Evangeline (Eva)

Evangeline is a Navajo girl who is three at the time of the story.  We include her among the victims because she had been dropped off at the Navajo Boarding School by her mother when she was one.  The combination of leaving her mother at such an early age and living in at the boarding school likely made her a victim, though she didn't show any outward signs of being mistreated. Though she played a tiny role, we include her for a reason we will discuss shortly.


The Vanishing American: ...as he [Lord] approached the fence and hung over it. "Why, who's this here little girl? Aren't you an Injun?"

"I'm not," piped up the little girl, in astonishingly good English, "I'm Miss Evangeline Warner."

"Ho! Ho! Listen to the little Injun girl," replied Lord, with a loud laugh.

"Jay, please don't tease Eva," asked Mrs. Wolterson, appealingly. "All the men tease her, just because she's so bright. But you will spoil her."

Nophaie had heard of this three- year-old prodigy. Her Indian mother had been glad to get rid of her, yet showed great pride in Eva's fame. For some strange reason the child, who was a full- blooded Indian, had taken remarkably to the white people's language and ways, and after two years hated the very name of Indian. She was a sturdy child, with heavy round face and black staring eyes and straggling black hair, in neither appearance nor expression any different from the other little Indian girls. (Chapter IX)


The following interview will leave little doubt that the inspiration for Eva was Betty Zane Wetherill (Rodgers):

Betty, Fanny and Louisa Wetherill

BETTY RODGERS INTERVIEW NAU.OH.75.39 (Brad Cole, July 14, 1999):

"I was taken from my Navajo people. Then, the government just went out and just took kids to put 'em in school... I don't know why they picked me. I was just a baby. But I was placed at Tuba City… They were very mean to us. When we'd run away, or even speak a word of Navajo, they'd just more or less beat us. They just treated us like prisoners… My mother [Louisa Wetherill] then came to visit the Navajo kids…She came over there and found that they were treating the Navajo children real bad… So she thought, "Well, this is gonna stop!" She went to Washington and told the president… Everybody at Tuba then was fired and ran off… Her daughter then--we called her Sister Wetherill-- so she became matron to the Navajo girls... So when summer came, my foster mother then, Mrs. Wetherill, said, "I think I'll just take this little girl home." …She just said, "Well, you can just go home with us any time." So… one day she… sent for me, and that's when I started living with the Wetherills... way back when I was four years old."

Betty (left) and Fanny Wetherill growing into outstanding young ladies.  Betty's last name at birth was reportedly Glenahpohneppl.