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Me and Mine: The Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa Paperback – June 1, 1969

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An honest story of a life of integrity and genuine values, told with sensitivity." —Journal of Arizona History
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (June 1, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816502706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816502707
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
About 1270 A.D., the Anasazi (now called Ancestral Pueblo) and Fremont were forced to evacuate Utah and Colorado because of a prolonged drought that lasted several decades. Scholars have studied these peoples' ruins, pictographs, human remains and artifacts to learn more about their culture. From these reports we now know what they ate and wore, where they lived and farmed, and how they made pottery, baskets and other crafts. We also have some insight into their belief systems, family relationships and how they defended themselves. Despite all this data, there are still many unanswered questions that must be resolved. Perhaps looking at the lifestyles of some of the descendants of these people will provide a few answers. Many of today's anthropologists believe Arizona's Hopi, Pueblo and Zuni people are the descendants of the Anasazi and Fremont. Helen's touching account of her childhood in a traditional Hopi village, provides a view of practices that may have been used or originated in the Great Basin more than a thousand years ago. Her narration describes the coming of age ceremonies in the kivas, the functions of the Kachinas (Kachinavaki), her parents' discipline, farming and cooking practices and her people's belief system. Sadly it also tells of the emotional pain she experienced when she was taken from her family and forced to attend the white man's schools. Despite her many challenges, she proved remarkably resilient and later describes how she and her husband struggled to teach their children an appreciation of both cultures. There is sadness in this story but no bitterness or hatred toward the white man or his culture.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ST on June 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent resource for people who want a first-hand, authentic account of life for Native Americans in the 20th century.

This book gives an interesting perspective into the Hopi culture and the impact the outside culture has made on Helen's generation and those that followed. As a Native American, I can appreciate the struggles and triumphs that our elders had when faced with assimilation, stripping of our Native ways, and raising their families. I recommend this book for those that are seeking an intimate look into the Native American culture.
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By Buddha Baby on January 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
7.  [Me and Mine: the Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa] by [[Louise Udall]]

When I was in grad school and we were studying different ethnic groups, the American Indian Movement was the largest part of our focus, and where current student sympathies were focused.  This is really the first time I have read a biography presenting the other perspective.  This book tells the life story of a Hopi woman who, after being kidnapped and sent to government schools, embraced that white way of life and believed the stories of Christianity to be better than the old traditional Hopi stories.  She continued living on reservations, experiencing the tension between the "hostiles" and the "friendlies".  As a "friendly" she was looked down upon, judged, and treated poorly by the "hostiles".  Her husband and children became active in reservation politics and activities, holding various offices and serving as police.  In this book published by the University of Arizona Press in 1962, she is presented as a successful story of assimilation into white culture through white education.  (She attended the Phoenix Indian School.) I tend to see it more as Stockholm Syndrome, although with my  mental health training, that would be my tendency.

There is a lot of detail about daily life for the Hopi on reservations in the early 1900s which I enjoyed learning about. Lengthy descriptions of marriage rituals are intriguing, for example.  Those descriptions made this book interesting reading for me.  I was glad to hear a different side of the story, although my admiration still lies with Leonard Peltier and the AIM.  That is probably just, perhaps, due to a personal interest in revolutionaries rather than any real knowledge about these issues.
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By Reader on June 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
I won't repeat what others have already said about the cultural and historical context of this autobiography of a Hopi woman. I will say that this is a fascinating, moving, and inspiring story, told in plain, unembellished language, of the life of Helen Sekaquaptewa, who was born in 1898 in the Hopi village of Old Oraibi on the Third Mesa. In vivid detail she recounts her home life from early childhood, the conflicts brought on the tribe by government intervention, her life at the government school, tribal divisions between the "Hostiles" (hostile to the government) and the "Friendlies" (friendly to the government), her courtship and marriage, and raising 10 children (and adopting two more!). The facts of her life are interspersed with descriptions of everything from how cornmeal is prepared, to the construction of a house, the building of a bread-baking oven for preparing the unique Hopi piki bread, and many other interesting details from daily life. Throughout, her stoic tone belies the great hardships and suffering she and her family endured. She also seems to have been a person of considerable integrity, generosity, good will, and a love of learning, and that these character traits saw her through a life fraught with almost unbelievable events, and that she, together with her loving husband, was able to instill these traits in her children. This is really a fascinating story and a great read. I was moved and inspired.
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