by Marah Ellis Ryan
Marah Ellis Ryan was born on February 27, 1860 in Pennsylvania. She wrote a great deal, especially under the pen name Ellis Martin. She is most well known for living with Hopi in Arizona. She was an theater actress for five years, but then she went on to focus on writing. She also managed a farm near Fayette Springs in Pennsylvania. Along with Told in the Hills (1891), she also wrote On Love’s Domains (1890) and Squaw Elouise (1892).Told in the Hills was a popular novel that became a motion picture in 1919. The book and film have numerous differences, especially in the ending. It revolves around a relationship between two brothers, the US government, and the Kootenai tribe (Ktunaxa) in Montana. Unfortunately, although Ryan was often billed as an expert on Indigenous Americans, she was not familiar with Ktunaxa language, and instead substituted the Chinook language, which she was knowledgeable of. Ktunaxa is a unique language in that it is a language isolate, not like any other language in the world.