Oglala Women: Myth, Ritual, and Reality

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University of Chicago Press, Jan 15, 2010 - Social Science - 258 pages
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Based on interviews and life histories collected over more than twenty-five years of study on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, Marla N. Powers conveys what it means to be an Oglala woman. Despite the myth of the Euramerican that sees Oglala women as inferior to men, and the Lakota myth that seems them as superior, in reality, Powers argues, the roles of male and female emerge as complementary. In fact, she claims, Oglala women have been better able to adapt to the dominant white culture and provide much of the stability and continuity of modern tribal life. This rich ethnographic portrait considers the complete context of Oglala life—religion, economics, medicine, politics, old age—and is enhanced by numerous modern and historical photographs.


"It is a happy event when a fine scholarly work is rendered accessible to the general reader, especially so when none of the complexity of the subject matter is sacrificed. Oglala Women is a long overdue revisionary ethnography of Native American culture."—Penny Skillman, San Francisco Chronicle Review

"Marla N. Powers's fine study introduced me to Oglala women 'portrayed from the perspectives of Indians,' to women who did not pity themselves and want no pity from others. . . . A brave, thorough, and stimulating book."—Melody Graulich, Women's Review of Books

"Powers's new book is an intricate weaving . . . and her synthesis brings all of these pieces into a well-integrated and insightful whole, one which sheds new light on the importance of women and how they have adapted to the circumstances of the last century."—Elizabeth S. Grobsmith, Nebraska History
 

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Oglala women: myth, ritual, and reality

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Intensive life history interviews with Oglala Lakota women aged 16 to 96 living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota show Oglala women to be not subordinate to males but complementary ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
2
Historical Prelude
24
Early History
26
The Bureau of Indian Affairs
32
The Buffalo Nation
36
Creation of the Universe
37
The Sacred Pipe
43
The Coming of the Pipe
44
Courtship
121
College
124
Organizations
127
Making the Mark From Buffalo to Beef
129
Earning a Living
131
Small Business
135
Arts and Crafts
137
Its the Men Who Are the Chiefs
142

The Calf Pipe in Cultural Context
50
Wincincala Girlhood
54
Childhood
58
Kinship
63
Wikoskalaka Adolescence
67
Womens Sodalities
74
Courtship
75
Winyan Womanhood
80
Sodalities
87
Winunhcala Old Age
92
Medicine Women
97
Ritual Participation
99
The Ghost Road
101
Growing up Oglala
108
Early Education
110
Two Cultures
117
Women Chiefs
146
Activist Women
150
Law and Order
155
Hard Times
162
The Compound
167
Battered Women
174
The Pitiable
179
All My Relations
183
Yuwipi
200
Sex Roles and Social Structure
204
Something Old Something New
211
Notes
216
References
224
Index
236
Copyright

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Page xi - The key is in remembering, in what is chosen for the dream. In the silence of recovery we hold the rituals of the dawn, now as then.

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About the author (2010)

Marla N. Powers is professor of anthropology at Seton Hall University. She is also a visiting research associate of the Institute for Research on Women and an associate member of the graduate faculty in anthropology at Rutgers University.

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