Indigenous Activism profiles eighteen American Indian women of the twentieth century who distinguished themselves through their political activism. Authors analyze the colorful careers of selected Indigenous women of North America during the last century, including Ramona Bennet, Mary Crow Dog, Ada Deer, LaDonna Harris, Wilma Mankiller, Alyce Spotted Bear, Irene Toledo, Marie Potts, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, Harriette Shelton Dover, Lucy Covington, Dolly Smith Cusker Akers, Leslie Marmon Silko, Bea Medicine, and Elizabeth Cook-Lynn.
Clifford Trafzer is distinguished professor of history and Rupert Costo chair in American Indian affairs at the University of California, Riverside.
Donna Akers is associate professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Amanda Wixon is Ph.D. candidate at University of California, Riverside.
Chapter 1: Red Power in the Northwest: Ramona Bennet
Chapter 2: It Isn’t Easy: Mary Crow Dog
Chapter 3: Power of Voice, Power of Land: Ada Deer
Chapter 4: Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee Activist: Suzan Shown Harjo
Chapter 5: Strikes With Puha—Power! LaDonna Harris
Chapter 6: Tribal Community and National Activist: Wilma Mankiller
Chapter 7: Numakshi Mihe, The Lead Woman of the Three Affiliated Tribes: Alyce Spotted Bear
Chapter 8: Navajo Judge, Crownpoint District: Irene Toledo
Chapter 9: “In Unity There Is Strength,” Writer and Activist: Marie Potts
Chapter 10: Cultural Activist: Zitkala-Ša, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin
Chapter 11: Where is Victory? Harriette Shelton Dover
Chapter 12: Ending Termination in Indian Country: Lucy Covington
Chapter 13: Good Hearted Woman: Cecilia Fire Thunder
Chapter 14: The Necessary Evil: Dolly Smith Cusker Akers
Chapter 15: Champion of the National Congress of the American Indian: Ruth Muskrat Bronson
Chapter 16: Seeking Justice through Storytelling: Leslie Marmon Silko
Chapter 17: Native American Scholar Activist: Bea Medicine
Chapter18: Literary Activist, Political Voice of Native America: Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Much has been written of late on the role that Native American women have played in preserving ancestral homelands and lifeways. This beautifully constructed collection of essays is unique for its focus on the modern era, when an array of new threats to indigenous America caused Native women to employ both old and new sources of power to advance the welfare of their peoples. Rich in Native stories and voices, this volume should be required reading for all those seeking a deeper understanding of contemporary Indian affairs.
If you want to know why Indian women are strong, read this book. This valuable collection of insightful biographies shares the lives of resilient Indigenous women. They fought for their people’s rights and communities during the twentieth century, while the general public believed that Indians were a 'vanishing race.' These women are role models for everyone, and this powerful volume earns new respect for American Indian women.
The Native women profiled in this collection show the vibrancy and power of indigenous women as leaders and activists engaged in preserving, recovering, and shaping their cultures and communities. These women's efforts and strategies were not only indispensable to their peoples, but were also inspirational and instructive for American Indian activism and resistance, past and present, in the continuing fight against assimilation and cultural genocide.
Indigenous Activism offers an important addition to the story of twentieth-century Native American women activism. The profiles illuminate their leadership in numerous organizations, in tribal governments, and as cultural bearers. Further, it demonstrates that motivating Native American women activists is concern for future of family and tribal nation.