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A Tree on Turtle Island

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In the fall of 2001, two Chicago women embark on a business trip to Pennsylvania. Quinn had grown up in Pittsburgh and while visiting her childhood neighborhood, her friend, Reed, uncovers a Native American artifact that begins to affect her dreams. In the aftermath of terrorist attacks on America, patriotism is soaring with the theme, 'United We Stand.' But the artifact provides a window to a colonial tale, threading the women's journey into the period prior to the American Revolution when colonists were deciding what 'union' meant to them. The women meet fictional heroine, Maggie, who had been a student at the Moravian School for Girls and a blacksmith's wife living among native tribes at the forks of the Susquehanna River. Shamokin was a multi-national village with a farm and blacksmith shop. Europeans shared tools, farming skills and cultural ideas among several native nations, living for years in peace. When the initial violence of the French and Indian War exploded a few miles away, everyone fled. After surviving an Indian attack, Maggie writes reflective letters to her family, also seen, via the artifact, by the contemporary women. Maggie bears witness to early treaty councils and Benjamin Franklin's idea of 'united' colonies, based on the Native American concept of the value of every person in the village. She also witnesses a deep tear happening in the first fabric of America while colonial settlers try to piece together a patchwork revolution. The tear was born of prejudice, and as the modern travelers knit together their own journey, they find ties to a deeply rooted pattern of violence and bigotry in modern American culture. Hide synopsis

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