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Woman Walking Ahead: In Search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull Hardcover – August 14, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Catherine Weldon was one of a small group of advocates in the late 19th century who believed that Native Americans should be free to live on their lands in the traditional manner. She traveled from her native Brooklyn to the Dakota Territory in an effort to help Sitting Bull retain his land. In this study, Pollack (English, Univ. of Michigan) isn't sure whether to tell Weldon's story or to recount her search for information on Weldon but finally opts for the latter. The result is not entirely successful. Specialists will be disappointed at the casual footnoting and the lack of analytical rigor. General readers will appreciate that Pollack tries to enliven her text by suggesting what her characters might have said or done (though without providing a sound basis for her suppositions), but they will weary of the details of microfilm read. This is unfortunate, for Pollack makes it clear that enough material exists for a solid history of an aspect of the Indian rights movement that has received scant attention. For large public and academic libraries that support detailed field research. Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


". . Pollack shows us that in the Victorian era, Weldon did indeed walk ahead of her time." (Gateway Heritage)

"It is a fascinating historical side trip and a detective story full of false leads, tantilizing clues, and ultimate satisfaction." (The Explorers Journal)

". . . this account is fascinating." (Great Plains Quarterly)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press; 1st edition (August 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082632844X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826328441
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #859,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eileen Pollack is the author of the novels Breaking and Entering (a New York Times Editor's Choice selection) and Paradise, New York, as well as two collections of short fiction, an award-winning book of nonfiction, and two creative-nonfiction textbooks. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays and Best American Short Stories. She is a professor on the faculty of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. She divides her time between Manhattan and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Photo credit Michele McDonald.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This beautiful work reminds me of one of my favorite books of all time, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Like Anne Fadiman, Eileen Pollack has an amazing sense of structure and of the important, risky, daring questions to ask. She confronts what others might shy away from, and she makes sense of it all for us. I loved learning about the brave and almost-forgotten Catherine Weldon.
Some of the key questions raised for me by this book are: what does it mean to be an insider, or an outsider, in a particular group or in a country? Does the outsider have any possibility of understanding/aiding/participating in another culture? How do we help or harm each other? Which tragedies are preventable, and which inevitable, and why? Pollack seems to show the same courage and dedication as her subject -- Sitting Bull's great-great-granddaughter invited her to participate in ceremonies not usually open to outsiders. Her trust is well repaid by this remarkable book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book about a volatile era in American history, the late 1880's/early 1890's when the Federal Government under the Dawes Act expropriated American Indians of millions of acres of land that had been guaranteed to them by the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty for "as long as the wind blows and the grass grows". The book details the live and experiences of a 19th century civil rights activist, Caroline Weldon, whose efforts to help the Sioux nation ended up her getting libeled by the establishment. The book incorrectly names her as Catherine Weldon - her correct name, as documented in her own writings and the period media is Caroline Weldon. Eileen Pollack meticulously researched and documented the few known facts about Mrs Weldon - other than the media citations and her own writing very little was known about her. The author did a great service to the American public by bringing the facts to the fore.
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