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
"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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