In this well-researched and deeply felt account of the Ojibwe of Lake Superior and the Mississippi River, Brenda J. Child details the ways in which women have shaped Native American life from the days of early trade with Europeans through the reservation era and beyond.
Excerpt from Holding Our World Together:
One of the more special and exquisite forms of everyday material culture Ojibwe women created was the cradleboard, a simple wooden frame supporting an elaborately decorated cloth used for carrying children. Ojibwe stories of its origin refer to a young woman who gave birth to male twins who were manidoog, or spiritual beings. The new mother put the twins in cradleboards and carried them on her back so their feet did not touch the earth. As a consequence, the story explains, human infants do not walk at birth, unlike many newborns in the animal world.
Brenda J. Child, a member of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation, is an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Minnesota and the author of Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940.
“An important, pathbreaking book, not merely a powerful corrective to books that focus on Indian males, but also a powerful corrective to the scholarship on Indian women largely written by non-Indian women.” — Jacqueline Peterson, Washington State University-Vancouver
“Brenda Child’s moving portrayal of the often unrecognized but pivotal roles Ojibwe women played in community survival is, in its determination to record truth, itself an act of leadership—of intellectual sovereignty. With rigor and compassion, this Red Lake Anishinaabekwe recounts the crucial function women’s labor played in tribal life both before contact and during the many years of trauma and change brought on by colonization.” — Kimberly Blaiser, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, author of Apprenticed to Justice
“Child marshals an accessible blend of chronological history and American Indian oral tradition to illustrate how the Ojibwe have survived; she credits the powerful influence of the women “who hold things together” during cultural crisis.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune review by Chuck Leddy
“Women have played a central role in the history and economy of the Ojibwe people for centuries as they moved from the eastern to the western Great Lakes and into Minnesota. But the story of the importance of those women has not been fully told. That’s the contention of historian Brenda Child.” Click here to listen as MPR’s Tom Crann,speaks with Brenda J. Child in March 2012.
Award winners will be announced at the 25th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Hilton Minneapolis. An author meet-and-greet and book signing reception precedes the awards ceremony, and the Epilogue after-party, sponsored by Tech Logic, includes complimentary champagne, desserts, and live music. Tickets on sale now. Click here for more information.
Have you read Holding Our World Together? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!