OHITIKA WOMAN by Mary Brave Bird

OHITIKA WOMAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Native American activist Brave Bird--whose autobiography Lakota Woman (1990; written under the author's former married name of Crow Dog) will soon be released as a film directed by Jane Fonda--returns with a disturbing sequel. Lakota Woman turned heads with its angry plea for Native American rights, its outspoken feminism--and its blatant antiwhite racism. Brave Bird has mellowed a bit, although she still makes caustic remarks about white women, especially New Agers whom she accuses of cashing in on traditional Indian religion. Sadly, her personal life seems as chaotic as ever, as she relates a horrifying story of chronic drunkenness, drug-taking, brawls, poverty, homeless shelters, and batterings by lovers. Readers willing to put up with the sordidness--which culminates in a drunk-driving crash and subsequent open-heart surgery for Brave Bird--will no doubt get the message: that Indians, Lakota in particular (Pine Ridge reservation is the poorest county in the nation), have been shoved to the bottom of the American barrel. Easier to digest are Brave Bird's accounts of Native American rituals, including sweat lodges, spirit communication, and sun dances (during one, Brave Bird is suspended from a tree by thongs skewered through her back). Once again, the author presents a fierce feminist brief, offering biographical tributes to a number of Native American women and celebrating her own ``womb power,'' which brought her five kids-- the last by her new husband, Rudi, a tattoo artist. Without the intrinsic excitement of the first installment, with its firsthand history of AIM and the siege at Wounded Knee; still, a forceful presentation of Native American life today. (Eight pages of b&w photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8021-1436-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Grove
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993




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