You're hurting my head again, SF/F
Just for the record, I wouldn't exist either in that universe. And not because of some inkling of Magical Indian Princess blood. I mean my grandfather, my father, me would all not exist at all. Not to mention many members of my extended family and many, many friends of mine.
This book just erased my grandfather and his entire people. Cut him off and said that his people and his family and his past and his heritage weren't as interesting or worthy of consideration and respect as a bunch of Europeans coming over and discovering magic mammoths. Because heavens forfend that, in the quest to imagine a world without slavery or genocide or conquest, you erase the offenders instead of the victims.
And let's not even consider the possibility of writing a novel where Europeans live and keep their hands to themselves and the people of the Americas get to ride the magic mammoths and have awesome adventures? Because that would require considering them as interesting and worthy of respect as Europeans, and obviously, that isn't happening.
So thanks for that, Patricia Wrede. It's nice to imagine a world where I couldn't possibly exist. It's like every other fantasy novel I've read where women or bisexuals either don't exist or don't matter, except this time it's with race.
Either way, you're wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.
Nothing we write about exists in a vacuum. Nothing. You can't divorce a story or an idea from its deeply layered and intricate context, repackage it to suit your needs, and send it off expecting that the people who are aware of that context will pick it up and say, "Hey! Nifty!" Because for many people, that context you just disregarded as inconvenient or uninteresting or just plain not useful to your purposes? IS THEIR LIFE. It's their history, their pain, their story. And you've just wiped it away as an afterthought, cleaning a slate filled with history and love and pain and anger and hard questions and even harder answers, to make it neat and pretty and empty for you to write your own story.
And the worst part? You're hardly the first person to do that.
And yet, every time this comes around, people react as if it is the first time. They react as if there is not also a history, a deeply layered and intricate context to that erasure, and they're shocked, shocked I tell you when that's pointed out.
Even better, set the story on another planet. What's the point of America if it doesn't have any Indians? Other than a few features such as the Mississippi River and the Rockies, it could be any anonymous continent.
Moreover, what's the point of a pioneer story if there are no "others"? Has there ever been a novel of exploration where the protagonists didn't meet another group of people? A land with no challenges except wild animals and weather is humdrum.
For more on the subject, see Stereotyping Indians by Omission and The Best Indian Books.