ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mourning Dove’s Cogewea: A Dual Citizen

Updated on February 5, 2014

Since the first European settlers began to colonize the Americas, the American Indian has been a race that must traverse their livelihood between those of the Native way and those of the white way; consequently, it was and is only natural for the race of American Indians to mix with other races, such as the Anglos. This blending of two cultures allows for a third race, a mix of the two races, to take shape; however, even though it may appear that a person who is half Indian and half white would be able to mingle freely in both societies, this notion is false. A person who is of two races often finds it difficult to maintain personal identity and must be a sort of dual citizen in society. As a dual citizen, the person is often forced to negotiate between the Native ways and the white ways. Mourning Dove’s novel Cogewea underlines how these negotiations often led and continue to lead to a struggle in identity for many American Indians. The protagonist, Cogewea, is half Indian and half white. She grew up in both worlds as a child and, as an adult, she continues to confront her identity issues. Her conflict is the primary focus of Chapter VII: The “Ladies” and the “Squaw” Races. This chapter emphasizes Cogewea’s standing as a dual citizen and how she both successfully and unsuccessfully balances her life while living in two separate worlds.


Cogewea’s own personal identity and dual citizenship causes a problem at the races. At the end of the previous chapter, Cogewea declares her opinion on her racial identity by stating, “I’m part Injun and can participate in that as well as in the ladies race…I am going to pose as both for this day” (59). In this instance, and throughout the book, Cogewea personally identifies herself as both Indian and white. She does not consider herself more of one race than the other. However, the racers and the judges think otherwise. At the beginning of the chapter, Verona Webster says, “Why is this squaw permitted to ride? This is a ladies race!” (63). Despite personally identifying herself as white, others do not view Cogewea in the same light. In addition, later in the chapter, a judge also takes the same opinion as Verona Webster and states Cogewea did not win the ladies race. Although Cogewea does not share their opinion, her victory at the races is overshadowed by the lack of racial understanding on the part of the whites and the Indians. When Cogewea lines up for the squaw race, a fellow racer says, “You have no right to be here! You are half-white! This race is for Indians and not for breeds!” (66). The alienation Cogewea feels as a dual citizen is caused by both full blooded Indians and full blooded whites. This conflict in identity is not established in Cogewea herself but in the full blooded ethnicities around her. She is not accepted as part of either race because she is half Indian and half white. She is left in between the two. Ultimately, Cogewea’s dual citizenship deceives her and she decides to give the prize money back for both races; but before she leaves, Cogewea says, “I am as much Caucasian, I regret to admit, as American, and measured by you…ideals, a mere nobody; with no rights to be respected” (70). Cogewea still identifies herself as both Indian and white; however, she concedes that her dual citizenship accounts for little and she is considered less than both races.

The alienation Cogewea feels because of her dual citizenship is more a product of society than her own production. When Cogewea is away from society, at H-B Ranch, she is thought of as superior or equal to everyone at the ranch. Her identity as both Indian and white is never questioned and she is successfully able to negotiate both aspects of herself. As a fictional character, Cogewea represents a whole race of real mixed blood people who feel the same way. A person may be half white and half Asian, half African and half white, half German, a quarter Mexican, and a quarter Indian, etcetera, but they all share the identity of being a race of mixed blood and their struggles coping with their shared identities are very much the same. Since this race has to negotiate living in two different cultures, they are also dual citizens. Like Cogewea, a dual citizen must resolve the conflict of living as a person of two different ethnicities while also maintaining their own identity as belonging to both races. For the American Indian this conflict in identity remains intact today not only for Indians of mixed blood but also for full blooded Indians. Indians in general must take on the daunting task of living by traditional Indian ways while also trying to make a living in the white world; therefore, in many ways, all Indians are dual citizens.

© 2013 morningstar18


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)