Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary

Gretchen M. Bataille – Laurie Lisa | Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary

This A-Z reference contains 275 biographical entries on Native American women, past and present, from many different walks of life. Written by more than 70 contributors, most of whom are leading American Indian historians, the entries examine the complex and diverse roles of Native American women in contemporary and traditional cultures.

From the introduction: “Although the lives of Native American women have been ignored by many historians, and Indian women have been stereotyped as “squaws” and “princesses” in children’s books and many textbooks, ongoing research continues to establish the importance of their roles in both traditional and contemporary cultures. Many factors have combined to produce inaccurate images of American Indian women in today’s society. Historically, cultural determinants and the diversity of Indian cultures established the traditional roles and positions of women within their tribes, but political mandates, educational reforms, and religious fervor often eroded tribal organization and women’s roles, a contradiction that continues to define the lives of American Indian women. The histories of Native women from the past, such as Pocahontas, Sacagawea, Lozen, and Dahteste, resonate with fabulous tales of sacrifice or exploits, achieving for Native women explorer or warrior status, but much of what has been published perpetuates myths that have been repeated by scholars for so long that the complete truth probably will always remain hidden.”

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