Lakota Woman: Mary Crow Dog

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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Being born in another country, the Philippines, I can relate to a certain extent with the Native Indians of today. However, that is very exaggerated given what these people had to go through. I cannot begin to imagine what it would feel like to have my people wiped out by strangers of different skin color and be forced to adopt their religion and customs and traditions. "Lakota Woman," by Mary Crow Dog is a powerful book that helps us understand what it was like to be a native Indian fighting for her rights. Watching her people and her family get slaughtered by "white men" and trying to survive herself gives the reader a sense of sympathy, but yet a lot of envies for Mary Crow Dog. But what really stood out for me while reading this book was Mary's continuous internal conflict with herself on finding herself as a Lakota Woman living in this new chaotic world.

So many times during the course of her life Mary had to fight off white influences while maintaining her Indian culture.

Mary had a very hard time learning Indian traditions as a child because her grandmother and mother adopted a lot of the white man's ways. Mary explains that her "Grandma had been to mission school and that had influenced her to abandon much of our traditional ways. She gave me love and a good home, but if I wanted to be an Indian I had to go elsewhere to learn how to become one" (pg 23). Greg Sarris said it best during his speech about sharing traditions, "integration not assimilation." Being knowledgeable and inviting new cultures can only help each other understand each other and not hate one another. How much better would the world have been, or in this case,