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I can t think of a book from which i ve ever learnedThis book is raw, powerful and important. I find it difficult to review autobiographies How does one rate the story of a life The author may or may not be a professional writer, hence I feel it isn t wholly fair to grade based on writing quality As for content, a life is what it is and isn t what it isn t nothing less and nothingThere can be no I give your personal tragedies 3 stars for poignancy but your triumphs only 2, as I feel you could have beenelated I will grant 4 stars to your what might have beens for being authentically sentimental, yet never maudlin As for your family, wellI related to your Aunt Mabel, but your characterization of your brother Jeffrey was hardly believable As for you, I found you to be a bit of an unreliable narrator I could have done without that section on your childhood battle against tuberculosis, but the birth of your twins was a hoot Soa reviewing dilemma Mary Crow Dog has done a wonderful job of telling the story of her life Much of that life was tragic, painful to read about, and will enrage the reader on her behalf and the behalf of her people But through it all, she retains a nobility of spirit, a composure that makes it impossible to not care about the things she has seen and experienced Her voice comes through vivid and pure She is regal as she is humble, plain spoken yet eloquent She is authentic, and she tells her story with truth and clarity Hers is a story of great injustices suffered, yet of a spirit undiminished I admired Mary Crow Dog as I was reading, and I admire her evennow, having finished Her story deserves to be heard, and I hope it will continue to be read, not only so that such troubles as she s seen might be better understood and condemned to not repeat, but so the culture she is part of might rise to thrive anew In the pages of her autobiography, Mary Crow Dog gives us her memories, her experiences, thoughts, and feelings her life, which is all any of us has to give. Re read 18 years laterI met, Mary Crow Dog, in 1994, at her book signing, in Phoenix, Arizona I was impressed that Mary took the time to not only sign my book, but she wrote a note and drew a picture Richard Erdoes accompanied Mary, and he also signed his name under Mary s.When I read Lakota Woman in 1994, I enjoyed what I learned about the Lakota Sioux Nation s people, customs, and history Re reading the book in 2012, I read for a different purpose I m writing a historical novel, and need to validate any facts I might include in my book.Lakota Woman is just as fascinating a read in 1994 as it was today Mary grew up as a Lakota Sioux on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota Much like today, Pine Ridge was poverty stricken Mary described her life, but she included other American Indians in her book.She was raised in a one room shack, filled with many family members, with no amenities, much like camping She described the daily life of Sioux women, and Sioux men, differentiating their roles Ignorance was bliss for Mary, as she thought this was how everyone lived She viewed her childhood as happy because she basically had love in her family Domestic abuse was rampant in reservations, and there were dysfunctional families, as we call them today.Indian children were sent to boarding school to become white , to shed their Indian ways and customs The students were beaten and punished if they didn t succeed in the daily attempts to change their traditional values Mary left and became a street smart Sioux, she drank and shoplifted to survive.As every teenager looked for something to be a part of, Mary joined the AIM American Indian Movement She was empathetic to her people and other Indian s struggles and was hungry for knowledge Mary shared the AIM events with her readers Not all of it is pretty, by any means, but that is what is so fascinating It s a first hand account of what American Indians suffered in the 1970 s.Mary had a baby during the siege at Wounded Knee Here she met her husband, Leonard Crow Dog he was a medicine man and a leader, and also had children of his own She was a na ve wife and mother, but she learned how to do both well and stood by her husband during his imprisonment and adversities during these tumultuous times.The book includes sixteen photos that illustrate traditional customs, and put faces to names and places Whether you read Lakota Woman to learn about the Lakota Sioux in general, or to obtain precise facts for your own research, it is the perfect book It is written on a young adult level, so it s an easy read that any age would enjoy It s always fun to learn history through reading a story such as Lakota Woman vs a textbook. Powerful, heartbreaking and sometimes infuriating story of Mary Crow Dog and her life in her own words Also interesting, giving a glimpse into traditions and culture of Native Americans and their religious beliefs. A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors nor how strong their weapons Cheyenne proverbThe history of the American Indian Movement AIM was like a lot of social racial justice movements, especially in how much fear and loathing such movements evoked from the larger society and from law enforcement What I ve always been fascinated by is the role of women in these movements Oftentimes their voices and contributions are overlooked or overshadowed in favor of the conventional narrative, but silencing these voices does not mean they will not be heard.Reading Lakota Woman was like sitting with Mary Brave Bird Crow Dog She leaves nothing out her turbulent childhood at the so called Indian School and her rebellious, aimless teenage years Yes there was is violence, poverty and despair on the reservation, which made her journey to transcend it that muchcompelling Unlike Ojibwa Warrior Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement which seemed to meabout AIM as a whole, Brave Bird s voice is strong and it s unapologetic There s a sense of power in her words as she speaks of the takeover of the BIA building in Washington as well as the Siege of Wounded Knee It was easy to see how such a movement could indeed empower not just the Indians but re empowered in some ways, Indian women And Brave Bird Crow Dog does not ignore the fearlessness of Indian women young and old Actually, our women played a major part at Wounded Knesset We had two or three pistol packing mamas swaggering around with six shooters dangling from their hips, taking their turns on the firing line, swapping lead with the feds The Indian nurses bringing in the wounded under a hail of fire were braver than many warriors Much like Dennis Banks, Mary Crow Dog Brave Bird , they admit AIM was as much a spiritual movement as a political one That there were attempts to outlaw Indian religious beliefs and practices, one reason medicine man Leonard Crow Dog was feared by authorities As far as her relationship with the older Leonard Crow Dog, I had to get out of my mainstream feminist head a good reason why intersectionality is so very important and see things through the eyes of a woman whose experiences were far different from mine And their relationship strengthened her for not just his imprisonment, but for her to become the woman who could speak in front of crowds.I think the one tragic note, and one that still haunts the legacy of AIM, was the death of Anna Mae Aquash, one of the most formidable of the movement s leaders Many stories, theories and blame abound However, the real culprits in my view remains our government, aided by law enforcement so afraid of an oppressed peoples who only sought due process and equality, that they persecuted and infiltrated the movement in order to retain the status quo We ve seen this tactic many times, and sadly will probably see it again. I didn t realize until just now that Mary Crow Dog n e Mary Brave Bird died in February this year.This is her first autobiography describing her life up to 1977 She wrote a second autobiography, Ohitika Woman, a few years after Lakota Woman, and I imagine I ll get around to reading it at some point too I was interested in reading this now as I m winding down on Native American literature I m reading this month The other books I ve read this month have been non fiction of a different sort mostly history books written by white men who weren t even alive during the time they wrote about.This is a book that is modern enough for readers to realize that the United States continue to have difficulty relating to and working with Native American communities Mary Crow Dog details here her childhood and young adulthood in the 1960s and 70s, about living on a South Dakota reservation, going to a missionary school, and the abuse that was inflicted on her and the other students at the hands of the nuns and the priests, as well as some white neighbors She left school early on, preferring to become in her words a hobo , as she didn t have a good relationship with her mother and her father was not around Her travels eventually brought her to the American Indian Movement AIM where she met Leonard Crow Dog, her future husband and chief medicine man She was involved in some of AIM s greatest moments, most impressively and frighteningly while she was eight months pregnant Some of the stories she told made me just want to hide under a blanket I cannot imagine fighting some of her fights in the condition she was in, or even later while she was trying to protect her newborn son.I appreciated the different perspective this book brought me in relation to some of the other things I ve read this month This is the first book written by a woman about women s place in the Lakota nation In a lot of ways this book is harder to read than some of the other books I ve read this month, but primarily because it s such a contemporary part of American history, and one that is often overlooked because most American students are taught that US Indian relations were peachy in the 20th century.The cover of this book tells me there s a made for TV version of this book which I will probably take a look at sometime soon There s a lot of anger in this story, and I m curious to see how that translates if at all onto the screen. This is an interesting and moving book, capturing the life a women in the midst of the American Indian Movement in the 1970 s She describes life on the reservation as a younger woman and details the harrowing and sordid quality of life, revealing the poverty, struggle and rampant racism of her native South Dakota Moved by the activism of A.I.M., she gives a first hand accounts of the Trail of Broken Treaties and the seizure of Wounded Knee, the 71 day event in 1973, which, though sadly produced no change for Native circumstances on the reservation afterward, certainly was monumental in putting a face on Native populations and injecting consciousness into some who previously had none Mary seems like a marginal character in the described events, however little that matters, and I wonder how much of the text is written herself, and how much penned after her descriptions by Richard Erdoes In the end, these details are not so important, as it is obvious that what may be embellished or written up does not remove the clear history surrounding the events, and we get a great inside view from the book Looking online forphotos I found mostly this cover photo of Mary Crow Dog, iconic, young, powerful and beautiful Sadly, I found a few later photos though it was difficult to be sure it was her , in which she looks tired and beaten up I was dying to find concrete information on her life and where she ended up, but I discovered only an unofficial website that had a photo of what looked like here in a small apartment, looking sad and tired One always reads such harrowing tales hoping that its telling would bring them to a higher place. &FREE PDF ↡ Lakota Woman ☝ Mary Brave Bird Grew Up Fatherless In A One Room Cabin, Without Running Water Or Electricity, On The Rosebud Indian Reservation In South Dakota Rebelling Against The Aimless Drinking, Punishing Missionary School, Narrow Strictures For Women, And Violence And Hopeless Of Reservation Life, She Joined The New Movement Of Tribal Pride Sweeping Native American Communities In The Sixties And Seventies Mary Eventually Married Leonard Crow Dog, The American Indian Movement S Chief Medicine Man, Who Revived The Sacred But Outlawed Ghost DanceOriginally Published In , Lakota Woman Was A National Best Seller And Winner Of The American Book Award It Is A Unique Document, Unparalleled In American Indian Literature, A Story Of Death, Of Determination Against All Odds, Of The Cruelties Perpetuated Against American Indians, And Of The Native American Struggle For Rights Working With Richard Erdoes, One Of The Twentieth Century S Leading Writers On Native American Affairs, Brave Bird Recounts Her Difficult Upbringing And The Path Of Her Fascinating Life I ve read this book several times in the past and really, really enjoyed reading it again Mary Crow Dog s courage, integrity and strength are amazingly inspiring After having done quite a bit of cultural studies, this time it gave me also a real felt sense of the predicament of Native American culture, and with that large parts of the world population, of the difficult struggle in leap frogging stages of development and the suffering this creates And perhaps it was also nagging my Objibway ancestor s fighter spirit but I really love the spirit of the people and feel great sympathy with their struggle, which is easy to dismiss from a superior Postmodern standpoint. I learned a lot about Native American culture and traditions from this book and about the AIM American Indian Movement in the 70s Mary Crow Dog explains in detail the rituals and ceremonies of the Sioux, the spiritual values of their people, their stories and legends, medicine remedies etc Her story is simply but effectively told One might question whether her retelling of the events at Wounded Knee is entirely objective but one thing is clear Mary Crow Dog s anger and reasons are understandable, her wounds are painful and the resentment runs deep.Favourite quotes I was then white outside and red inside, just the opposite of an apple.My best friend was Annie Mae Aquash, a young, strong hearted woman from the Micmac Tribe with beautiful chil dren It is not always wise for an Indian woman to come on too strong Annie Mae was found dead in the snow at the bottom of a ravine on the Pine Ridge Reservation The police said that she had died of exposure, but there was a.38caliber slug in her head The FBI cut off her hands and sent them to Washington for fingerprint identification, hands that had helped my baby come into the world.I did not mind their being afraid of us It was better than being given a quarter and asked to pose smilingly for their camerasSupposedly you drink to forget The trouble is you don t forget, you remember all the old insults and hatreds, real and imagined As a result there are always fights One of the nicest, gentlest men I knew killed his wife in a drunken rage One uncle had both his eyes put out while he was lying senseless My sister in law Delphine s husband lost one eye She herself was beaten to death by a drunken tribal police man Such things are not even considered worth an investigation