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In this edited volume, Theda Perdue, a nationally known expert on Indian history and southern women's history, offers a rich collection of biographical essays on Native American women. From Pocahontas, a Powhatan woman of the seventeenth century, to Ada Deer, the Menominee woman who headed the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 1990s, the essays span four centuries. Each one recounts the experiences of women from vastly different cultural traditions--the hunting and gathering of Kumeyaay culture of Delfina Cuero, the pueblo society of San Ildefonso potter Maria Martinez, and the powerful matrilineal kinship system of Molly Brant's Mohawks. Contributors focus on the ways in which different women have fashioned lives that remain firmly rooted in their identity as Native women. Perdue's introductory essay ties together the themes running through the biographical sketches, including the cultural factors that have shaped the lives of Native women, particularly economic contributions, kinship, and belief, and the ways in which historical events, especially in United States Indian policy, have engendered change.
"A masterful collection. Clearly and concisely leads the reader through the varied and changing environments which these women faced, and whets the appitite for further inquiry into this fascinating subject. Any student of Native American life will benefit from reading this book."--IndigenousNations Studies Journal
"A very useful adjunct to an American history survey course. A welcome addition to the rapidly growing body of literature on Native American women."--Western Historical Quarterly