Waheenee (Magill's Choice: American Indian Biographies, Revised Edition)
Article abstract: Waheenee was a Hidatsa woman who related her autobiography during the early twentieth century.
Waheenee described her personal experience in the agricultural society of the Hidatsa, one of the settled, agricultural tribes of the Great Plains. The Hidatsas hunted buffalo, grew crops, and lived in earthen lodges in settled villages on the Upper Missouri River. Her grandmother was a child when Meriwether Lewis and William Clark arrived in 1804 and wintered across the Knife River from the thriving Five Villages of Hidatsas and Mandans. Later, an 1834 attack by the Dakota and a smallpox epidemic in 1837 devastated the Hidatsas and Mandans.
In 1906, Gilbert Wilson, a graduate student in anthropology, arrived at Fort Berthold Reservation when Waheenee was in her sixties. Waheenee and her brother Wolf Chief told Wilson about their experiences, and Waheenee's son George Goodbird translated their stories into English. Waheenee had learned many of her stories from her great-grandmother White Corn and her grandmother Turtle. Waheenee lost her biological mother when she was six but still had three mothers, as her father had married four sisters, and her grandmother raised her.
Waheenee called herself a contented Indian girl who had been obedient to her mothers. She pointed out that while she had always had plenty of work to do, she still had time to rest and visit friends and “was not given tasks beyond my...
(The entire section is 461 words.)
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