Study Guide

Lakota Woman

by Mary Brave Bird, Richard Erdoes

Lakota Woman Summary

Summary (Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Lakota Woman describes Mary Crow Dog’s life from her birth in 1953 to the early 1970’s. Daughter of a full-blooded Lakota mother and a white father, Crow Dog was reared by her mother on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in tiny He Dog, South Dakota. She is a member of the Brule (Burned Thigh) or Sichangu Tribe, one of seven that constitute the Lakota (also known as Sioux) Nation. Before identifying herself with the American Indian Movement (AIM), she attended a grim and repressive Catholic school and lived a marginal existence as a shoplifter. The central events in her biography described in Lakota Woman are her participation in the AIM Trail of Broken Treaties March on Washington in 1972; her participation in the siege of Wounded Knee in 1973, where she gave birth to her son Pedro in April; and her involvement with the Native American church.

Lakota Woman interweaves Mary’s public story as an AIM Indian and her private story as a half-Native American woman whose troubled life exemplifies the lives of many Native Americans. As a historical account Lakota Woman is cheerfully biased and unsupported by documentation, but the drama of Mary’s story and her confident voice make the book a convincing portrait of her identity as a Native American woman.

Richard Erdoes, Mary Crow Dog’s collaborator, pieced together Lakota Woman and its sequel, Ohitika Woman (1993), out of audiotaped...

(The entire section is 407 words.)

Lakota Woman Bibliography (Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Suggested Readings

Brave Bird, Mary, and Richard Erdoes. Ohitika Woman. New York: Grove Press, 1993.

Fire, John, and Richard Erdoes. Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972.

Matthiessen, Peter. In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. New York: Viking, 1991.

Means, Russell. Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995.

Wexler, Rex. Blood of the Land: The Government and Corporate War Against First Nations. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1992.