Any young girl who read Island of the Blue Dolphins in middle school — for fun or through the curriculum — was no doubt an admirer of Scot O’Dell’s character Karana. The novel, which won a Newbury Medal in 1961, tells the story of a girl whose life is turned upside down when Russian fur traders and Aleutian natives arrive and fall into a conflict with Karana’s tribe.
White missionaries come to evacuate the island for the protection of the remaining tribesmen, but Karana’s brother is left behind and she jumps off the rescue ship to stay with him. Eventually, her brother is taken by a pack of dogs and she is left completely alone.
For almost two decades she lives alone, hunting, building, and caring for herself. The courage and steadfastness seen in her survival is a wonderful inspirational story for not just young girls, but anyone reading her story. O’Dell didn’t just dream this anecdote up, however.
In the 19th century, a Native American woman actually did live on San Nicolas Island. For 18 years, from 1835 to 1853, the woman, whose real name is unfortunately unknown, lived on the island — alone. It is the most remote of the collection of land masses which make up the Channel Islands, laying just off the coast of California.
For about 10,000 years, the tribe to which the unknown woman belonged inhabited the Channel Islands, including San Nicolas Island. It was called the Nicoleño tribe.
Learn more at :::: www.thevintagenews.com/2019/04/15/island-of-the-blue-dolphins/