Martha Chamberlain publishes historical fiction of orphaned Cherokee girl

Martha Chamberlain publishes historical fiction of orphaned Cherokee girl

Martha Gunsalus Chamberlain

Press release

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (April 21, 2016) -- Satchel: A Cherokee Girl Tells All is a historical fiction set in nineteenth century Salem. The book was written by Martha Gunsalus Chamberlain, just in time for the 250th anniversary of the founding of Salem in North Carolina. 

Throughout her lifetime of tragedy and triumph, the indigenous American girl Madaya carries treasured relics in her satchel that represent both her own story and those of her companions. 

After Madaya is orphaned on the Trail of Tears, she experiences physiological/ psychological deafness after a tragic accident kills her African caregiver Squire while digging a well for Brother Fries in Salem. Later, following the death of her lover in battle, Madaya gradually pours out her stories represented by each artifact in her satchel.

The story of the hunt always glorifies the hunter until the lioness tells her story. This African proverb teaches the value of “the rest of the story,” frequently missed or dismissed. In Satchel, Madaya the lioness tells all. She reveals hidden secrets, forbidden sex, extraordinary discoveries and lost stories of Cherokee Chief Junaluska and Squire, an enslaved African who lived among the Moravians. 

The author moved to Old Salem with her husband four years ago to research and write the story of Chief Junaluska, but discovering so much more, they decided to stay. Living in the historic Van Vleck house in Old Salem, built in 1831, they grasp the significance of walking on common ground with early settlers. Even before visiting the celebratory events of this year’s 250th anniversary of the founding of Salem, you’re invited to time-travel through Satchel

Chamberlain further reminds us that telling one’s story bridges the gap from past to present, connecting us not only to one another, but also to those yet unborn, lest we forget, lest we die like the endangered species we are. 

“If you don’t tell it, who will?” she asks. 

Satchel: A Cherokee Girl Tells All, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Moravian Book Shop and Butner’s in Old Salem. See

Chamberlain is the wife of Bishop Ray Chamberlain, who served as Holston Conference's episcopal leader from 1996 to 2004.