The Spirit of Indian Women provides a unique glimpse into a world that is almost inaccessible in our time. Through the combined power of photos, art, and the wisdom of traditional voices, modern readers can come to feel something of the timeless spirit of Indian women.
One of the great callings of art is to excavate a lost part of our culture, and the Fitzgeralds answer this summons handsomely here in a compact exploration of Native American women's spirituality. Focusing on the nomadic Plains tribes, the book pairs writings and oratory alongside stunning photographs, most of which have never been published before. The editors hold fast to those individuals who received their (oral) training from the "old timers," people who knew the pre-reservation way of life that honored women as the complementary, spiritual equals of their husbands. A section on the role of Indian women offers mostly male voices on that topic, while "Celestial Femininity" preserves tribal tales that delve into divine femininity, and "Intercessors with the Sacred" highlights traditional tribal stories that champion the sacred roles of women. In "Women's Voices," happily encompassing half of the book, we read the exquisite thoughts and feelings of bygone women from a lost time in American history. In portrait after portrait, the souls of the women haunt the frontiers of the human spirit with a staunch beauty that is both refined and raw. The wisdom in these faces is alone well worth the price of the book.