Molly Spotted Elk: A Penobscot in Paris chronicles the extraordinary life of a twentieth-century American Indian performing artist. Born in 1903 on the Penobscot reservation in Maine, Molly ventured into show business at an early age—performing vaudeville in New York, starring in the classic docudrama The Silent Enemy, then dancing for royalty and mingling with the literary elite in Europe.
In Paris, Molly found an audience more appreciative of authentic Native dance than in the United States. There Molly married a French journalist, but she was forced to leave him and flee France with her daughter during the 1940 German occupation.
Drawing extensively on diaries, letters, interviews, and other sources, Bunny McBride reconstructs Molly Spotted Elk’s story and sheds new light on the pressures Molly and her peers endured in acting out white stereotypes of the “Indian.”
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