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

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University of New Mexico Press, 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 travelled 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 woman's 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 Bull's camp on the Grand River. In recognition of her unusual qualities, Sitting Bull's people called her Toka heya mani win, 'Woman Walking Ahead'. Predictably, the press vilified Weldon, calling her 'Sitting Bull's white squaw' 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.

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

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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


CHAPTER ONE Leaving Brooklyn
CHAPTER TWO A Strange Apparition
CHAPTER THREE In the World Celestial

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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.

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