Minnesota Historical Society
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Honor the Grandmothers: Dakota and Lakota Women

$ 17.95


In this poignant collection of oral histories, four Indian elders recount their life stories in their own quiet but uncompromising words. Growing up and living in Minnesota and the Dakotas, Stella Pretty Sounding Flute and Iola Columbus (Dakota) and Celane Not Help Him and Cecelia Hernandez Montgomery (Lakota) share recollections of early family life interrupted by years at government boarding schools designed to eradicate tribal culture.

Recounting their complex lives, the grandmothers reveal how they survived difficult circumstances to become activists in Indian politics, reconciling urban with reservation life and Christianity with native spirituality. Particularly memorable is one grandmother’s detailed family account of the tragic events and consequences of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. Defying stereotypes, these clear and forthright voices are unforgettable. As the traditional teachers and bearers of culture, the grandmothers also share their concern for future generations.

"The four oral histories presented in this attractive volume pay homage to elder women who quietly serve as community and political activists within the Lakota-Dakota Nation. . . Recommended."--Library Journal


  • Compiled & Edited by Sarah Penman
  • Format: Paperback, 153 pp., 6 × 7-1/2
  • Publisher: MHS Press
  • Product ##: 978-0873513852



SARAH PENMAN, originally from Scotland, now makes her home in Minneapolis. Her interest in the Native American community began in 1988 when she participated in the Spiritual Walk for the Sacred Pipe, a movement to stop the commercialization of the Minnesota pipestone quarries. From 1988 through 1990 she joined the Chief Big Foot Memorial Ride, a 250-mile wintertime spiritual journey on horseback that commemorated the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. Taking photographs of participants and the rugged South Dakota landscape, Penman also wrote articles for The Circle, Minnesota’s largest Native American newspaper. As she listened to the elders’ stories, she was inspired to begin gathering their life histories. In addition to this published account, Penman has produced video and radio documentaries, including an Emmy-nominated video, “Nokomis - Voices of Anishinabe Grandmothers.”

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