The Cherokee Rose

The Cherokee Rose


MacArthur “genius” Tiya Miles’s debut novel uncovers the little-known history of Native American slaveholding.

I was frustrated by the reality of what I was discovering [in my research] and wished there had been a different ending for African Americans and Native Americans outside of slavery and colonialism.

Winston-Salem, N.C. – Dr. Tiya Miles has made it her life’s work to sift through a past often overlooked. Recognized by the MacArthur Foundation, Miles’s research of the interrelated experience of African Americans and Native Americans in the antebellum South is now the focus in her first work of fiction. The Cherokee Rose is a luminous, yet accessible, work exploring the narratives of Native American slaveholding. The novel makes tangible and heartfelt experiences that were previously mere asterisks in history books.

Book Cover ImageSet in modern-day Georgia on what once was a plantation owned by a Cherokee chief, the novel follows three characters—Jinx Micco, free-spirited 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, affluent Southern black debutante seeking a meaningful personal history—on their journeys of memory gathering, self-discovery, and bonding. The women find diary entries from 19th-century Moravian missionary Anna Gamble, encounter the spirit of long-gone Native American student Mary Ann Battis, and learn the atrocities of Chief Hold, the first owner of the Cherokee Rose Plantation. The diverse and thriving rose garden at the plantation is only the beginning of the treasures the women find as proof of the love that once bloomed in a place overrun with hatred.

Complementing award-winning research with an ability to write meaningful, complex characters, Miles proves “genius” again with her first foray outside nonfiction. Exploring territory reminiscent of the works of Ayana Mathis, Alice Walker, and Louise Erdrich, The Cherokee Rose introduces Tiya Miles as a novelist all her own.

From the official release by JOHN F. BLAIR, PUBLISHER. Based in Winston-Salem,
North Carolina, this independent, family-owned company specializes in history, travel, folklore, biography, and fiction. Learn more at


From an event hosted by the Women’s Diversity Book Group, co-sponsored by Women’s Rights Information Center’s Community Outreach & Education Committee and Englewood Public Library, to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November, Englewood, New Jersey


Rita Bantom, Johanna Bleckman, Cathy Dougharty, Joyce French, Maudine Logan, Kaye Marz, Tiya Miles, Lee Ridley, Mary Vardigan (from left to right)

Thank you to Lois Brown, a researcher on Afro-Native histories in her own right, for sharing these thoughts on the group’s discussion: “Everyone loved learning something new—about the enslavement of African Americans by American Indians (and the aftermath), and the venue of the novel was the best vehicle for them. They were happy to know that I had met you and said to tell you they enjoyed Cherokee Rose very much.”



From the National Council on Public History in Nashville, Tennessee, 2015 –


National Council on Public History Conference, Nashville, TN.

I was invited to give the keynote address at the National Council on Public History in Nashville, Tennessee, in which I tussled with the conference theme: ‘‘History on the Edge.’’

It was a unique opportunity to discuss the intersections of African American and Native American history and make new friends.

Read the written rendition of my keynote address Edges, Ledges, and the Limits of Craft: Imagining Historical Work beyond the Boundaries.

Available for purchase at local bookstores and Amazon.