Island of the Blue Dolphins – Cultural Studies

Scott O´ Dell wrote the novel Island of the Blue Dolphins based on the story of an actual women who is known as “The Lone Women of San Nicolas”.
No one ever knew her name, which was due to the fact, that she was never able to tell her story herself. So, she was given the name Juana Maria and became known as that to history. Since she spoke a language nobody could understand, some aspects had to be invented. Nevertheless, there are some aspects which are real historical facts. For example, the Nicoleño tribe indeed lived about seventy miles off the coast of Southern California on a small island.
In 1811 a group of Alaskan Aleuts was hired and taken to San Nicolas Island by a Russian American trading company in order to hunt sea otters because of their precious pelts. After a fight between them and the Nicoleño tribe, there were not many of the natives left on San Nicolas, but amongst them was Juana Maria. Those remaining members of the tribe were to be collected for their safety; therefore, a schooner was sent by a rescue operation which was sponsored by the Santa Barbara Mission. One woman did not make it to the ship, although one can not say with certainty why this happened. As a result, she became the Lone Women of San Nicolas, and San Nicolas is where she stayed for eighteen years. When she was found by a fur trapper, in the year 1853, she was roughly 50 years old. Dressed in a skirt made of cormorant feathers, she seemed to be happy and was smiling. She did not live long with the people of Santa Barbara; instead, she passed away a few weeks later because of illness.

Additional information:
Nicoleño tribe
Juana Maria, the Lone Woman of San Nicolas
-Island of the Blue Dolphins and the real historical story; most informative website (including landscape and maps)