Shakely, Jack – The Make-Believe Indian

Author Jack Shakely returns with a fictionalized account of the 1830s Indian Removal.

It is 1829 and young Marco Secundus has given up on ever being adopted and leaving St. Matthew’s Home for Boys. But when his attention is drawn by a respectable-looking Creek man, he decides to become an Indian himself. Marco finds himself welcomed into a Creek tribe by landowner John Coachman . . . just in time for the Indian Removal Act sponsored by President Andrew Jackson that uprooted Southern Indian tribes from their homes.

Marco and John Coachman must use their knowledge and skills to help the Creeks navigate the treacherous exodus known as The Long Walk, despite obstacles thrown up by U.S. politicians and their own fellow Indians.

From David Hamlin, former ACLU director:

“Jack Shakely has written a compelling, engaging – and quite timely – novel about one of the more despicable moments in American history, the forced emigration of native Americans from their homes in the U.S. south to largely empty territory west of the Mississippi.  The dreadful and astonishingly bigoted political motivations behind this domestic mass deportation are carefully charted, but Shakely wisely tells us the story from a deeply personal point of view.  His characters – strong and beleaguered, good and bad, thoughtful and thoughtless – bring a horrid event down to a level which allows the reader to see beyond the theoretical to the all-too real.  While the story is infuriating and its victims struggle through nearly unimaginable pain and suffering, heroes abound as Shakely finds humor and rich humanity in their travails.  While the events are more than a century old, the remarkable contemporary parallels – a president, driven by open racism, whose contempt for law is unbridled, powerless victims whose determination is overwhelmed by the power of a government dedicated to crushing them – ring loud and clear.  The Make-Believe Indian is a strong and alluring read for history buffs, those who champion fairness and anyone interested in a rousing tale of courage and chicanery. “