They Call Me Agnes: A Crow Narrative Based on the Life of Agnes Yellowtail Deernose

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In They Call Me Agnes, the narrator, Agnes Deernose, provides a warm, personal view of Crow Indian family life and culture.

Fred Voget, anthropologist and adopted Crow, sets the stage for Agnes’s story, which he compiled from extensive interviews with Agnes and her friends. He describes the origins of the Crows and their culture during buffalo-hunting days and early reservation life. Through Agnes, an elderly Crow woman, he also reveals changes wrought on this once far-ranging, ...

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Overview

In They Call Me Agnes, the narrator, Agnes Deernose, provides a warm, personal view of Crow Indian family life and culture.

Fred Voget, anthropologist and adopted Crow, sets the stage for Agnes’s story, which he compiled from extensive interviews with Agnes and her friends. He describes the origins of the Crows and their culture during buffalo-hunting days and early reservation life. Through Agnes, an elderly Crow woman, he also reveals changes wrought on this once far-ranging, independent tribe by twentieth-century forces.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anthropologist Fred Voget first met Agnes Deernose in 1939, when he taught school on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Since then, he has made repeated visits to the reservation, conducting extensive interviews with Agnes and her family. Here he provides background, then lets her speak. Agnes's narrative reveals her remarkable adjustment to two cultures. She and her husband, Donnie, fluent in English and active in the Baptist church, still retained Crow traditions, integrating them with religion, family and social activities. Agnes describes her childhood in an extended family and gives us a glimpse of a woman's life in Crow culture, as well as a good sense of the culture's yearly rhythm. Agnes has made a valuable contribution to Indian ethnography. Illustrations. (Mar.)
KLIATT
A picture of an especially engaged family life emerges from this personal reminiscence of a Crow Indian woman, covering 1910 to the present. It is part of a cross-cultural study of world societies done by the Anthropology Department of Yale University. The author, in the introduction, states, "In the description of Crow culture, I have concentrated on the origins and nature of the sacred and on how the Crow organized their society for the management of sacred power to ease and control life's hardships and challenges." Except for the introduction, this is not a scholarly treatise. The voices of Agnes Deernose and her husband Donnie (who died before the study was completed) are heard; the story is warm and personal. Agnes talks about her extended family, her faith (Baptist/Native American) and what day-to-day life on the reservation has been like during this century. Readers see the love of games and sports and the traditional medical care. Throughout there is a strong thread of anxiety about how to fit in with white culture—the need to get an education, the acquisition of automobiles, the expectation that they wear "white" clothes—and the need to maintain the rituals of family and religious life, such as adoptions, giveaways, dances, and feasts. This is a careful piece of work in which the authors illuminate the culture and, though they are not Indian themselves, do not generalize or patronize. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1995, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 220p. illus. bibliog. index., $14.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Edna M. Boardman; Minot, ND , September 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 5)
Booknews
The primary narrator, Agnes Deernose, offers a personable, straightforward story of Crow Indian family life and culture, from her own birth and childhood, as related to her, to cultural lore and the changes that she witnessed since about 1910. Voget (anthropology, Southern Illinois U.) provides a historical introduction to Crow and reservation culture. B&w photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806133195
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 5/15/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.35 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Fred W. Voget, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, was the author of The Shoshoni-Crow Sundance, also published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Preface xi
Introduction xv
Chapter 1 Historic Crow and Reservation Culture 3
Chapter 2 I'm Born a Crow Indian 35
Chapter 3 My Family and Relatives 49
Chapter 4 Growing Up 65
Chapter 5 School, Education, and Church 93
Chapter 6 Courtship and Marriage 115
Chapter 7 Life Without Donnie, The Complete Bear 154
Chapter 8 Celebrating the Year Together 168
Bibliography 203
Index 213
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