Monday, February 15, 2016
Native American female voices
I recently read Gloria Steinem's memoir My Life on the Road, and in this book, she discusses her friendship with Wilma Mankiller, who was the first female chief of the Cherokee nation, and herself a highly inspirational and courageous person. Mankiller edited and compiled various contemporary indigenous women's voices in her book entitled Every Day is a Good Day. She asked women from different Native American backgrounds to comment on a variety of core themes, such as spirituality, sovereignty, love, traditions, and governance. From ranchers and doctors, lawyers and activists, professors and artists, Mankiller captures a breadth of voices and in doing so, certain themes become illuminated, such as the importance of cultural survival, the emphasis on maintaining knowledge to pass on to future generations, the oppression and silencing of Native American culture, and the importance of sovereignty within indigenous nations. A fascinating and important book. I have added more books on Mankiller, in addition to several of the books she lists in her bibliography at the end of Every Day is a Good Day, to my reading list!