Lakota Woman Characters

The main characters in Lakota Woman include Mary Brave Bird, Leonard Crow Dog, Annie Mae Aquash, and Barb.

  • Mary Brave Bird is the author and protagonist of the book, which traces her restless youth and her work as an activist.
  • Leonard Crow Dog is Mary's husband and a medicine man who serves as leader in the American Indian Movement.
  • Annie Mae Aquash is a friend of Mary's and another AIM activist. She disappears under suspicious circumstances.
  • Barb is Mary's sister, whose youth on the Rosebud Indian Reservation is troubled.


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Last Updated on April 29, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 522

Mary Brave Bird / Mary Crow Dog

Mary Crow Dog—later Mary Brave Bird—is a Sioux woman who was born to a white father and a Sioux mother. She grows up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where she and her five siblings are raised by their grandparents. Her story is one of self-awareness, as she struggles with her mixed-race identity amid rejection from both white and Sioux societies. She endures discrimination, rejection, loneliness, violence, abuse, and self-destructive patterns. However, she eventually finds peace and purpose through activism with the American Indian Movement. After being exposed to the white and Sioux ways of life, Mary prefers the Sioux way of living and chooses to sustain and uphold native traditions in her adult life.

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Leonard Crow Dog

Leonard Crow Dog is a traditional Sioux medicine man and AIM activist who becomes Mary’s husband. He is committed to preserving the cultural traditions of the Sioux and spends his life helping other indigenous people to organize and unite. His activism frequently lands him in legal trouble, and Mary travels the country to be near him while he is incarcerated. Leonard is very influential in Mary’s life, as he helps her identify fully with her Native American roots by teaching her about Sioux history, spirituality, and culture. Through Leonard, Mary reconciles her white and indigenous heritages and commits herself to following the traditions of the Sioux. 


Pedro is Mary’s son, who is born during the siege at Wounded Knee while Mary is supporting the AIM protest. He represents the completion of Mary’s transition from aimless adolescence to purposeful adulthood, as his birth coincides with Mary’s commitment to furthering the indigenus cause. 

The Catholic Nuns

The Catholic nuns work at the mission school on the reservation, which Mary is forced to attend. Mary and other indigenous children at the school...

(The entire section contains 522 words.)

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