The bestselling memoir of a Native American woman’s struggles and the life she found in activism: “courageous, impassioned, poetic and inspirational” (Publishers Weekly).
Mary Brave Bird grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota in a one-room cabin without running water or electricity. With her white father gone, she was left to endure “half-breed” status amid the violence, machismo, and aimless drinking of life on the reservation. Rebelling against all this—as well as a punishing Catholic missionary school—she became a teenage runaway.
Mary was eighteen and pregnant when the rebellion at Wounded Knee happened in 1973. Inspired to take action, she joined the American Indian Movement to fight for the rights of her people. Later, she married Leonard Crow Dog, the AIM’s chief medicine man, who revived the sacred but outlawed Ghost Dance.
Originally published in 1990, Lakota Woman was a national bestseller and winner of the American Book Award. It is a story 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.
Mary Brave Bird gave birth to a son during the 71-day siege of Wounded Knee in 1973, which ended with a bloody assault by U.S. marshalls and police. Seventeen years old at the time, she married fellow activist Leonard Crow Dog, medicine man and spiritual leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM). Written with Erdoes ( Lame Deer ; Seeker of Visions ), her searing autobiography is courageous, impassioned, poetic and inspirational. Her girlhood, a vicious circle of drinking and fighting, was marked by poverty, racism and a rape at 14. She ran away from a coldly impersonal boarding school run by nuns where, she reports, Indian students were beaten to induce them to give up native customs and speech. The authors write of AIM's infiltration by FBI agents, of Mary Crow Dog helping her husband endure prison, of Indian males' macho attitudes. The book also describes AIM's renewal of spirituality as manifested in sweat lodges, peyote ceremonies, sacred songs and the Ghost Dance ritual. Photos.