Archeologists Learning More About the Inspiration Behind O’Dell’s Famous Novel

According to an article in The Los Angeles Times, U.S. Navy archeologists may have found the legendary cave of the real “Lone Woman of San Nicolas“, who was the inspiration for Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins.

The scientists are hoping finds within the cave will shed more light on this tragic true tale and that of the Nicoleño people. The article presents a slightly different picture than I have seen in novel studies, making me wonder how differently O’Dell might have presented it had he been writing for adults.

“For many Nicoleños, life ended in the early 1800s. Russian fur traders brought groups of Alaskan sea otter hunters to San Nicolas, where they engaged in repeated fights with native men over women and furs. The Nicoleño population dwindled from perhaps 300 to a few dozen, dropping most sharply after a particularly savage battle in 1814.

By 1835, the few Nicoleños left were struggling. Whether motivated by compassion or a need to increase the ranks of mission laborers, Franciscan fathers from the mainland sent a ship for them. All but one made the trip to the mainland aboard the Peor es Nada, loosely translated as “Better than nothing.”


Filed under History of Books & Libraries

2 responses to “Archeologists Learning More About the Inspiration Behind O’Dell’s Famous Novel

  1. Much appreciate you posting this information! Seems it might be time to reread this book with different eyes.

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