LAKOTA WOMAN by Mary & Richard Erdoes Crow Dog


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I am a woman of the Red Nation, a Sioux woman,"" writes Mary Crow Dog. ""That is not easy."" With the help of Erdoes (coeditor, American Indian Myths and Legends, 1984, etc.), Crow Dog uses her life as an example of the humiliations and hardships of modern Indian life--but in her case, a life vindicated by the brave defiance of the American Indian Movement (AIM). She was born Mary Brave Bird, in 1953, on South Dakota's bleak Rosebud Reservation. A half-blood abandoned by her white father, she became a rebel by her teens, leaving a cruelly repressive Catholic school and an overburdened mother in order to roam the western highways with other young Indian rebels, drinking and ripping-off stores. She was 18 and pregnant when her life was changed by the rebellion at Wounded Knee. Site of a historic massacre of Indian women and children, the tiny town became an Indian fortress, defended by the modern warriors of AIM against heavily armed federal forces. Mary watched friends die at Wounded Knee, but she also gave birth there--a symbolic rebirth for her embattled people. And there she met Leonard Crow Dog, a leader and medicine man who knew the ancient ways and instilled the young warriors with pride. Leonard was arrested soon after Wounded Knee, however, and Mary had to endure a two-year legal battle to free her new husband while living in New York with her son, Pedro, and meeting famous radical lawyers like William Kunstler. Leonard is now out of prison and back at the Rosebud Reservation, devoting himself to helping his people and Mary--through the rites of the sweat lodge, the Sun Dance, and the peyote ceremony--to discover what it means to be a real Indian. A gritty, convincing document of one woman's struggle to overcome poverty and oppression in order to live in dignity as an American Indian.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1990
ISBN: 0802145426
Publisher: Grove Weidenfeld