Independent and ambitious, Molly strove to succeed in the wider world without surrendering her heritage. Her determination led her to Paris, where she found an audience more appreciative of authentic Native dance than in the United States. There she fell into a passionate love affair with a French journalist who eventually persuaded Molly to marry him. The German occupation of France in 1940 forced Molly to leave her husband and, with their young daughter, flee the country on foot over the Pyrenees Mountains. What happens to this family, and then to Molly's career, turns her tale from triumph into tragedy.
Molly Spotted Elk is important not only because of her life but also because she recorded it. Among her enduring achievements are her diaries - detailed and reflective records of her public and private experiences. These rare, personal documents of Native history shed light on the pressures she and her peers endured in having to act out white stereotypes of the "Indian."
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