Honor the Grandmothers: Dakota and Lakota Women Tell Their Stories

Honor the Grandmothers: Dakota and Lakota Women Tell Their Stories

by Sarah Penman

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Honor the Grandmothers: Dakota and Lakota Women Tell Their Stories, editor Sarah Penman, a journalist who reports on the experiences of Native Americans, preserves four oral histories that contribute to our understanding of Indian life past and present. According to tradition, it is the responsibility of Dakota and Lakota grandmothers to teach tribal history. During the course of their long lives, the four women--Celane Not Help Him, Stella Pretty Sounding Flute, Cecilia Hernandez Montgomery and Iola Columbus--witnessed tremendous change in the circumstances of their peoples (e.g., Celane Not Help Him recalls the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890), which Penman presents with grace and respect. (Jan. 5) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Through the voices of four Lakota/Dakota women, Sarah Penman introduces readers to the oral histories of valiant Native American women. Celane Not Help Him is the granddaughter of Iron Hill, who was a survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn and the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. Celane helped organize a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the massacre. She also served as a volunteer disc jockey at a local radio station serving her people. Those are just a few facts she relates about her struggle as a Native American woman living on a reservation, striving to keep alive her tribal traditions and trying to maintain a positive attitude right up to her death at age 69 in 1998. Likewise, Stella Pretty Sounding Flute, an activist for peace and the protection of indigenous areas, relates stories of her life growing up on a reservation in South Dakota. She discusses her concerns about the devastation caused by drugs and alcohol upon her people, calling this a silent massacre. Nevertheless, through her faith and native traditions she has found strength to work and create hundreds of star quilts full of Native American symbolism Cecilia Hernandez Montgomery from the Pine Ridge Reservation has worked as a community organizer in Rapid City, South Dakota, securing better housing and social services for Native Americans. She works even now in her eighties to bring stories and Lakota traditions to young people in elementary schools. Iola Columbus of the Dakota tribe was the first woman in Minnesota to be elected to a tribal chair. She founded a Grandmothers' Society to encourage older women to pass on traditions and ceremonies not only to Native Americans, but also to interpret them for otherAmericans. She continued her strong concern for continuing these traditions until her death in 1997. Through the words of these strong women who faced unending prejudice from school days onward, readers can sense the power of a people struggling to maintain their culture in the midst of a rapidly changing society, yet still hopeful in the face of tremendous pressures. Penman has added a valuable set of oral histories to Native American and women's studies. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 147p, illus, 19cm, 00-021324, $14.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Mary T. Gerrity; Retired Libn. Upper Marlboro, MD, May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The four oral histories presented in this attractive volume pay homage to elder women who quietly serve as community and political activists within the Lakota-Dakota Nation. The book tells their stories of service in the grandmother's traditional role of cultural carrier--imbuing children with respect for the language, medicinal lore, and spiritual beliefs of the people. Thoughtfully edited by photographer/reporter Penman, these accounts were originally broadcast as a 1993 radio documentary. The result is an excellent companion to Mary Brave Bird's American Book Award-winning Ohitika Woman (Harperperennial, 1994. reprint). Recommended for most public and academic libraries.--Nancy Turner, New Mexico State Univ. Lib., Las Cruces Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Minnesota Historical Society Press
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6.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)

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