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Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women Paperback – Deluxe Edition, May 1, 2011
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The late Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation, had conversations with 19 indigenous female educators, healers, attorneys, artists, musicians, elders, scientists, and activists over a period of several years, and here, they discuss issues facing modern Native American communities from a woman’s perspective. Through oral history, discussion, vignettes, and stories, they relate how they led meaningful lives by building on positive attributes of their communities and consider such subjects as ceremony, governance, womanhood, love and acceptance, and home and community. This edition has been published in honor of Mankiller’s memory.” Book News Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Throughout the book, the speakers come back again and again to the idea that what sets Native Americans apart, and is their hope for survival and renewal, is their world-view. They do not see themselves as single units in a world of single units. Instead, they are all connected.to their families, their tribes, their ancestors, the plants and animals that live around them; indeed, with the very Earth itself. The speakers agree that preserving this world-view, which includes their traditional languages and cultures, is crucial to their health as individuals and communities as well as the health of the Earth we all live on.
One of my favorite sections was the one entitled "Womanhood." The women spoke of traditional women within the context of family, community, nation, and care of the planet. They celebrated the important role women have played in traditional societies historically, as well as looking ahead and advising the women concerning the responsibilities they must take on in order to bring about harmony and balance again. Some of women point out that a woman.s identity cannot be separated from the land itself; neither can it be seen in isolation, disconnected from the community, or from the women who came before and taught them how to experience life.
In the last chapter of Every Day is a Good Day, "The Way Home," the women discuss what lies ahead for them, their communities, and the planet. To them, these are not separate entities; rather, they come together to form a greater whole. The three things that keep coming up again and again throughout the chapter are language, culture, and connection to everyone and everything that is a part of the Earth. The women do not deny the huge social and economical issues that Native Americans face. They do, however, strive to look at them in a positive way, searching for solutions rather than floundering in self-pity or anger.
Overall, I enjoyed Every Day is a Good Day very much, especially the contributions by Mankiller herself. She shines through as a strong, deeply caring and committed individual who has faced many battles in many different aspects of her life. This is a book that should be kept near at hand, to be picked up and paged through often, highlighter and pen in hand. We can all learn something from the wisdom and perseverance of these deeply spiritual and highly committed women.
by Khadijah Lacina
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
This gives several contemporary indigenous women's views on many subjects.
A real look into the culture and thinking of these women.
There is much wisdom in this volume. There is much we could learn, especially about the care of the earth.
Recommend to anyone interested in indigenous culture or who wants learn about this culture.