Through historical anecdotes and inspirational stories, these books encourage readers to pursue their dreams and aspirations with unwavering determination.

4.  Wide Applicability: Whether you're an entrepreneur envying business mastery, a student striving for academic excellence, or someone simply looking to enhance personal growth, Cherokee Trilogy has content and inspiration for everyone.


Author James A. Humphrey is also a renowned oil and watercolor painter, plus a short film producer/director and a Texas film studio owner with two children and four grandchildren. His passion for Cherokee history and culture shines through every page of these books, making them an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to elevate their knowledge and understanding of the Cherokee people’s character.


To celebrate the launch of Cherokee Trilogy, there will be a book launch on Saturday, October 20, 2023, 9am–4pm, in the conference room of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, 2142 Mahaney Ave, Tahlequah, OK. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the author, hear his insights firsthand, and purchase a collector’s signed copy of each of the three books.


Cherokee Trilogy: Cherokee Rock, Cherokee Rose, and Cherokee Reel are available for pre-order starting October 1, 2023, and will be officially released on October 20. The books are available in deluxe, collector’s edition, library-bound print format through and


For media inquiries, author interviews, or review copies, please contact: Kelly Carr, Publicist, TSALAGI Books, 8716 Overland Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76179, 817-966-3664


For more information about the books and their author, please visit


The books of Cherokee Trilogy:


Cherokee Rock - Exploitation sweeps westward over the Appalachians in 1779 and engulfs a Tsalagi boy who loses his mother to smallpox, allies with a mentor squirrel, and trains as a shaman. A tribal fountainhead, Cherokee Rock, shelters his transition to manhood. Through decades of pestilence and war, with a freedman blood brother, he battles a malignant medicine man for his peoples’ hearts. The enemies collide in an epic revelation.


Lovers of a rousing, lifelong, good versus bad natural struggle set in a turbulent and challenging historical period; appreciators of indigenous culture and history; history buffs who focus on Colonial through post-Civil War American expansion; book club readers of expanded family sagas; those who appreciate fast-paced action with imaginations to paint events without author dictation; and those of Cherokee blood and descent who never hear their story described with empathy and respect—this is your book.


Cherokee Rose - An epic story of a Georgia freedman’s half-Cherokee daughter who battles pestilence, bigotry, alcoholism, starvation, and a record cold 1838 winter during a forced removal led by white profiteers and her father’s murderer to Indian Territory that earns her people’s respect and adoration as the Cherokee Rose. She then illegally jumps her land allotment and faces a white jury in a trial that sets national precedents for the rights of Native Americans.


This book is for everyone who loves an adventurous tale about a flawed, mixed-race woman who confronts her self-doubt, guilt, alcoholism, and mixed heritages to earn her people’s respect and discover her own identity and place in a racist, hate-filled world; lovers of indigenous culture and history; history buffs who focus on the American Indian removals; book club readers who love expanded family sagas; readers who appreciate fast-paced action that allows their imaginations to paint events without author dictation; those of Cherokee blood and descent who seldom hear their culture and history described with empathy and respect; and the writer’s grandchildren.


Cherokee Reel - The frivolous daughter of a freedman and a Cherokee strives to imitate a white socialite philanthropist, but cultural conflict, the civil war, her sister’s murder, and the death of a beloved husband compel a basic “Who am I?” confrontation with a Confederate demigod’s racist immorality that avenges her loved one’s deaths and molds her individual and indigenous identity.


This book is for anyone who loves an epic story of a mixed-race woman who faces lifelong adversity and discrimination in confrontation with a powerful man but finds herself and triumphs to direct Cherokee history and culture into the twentieth century; lovers of indigenous culture and history; history buffs who focus on Colonial through post-Civil War American expansion; book club readers who cherish expanded family sagas; fiction readers who appreciate fast-paced action that allows their imaginations to paint events without author dictation; those of Cherokee blood and descent who never hear their culture and history described with empathy and respect.



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Grapevine, Texas 76051


BIO James A. Humphrey, Author: “Cherokee Trilogy”


James A. Humphrey, author of the “Cherokee Trilogy,” was born in Paris, Texas, the eldest son of James A. Humphrey, whose mother was Ella Waters, a Cherokee signee of the Dawes Roll. After an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and service in Vietnam, he graduated with a 1973 degree in mass communications from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. His working years included teaching at the University of Texas Pan American, ownership of an advertising agency in Texas, employment with LTV Aerospace and Defense Company and The Arc of the United States. Retirement focused on short film production, screenwriting and authorship of the “Cherokee Trilogy,” including “Cherokee Rock,” “Cherokee Rose,” and “Cherokee Reel.”

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