Pretty Shield (Magill's Choice: American Indian Biographies, Revised Edition)
Article abstract: Pretty Shield was a prominent Crow medicine woman whose firsthand account of life on the plains before white settlement became a classic in Native American studies.
Born to Kills-in-the-Night and renowned warrior Crazy-Sister-in-Law, Pretty Shield was the fourth of eleven children. When she was three years old, her mother, a Mountain Crow, sent her away to be raised by a widowed aunt, Strikes-with-an-Ax, a River Crow woman who had lost her two young daughters. Because the survival of the Crow people was tied to the migration of the buffalo, Crow clans moved often. The nomadic nature of tribal life limited contact between Mountain and River Crow communities, and Pretty Shield saw her natural mother only the few times each year when the two clans met.
Strikes-with-an-Ax proved to be a wise mentor for Pretty Shield and taught her what was expected of all Crow women: how to set up lodges, cook, dress skins, and dig for roots, among other duties. Following in the footsteps of her grandmother, a respected healer, Pretty Shield also learned about the curative properties of herbs. Her own calling as a medicine woman was affirmed when she had her first medicine dream after the death of one of her children.
Although Pretty Shield enjoyed a happy childhood, life on the plains was often precarious, and war with other tribes was a constant threat. Led by chief Plenty Coups, the Crow engaged in skirmishes with...
(The entire section is 532 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!