THE CHEROKEE ROSE

Tiya Miles

Tiya Miles’s luminous but highly accessible debut

novel examines a little-known aspect of America’s

past—slaveholding by Southern Creeks and

Cherokees—and its legacy in the lives of three

young women who are drawn to the Georgia

plantation where scenes of extreme cruelty and

equally extraordinary compassion once played out.

Set in modern-day Georgia, The Cherokee Rose follows three characters—

Jinx Micco, a Cherokee-Creek historian exploring her tribe’s complicated

racial history; Ruth Mayes, whose mother sought refuge from a troubled

marriage in her beloved garden and the cosmetic empire she built from

its bounty;

more …

Tiya Miles’s luminous but highly accessible debut

novel examines a little-known aspect of America’s

past—slaveholding by Southern Creeks and

Cherokees—and its legacy in the lives of three

young women who are drawn to the Georgia

plantation where scenes of extreme cruelty and

equally extraordinary compassion once played out.

Set in modern-day Georgia, The Cherokee Rose follows three characters—

Jinx Micco, a Cherokee-Creek historian exploring her tribe’s complicated

racial history; Ruth Mayes, whose mother sought refuge from a troubled

marriage in her beloved garden and the cosmetic empire she built from

its bounty; and Cheyenne Cotterell, an affluent Southern black debutante

seeking a meaningful personal history—on their journeys of memory

gathering, self-discovery, and bonding. Complementing award-winning

research with an ability to write meaningful, complex characters, Miles

proves genius again with this debut novel.

less …
  • John F. Blair, Publisher
  • Hardcover
  • April 2015
  • 264 Pages
  • 9780895876355

Buy the Book

$26.95

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About Tiya Miles

Tiya Miles was awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant

in 2011. She has been selected for Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 and The

Grio’s 100 lists of African American leaders. The author of numerous works

of nonfiction, Miles holds degrees from the University of Minnesota,

Emory University, and Harvard University. Currently, she is a professor at

the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

Praise

The Cherokee Rose asks hard questions about race, power, and belonging

and reminds us of the fierce love that centers the quest for justice. We need

more novels like this.”—Daniel Heath Justice, Canada Research Chair

in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture, University of British

Columbia

“Poignant and essential storytelling. That only begins to describe Tiya

Miles’s work. The Cherokee Rose is a book that, with a deft hand, illuminates

a little-known, yet vitally important, facet of a past we all share. A

wonderful read.”—Jason Mott, New York Times best-selling author of

The Returned

Discussion Questions

Many Americans can relate to Cheyenne Cotterell’s

journey to discover her genealogical history. Hearing

stories passed down by ancestors is a large part of

identity. But what if those stories don’t match records

such as newspapers, census information, and other

documents? Have you ever researched your family tree? Do you have

oral histories passed onto you from relatives or ancestors?

The Cherokee Rose is full of a diverse cast of characters from the past

and present. In what ways, big and small, do you see the characters

experience or confront prejudice based on their race, class, gender, or

sexuality?

The plot of The Cherokee Rose is really begun when the characters travel

to The Cherokee Rose Plantation because it is being auctioned; this is

not something that only happens in fiction. Do you feel citizens or

governments have a duty to protect historical sites like The Cherokee

Rose Plantation? Should there be more done to document and exhibit

the true history persevered in such places?

The Cherokee Rose follows Ruth Mayes and Jinx Micco, both gay

women of color, and Cheyenne Cotterell, a black woman trying to

discover a lost Native American branch of her family tree. The novel

also features historical characters often overlooked in history books

and records. In fact, when beginning her research, Tiya Miles was faced

with an archivist who laughed at the idea of finding any significant

material on African American and Native American women. Do you

think The Cherokee Rose does well to shine a spotlight on women

whose experiences have been all but erased from history? With which

character do you most identify? (You can take this Buzzfeed quiz to see

which character you’re most like!: http://www.buzzfeed.com/annabs/

which-kickass-cherokee-rose-character-are-you-13ccj)

Tiya Miles’s distinguished research delving into the world of a

Cherokee-owned slave plantation in present-day Georgia culminated

into her works of nonfiction. Her research on that subject and expertise

on women’s history are the foundations for The Cherokee Rose. What

aspects of the history presented in the novel surprise you most? Was

the author’s note about her research enlightening or helpful? Do you

think fiction is a good tool to teach people about lesser known people

and events of the past?