Olive Oatman was an American woman celebrated in her time for her captivity and later release by Native Americans in the Mojave Desert region when she was a teenager. While traveling from Illinois to California, her family was attacked by a small group from a Native American tribe. They clubbed many to death, left her brother Lorenzo for dead, and enslaved Olive and her younger sister Mary Ann, holding them captive for one year before they traded them to the Mohave people, where they were well treated. While Lorenzo exhaustively attempted to recruit governmental help in searching for them, Mary Ann died from starvation and Olive spent four years with the Mohave. Five years after the attack, she was repatriated into American society. The story of the Oatman Massacre began to be retold with dramatic license in the press, as well as in her own memoir and speeches. Novels, plays, movies, and poetry were inspired, which resonated in the media of the time and long afterward. She had become an oddity in 1860s America, partly because of the prominent blue tattooing of her face by the Mohave, making her the first known white woman with Native tattoo on record. Much of what actually occurred during her time with the Native Americans remains unknown.

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