Dollie Duncan Letters

These letters were all written to Dollie Duncan, ᎨᏳᏁᎦ ᎠᏛᎦ, from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in 1951. Her son, Walter Duncan, ᎠᎹ ᎠᏛᎦ, enlists the help of Following Star, ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏩᏗ ᏃᏈᏏ, to pen these letters in remarkably beautiful Cherokee handwriting. Though most letters were written by Walter to his mother with the help of Star, one letter sent on 2-11-1951, was written solely by Star to Dollie. These letters show Walter’s progress in learning to read and write in the Cherokee syllabary with the help of Star. They provide insight into life in prison and the ways that Cherokee inmates help each other. They also illustrate the interior lives of Star and Walter as they reflect on their situations with humor and emotional breadth.