Holding Our World Together by Brenda J. Child

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A groundbreaking exploration of the unrecognized but pivotal roles of remarkable women in Native American communities. The author carefully weaves Ojibwe words, biographical sketches, chronological history, American Indian oral tradition, and Ojibwe tribes of the U.S. with First Nations of Canada.


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“Ojibwe women were born into a society that valued their participation in the material and spiritual well-being of their community. Women were thought to hold an innate strength because of their life-giving ability…” 

A must read to learn more about American Indian women's influence to keep their families and tribal communities together and strong.

Native American women have played a central role in guiding their nations. Many Native communities were, in fact, organized around women's labor, the sanctity of mothers, and the wisdom of female elders. 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.

Holding Our World Together's biographical sketches of Ojibwe women who maintained influence in their communities, illuminate the lives of women such as Madeleine Cadotte, who became a powerful mediator between her people and European fur traders, and Gertrude Buckanaga, whose postwar community activism in Minneapolis helped bring many Indian families out of poverty. Drawing on these stories and others, Brenda Child offers a powerful tribute to the many courageous women who sustained Native communities through the darkest challenges of the last three centuries.

A powerful corrective to the volumes written about Native American males, and to the scholarship on Indian women largely written by non-Indian women.

Brenda J. Child author of Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of CommunityBrenda J. Child, is a member of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation, and Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Covering several centuries, Brenda J. Child sheds light on the relocation era of her Ojibwe People to cities, most particularly Minneapolis. She points out that it was Ojibwe women who began the urban Indian agencies that still exist today to assist urban Indians who live in Minneapolis. She carefully weaves Ojibwe words into the content of her writing, chronological history with American Indian oral tradition, and Ojibwe tribes of the U.S. with First Nations of Canada.

Brenda J. Child provides her academic notes, complete with her references at the end of Holding Our World Together.

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