by Mary Crow Dog
Mary Brave Bird grew up fatherless in a one-room cabin, without running water or electricity, on a South Dakota reservation. Rebelling against the aimless drinking, punishing missionary school, narrow strictures for women, and violence and hopelessness of reservation life, she joined the new movement of tribal pride sweeping Native American communities in the sixties and seventies and eventually married Leonard Crow Dog, the movement's chief medicine man, who revived the sacred but outlawed Ghost Dance. Lakota Woman is a unique document unparalleled in American Indian literature, a story of death, of determination against all odds, and of the cruelties perpetrated against American Indians during the last several decades. It is also a deeply moving account of a woman's triumphant struggle to survive in a hostile world.