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Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of the Community (Penguin's Library of American Indian History) Hardcover – February 16, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this latest volume in the Penguin Library of American Indian History, Child addresses the unique role women have played in the community life of her nation, the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation of northern Minnesota. She begins with a history of Ojibwe culture in the Great Lakes area since the late eighteenth-century, when women served as intermediaries with the European newcomers, especially fur traders. In the reservation era, women were called on to “hold things together,” as the move to reservations disrupted the politics and resources of the Ojibwe people, forcing them to make difficult decisions as each treaty with the U.S. and Canada was signed. Child addresses the travesty of Indian boarding schools, focusing on the one started near Mount Pleasant, Michigan, in 1893 on sacred Ojibwe burial grounds. She concludes with the post-WWII Ojibwe migration to Minneapolis, where women quickly adopted leadership positions in activist groups. Child offers a penetrating look into how crucial Ojibwe women have been over the last two centuries in holding the Ojibwe Nation together against forces threatening to tear it apart. --Deborah Donovan

Review

 "Brenda Child's moving portrayal of the often unrecognized but pivotal roles Ojibwe women played in community survival is, in its determination to record truth, itself an act of leadership--of intellectual sovereignty." — Kimberly Blaeser, author of Apprenticed to Justice

"An important, pathbreaking book, not merely a powerful corrective to books that focus on Indian males, but also a powerful corrective to the scholarship on Indian women largely written by non-Indian women."
Jacqueline Peterson, Washington State University-Vancouver

"Not only does [Child] describe how and why Ojibwe women were essential to the survival of their culture and community, through her scholarship she demonstrates how this work is being accomplished today." — John Borrows, University of Minnesota
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin's Library of American Indian History
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (February 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670023248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670023240
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A captivating historical presentation of the Ojibwe women in communities that settled the Great Lakes area of the United States, this book by Ms. Child is a chronicle of change and survival. She chronicles family and physical changes in geography from early settlements, to fur trading, to reservations, culminating with urban migration. An important view for women's studies, this collection of research demonstrates how the Ojibwe women, with children in tow, took charge of the wild rice economy, became interpreters and wives of fur traders, and entered into industrial occupations even as their tribal ways were diminishing. The women "inhabited a world in which the earth was gendered female, and they played powerful roles as healers. They organized labor within their community and held property rights over water, making decisions and controlling an essential part of the seasonal economy."

Ms. Child presents an easy to read historical perspective that highlights the Ojibwe's perseverance and struggle for cultural survival from the 1800's, to present day urban migration. This tribal community, like many others, found itself victimized by treaties never honored, pushed onto reservations of dwindling sizes, and taxed unfairly as other "predators" wished them gone. The author presents the data and historical documents to back up her claims.

"Even the earliest Ojibwe women who married European fur traders worked to maintain the relationships... and 'remained consonant with indigenous behavioral standards,' because their children, extended family, and community depended on the ability of traders to procure goods and services and affirm alliances with indigenous people of the Great Lakes region." (p.
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Format: Paperback
I cannot tell you how fascinating I Find this book. First of all, I think it is an excellent history of the Ojibwe of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. I was woefully ignorant of their history. Secondly, I love the focus of the women's role in the economy and community leadership. I'll be re-reading this book and scouring the bibliography for more reading material.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Objibwe nation is fortunate to have many excellent spokespersons for them who are also teachers and writers. Brenda Child falls into this category and also covers a specific subject (the women of the Objibwe) with thorough research and a very readable book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first encountered this book while staying with family in the Southwest. But I was raised in Michigan and delighted to read a scholarly account of its native culture. You'll feel good about the read and supporting the author's efforts.
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Format: Paperback
The research is well written. It was very informative. Easy to read and getting ready read the second time. I highly recomend this book for interested in the history of the Ojibwe people.
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