Oglala Women: Myth, Ritual, and Reality

Overview

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 ...

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Oglala Women: Myth, Ritual, and Reality

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Based on interviews and life histories collected over some 25 years of study on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. Considers the whole context of Oglala life: religion, economics, medicine, political life, old age. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226677491
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1988
  • Series: Women in Culture and Society Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

List of illustrations Series Editor's Foreword Preface Introduction
The Past
1. Historical Prelude Introduction Early History The Bureau of Indian Affairs
2. The Buffalo Nation The Cosmological Matrix Creation of the Universe The Sacred Pipe The Coming of the Pipe The Calf Pipe in Cultural Context
3. Wincincala: Girlhood Birth Childhood Kinship
4. Wikoškalaka: Adolescence Puberty Women's Sodalities Courtship
5. Winyan: Womanhood Marriage Kinship Terms Sodalities
6. Winunlicala: Old Age The Grandmothers Medicine Women Ritual Participation The Ghost Road
The Present
7. Growing up Oglala Government Gravy Early Education Two Cultures Courtship College Organizations
8. Making the Mark From Buffalo to Beef Earning a Living Small Business Arts and Crafts
9. It's the Men Who Are the Chiefs The Tribal Council Women Chiefs Activist Women Law and Order
10. Hard Times Sickness and Health The Compound Battered Women The Pitiable
11. All My Relations
Christianity and Traditionalism
Yuwipi
12. Sex Roles and Social Structure Myth and Reality Something Old, Something New Notes References Index

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