Woman walking ahead: in search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull

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University of New Mexico Press, Aug 14, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 360 pages
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This book restores a little-known advocate of Indian rights to her place in history. In June 1889, a widowed Brooklyn artist named Catherine Weldon traveled to the Standing Rock Reservation in Dakota Territory to help Sitting Bull hold onto land that the government was trying to wrest from his people. Since the Sioux chieftain could neither read nor write English, he welcomed the white womanas offer to act as his secretary and lobbyist. Her efforts were counterproductive; she was ordered to leave the reservation, and the Standing Rock Sioux were bullied into signing away their land. But she returned with her teen-age son, settling at Sitting Bullas camp on the Grand River. In recognition of her unusual qualities, Sitting Bullas people called her "Toka heya mani win," Woman Walking Ahead.

Predictably, the press vilified Weldon, calling her aSitting Bullas white squawa and accusing her of inciting Sitting Bull to join the Ghost Dance religion then sweeping the West. In fact, Weldon opposed the movement, arguing that the army would use the Ghost dance as an excuse to jail or kill Sitting Bull. Unfortunately she was right.

Up to now, history has distorted and largely overlooked Weldonas story. In retracing Weldonas steps, Eileen Pollack recovers her life and compares her world to our own. Weldonas moving struggle is a classic example of the misunderstandings that can occur when a white woman attempts to build friendships across cultural lines and assist the members of an oppressed minority fighting for their rights.

aA wonderful poignance, a bittersweetness, the haunting loneliness of the plains hangs over this asearcha . . . a fascinating project.a--Peter Nabokov

aA fascinatingstory, well told and engaging. It will be eagerly embraced in the area of womenas studies and will find interested readers in history and anthropology, as well as a large general audience.a-Raymond DeMallie

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Woman walking ahead: in search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Catherine Weldon was one of a small group of advocates in the late 19th century who believed that Native Americans should be free to live on their lands in the traditional manner. She traveled from ... Read full review

Review: Woman Walking Ahead: In Search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull

User Review  - Sherri Anderson - Goodreads

This was a very good book. Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Eileen Pollack is a member of the MFA faculty of the Department of English at the University of Michigan. She is the author of a collection of short fiction, "The Rabbi in the Attic, " and a novel, "Paradise, New York".