Essay about Pretty-shield: Medicine Woman of the Crows by Fran Lindeman

Essay about Pretty-shield: Medicine Woman of the Crows by Fran Lindeman

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Pretty-shield: Medicine Woman of the Crows was originally published in 1932 as the Red Mother, written by Frank B. Linderman. Through a series of interviews, he tells the story of Pretty-shield, an older Native American woman of the Crow Tribe. At this time, there were a fair amount Native American stories being published, but seldom were they told from the Native American woman's viewpoint― especially, told by a white male. In Native American cultures there is a considerable emphasis placed on the particular role and position of the storyteller in sharing their culture; however, as non-Native American, Linderman had gained the trust of the Plains Tribal members. (Linderman xviii) Because Linderman is a white male, it brings up the question of whether or not he had the ability to interpret Pretty-shields story without gender and racial bias; however, his deep admiration and empathy for her and her tribe is clearly shown. In addition, he voluntarily spent much of his life learning their language and culture while advocating for the rights of Plains and other Montana tribes.
As an adventurer, Frank Linderman was a trapper, a hunter, a politician, and an author. He resided in southern Montana, where the Crow Tribe was formed and lived for generations. Linderman learned their language, and devoted much of his time to listening and understanding of their way of life. He became extremely talented in the use of sign-language, so much so, that the Crows named him Sign-Talker. By the time Linderman came into the Crow's lives, there were only small percentage of their tribe left, compared to their original population size. Disease from the European settlers and malnutrition had took a great number of the Crow Native population. If that w...

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...ale dominance was respected. Overall, Linderman plays a quiet role in background as the interviewer; thus, Pretty-shield's voice and personality shines. Finally, Pretty-shield was able to freely discuss her beliefs and opinions such as the effects of colonialism and war on her tribe; the actions and behaviors of U.S. Government officials; and the gender roles and strengths of a women. In addition, Linderman also published her inferences to lesbianism. Throughout the book, Linderman rarely voiced his opinions and kept the focus on Pretty-shield, rather than on himself. In doing this, Linderman allowed her to thoroughly express herself, and he took it a step further, by publishing subjects that were socially unacceptable at the time.

Works Cited:
Linderman, Frank Bird. Pretty-Shield, Medicine Woman Of The Crows. 1st ed. New York: John Day Co, 1972. Print.

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