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Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women Paperback – August 24, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

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Author and activist Mankiller has garnered the thoughts of 19 Native women on questions such as the meaning of spirituality, the importance of sovereignty, and what it means to be an indigenous woman today. Mankiller chose her participants well, for these women--a physician, an attorney, ranchers, professors of American Indian studies, an urban planner, a cultural anthropologist, artists, poets, musicians, and an Onondaga Clan Mother--really do have something to say. Spirituality, which connects all indigenous peoples, means respect for the earth and all living things. Land is crucial to all tribes, as shown by the Dann sisters, Shoshone ranchers struggling to defend the sacred ceremonial grounds of their ancestors, and Sarah James, who fights for her Gwich'in tribal rights to protect caribou birthing grounds from oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Profound yet simple words from strong women working hard to perpetuate their culture, and who have a lot to share, and who need to be heard. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


...Let us welcome home in ourselves, and in the world, the wisdom of the strong. -- Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple

...invoked the articulate and compelling voices of contemporary Native Women... -- Richard West, Director, National Museum of American Indian

...like sitting down with a wise group of women friends who are generous enough to share life’s lessons... -- Marlo Thomas, actor and activist

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing; 1St Edition edition (August 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555915167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555915162
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,108,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Wilma Mankiller (November 18, 1945 - April 6, 2010) was an author, activist, and former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. Her roots were planted deep in the rural community of Mankiller Flats in Adair County, Oklahoma where she spent most of her life. She has been honored with many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and received honorary doctorate degrees from such esteemed institutions as Yale University, Dartmouth College, and Smith College. Ms. Mankiler is the author of Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, and coedited A Readerís Companion to the History of Women in the U.S. Wilma Mankiller lived on the Mankiller family allotment with her husband, Charlie Soap.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By D. Needell on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Wilma Mankiller, along with a distinguished and talented cast of other Indian women, have created a book to savor in Every Day is a Good Day. Their highly individual perspectives on spirituality, history, culture, and womanhood should appeal to men as well as women and people of all cultures. The book dispels a number of myths long held by non-Indians who may be well-meaning but poorly informed. As a woman, I was heartened by the indigenous woman's sense of herself as integral to the community, equal to the men of her tribe, happy being "brown and round" rather than caught up with negative body images and the superficial, youth-oriented and consumer-driven culture of much of mainstream America. Every writer speaks of the damage to indigenous culture wreaked by Eurocentric domination, but at the same time, these women offer a resilient, proud, and surprisingly optimistic view of today and tomorrow.

This is a book to keep on hand next to your favorite chair or on your night stand. It is not literary fast food but a deep and expansive collection of thoughts to read and contemplate a chapter at a time.

The book concludes with a photo and brief bio of each of the contributing women. I had a sense of familiarity with them because of their words, but their messages also taught me that I would be arrogant to think that I "knew" them. Having lived all my fifty years in the West, never more than an hour away from an Indian reservation, I thought I knew a lot about indigenous culture, but Every Day is a Good Day gave me an articulate yet gentle comeuppance. The writers reveal nuances of Native American culture. They also celebrate the profound joy to be found in life, a joy that is available for people of any religion or ethnic group.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Composed and compiled by author, activist and former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation Wilma Mankiller, Every Day Is A Good Day is an anthology of writings by Native American women reflecting on such varied topics as day-to-day life, love and acceptance, governmental issues, ceremony, finding one's way through difficult times, and much more. Black-and-white photographs of the contributors are included, but the primary focus of Every Day Is A Good Day is the power of the multitude of voices, most of which are from different tribes, and each one's message to all readers. A welcome amalgamation of wisdom, warnings, and dry commentary.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on January 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Imagine yourself sitting quietly in a comfortable furnished room. Imagine a circle of women in the center of that room, of all different shapes, sizes, and ages, but with one obvious thing in common: they are all indigenous women, Native American Indians from assorted tribes. Though their languages may be different, their backgrounds and experiences varied, and the specifics of their cultures and traditions unique, they are united in their deep belief that the success of their tribes, as well as of the Earth itself, depends upon preserving their languages and cultures and working to save the land itself.

Now you can stop imagining. To hear what these women have to say, all you have to do is pick up Wilma Mankiller's incredible book, Every Day is a Good Day.

Mankiller interviewed nineteen indigenous women who, in the author's own words, "...made a conscious choice to lead a meaningful life by building on the positive attributes of their communities instead of focusing only on the daunting set of economic and social problems that they deal with daily."

This collection of essays is thematically organized. Mankiller has divided Every Day is a Good Day into chapters based on such subjects as ceremony, womanhood, and love and acceptance. She begins each chapter with a short introduction, providing the reader with a background for the conversation to come, as well as her own personal experience and ideas concerning it. Only then does Mankiller weave the words of the various women together to create a conversation-like atmosphere. Although not together physically when interviewed, Mankiller masterfully brings their words together to create a circle of women talking and sharing their views on life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Klemm on June 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...as Native people to know where they came from, where they are from. I wish I could say the same. My Euro ancestors are not from here; we came with economic exploitation in mind and continue doing so today regardless of the wealth of information out there that tells us we are doing the wrong thing. In spite of the horrors visited upon Natives by white people (which unfortunately continue today) there is a grounding which gives these women a sense of purpose and place, an understanding of their relationship with the larger earth community, and most importantly, they are home. It is my hope that the Native peoples grow in power and influence as I believe they will rise as the true leaders of this land and bring us back to sanity. White people owe them a debt which will not, cannot, ever be repaid. And that's the shame we have to live with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Debbie K on August 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book at a native american museum while traveling through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. It was a great book to read while savoring the stunning scenery of jagged peaks, meadows and buffalo herds. These women provide a model of inspiration and admiration on how to live; in tune with extended family, the larger community and the environment. I found their way of thinking similar in many ways to Buddhism; being mindful and loving in how one interacts with the world and people around them. Before reading this, I was grateful to have read A Different Mirror by Takaki which taught me the real history of America, not the whitewashed version we learned in school. How is it we never learned about the Trail of Tears in grade school?? This is a wonderful book which I will treasure!
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