Minnesota Historical Society

Sister Nations: Native American Women Writers on Community

$ 17.95

A lively, accessible, and heartfelt collection of fiction, prose, and poetry by Native American women writers. Contributors include Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, and Diane Glancy, edited by Heid E. Erdrich and Laura Tohe.

This captivating anthology celebrates the rich diversity of writing by Native American women today. The editors have gathered stories from across the nation that celebrate, record, and explore Native American women's roles in community. The result is a rich tapestry that contains work by established writers along with emerging and first-time authors. Other contributors include Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Allison Hedge Coke, LeAnne Howe, Roberta Hill, Kim Blaeser, Linda LeGarde Grover, with a foreword by Winona LaDuke.

The writings included range from the personal to the political, from notions of romantic love to the realities of marriage, from finding a place in modern society to incorporating tradition in daily life. Whether it's Louise Erdrich's heartbreaking story "The Shawl," Diane Glancy's tightly distilled poems, or Joy Harjo's elegant and fanciful "How to Get to Planet Venus," all of these works explore both what it means to be a woman and how those realities are complicated by the Native American experience.

The editors have divided these lively and thought-provoking pieces into four sections: "Changing Women," which deals with the stages of a woman's life, awareness of female ancestors, and women's traditions of healing and making art; "Strong Hearts," which shows Indian women enduring with love, defending with fierce judgment, and reaching out across history to protect the people; "New Age Pocahontas," which reveals the humor and complexity of stereotypes and simplified images of Native American women; and "In the Arms of the Skies," which explores the ways in which typical notions about romantic love and marriage are put to the test.

 Sister Nations also includes full biographies of all the contributors, commentary from many of the authors on their work, and a bibliography of relevant publications.


  • Edited by Heid E. Erdrich & Laura Tohe. Foreword by Winona LaDuke.
  • Format: Paperback, 252 pp.
  • Publisher: MNHS Press
  • Product ##: 978-0873514286


    HEID E. ERDRICH is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibway. Her collection of poetry Fishing for Myth won a Minnesota Voices Award. Erdrich teaches Native American literature and creative writing at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.


    LAURA TOHE was born and raised on the Navajo reservation. Her book No Parole Today received the Poetry of the Year Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. She is an associate professor of English at Arizona State University.



    Praise for Sister Nations:


    "A lively, challenging and entertaining anthology of contemporary Indian women's voices. Erdrich and Tohe have collected prose and poetry that will provoke, amuse, console and transform their audiences. Sister Nations is a valuable document and an artistic gift." -- Valerie Miner, author of The Low Road and Range of Light


    "Sister Nations is a powerful and provocative journey that ends at a kitchen table where women gather to laugh, commiserate, and speak the truth." -- Susan Power, author of The Grass Dancer


    "Sister Nations resonates with the powerful testimony of Indian women's sisterhood that embraces us in its uncanny truth of what it means to be a native woman in America. . . . A refreshing collection of Native women's writing." -- Gloria Bird, co-editor of Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native American Women's Writings of North America


    "In this book, you will find cherished memories and intimate stories revealed as the treasures they are. Some with the simplicity and matter-of-factness of a conversation or a tied quilt. Others with the intricacy and detail of the quill work on a hide using the smallest of quills from the porcupine's side. They are breathtaking, from the cherished oral histories of Changing Woman, recording the path, 'the miikinaa,' the Creator has offered to women, to the honest memories of grandmas and quilts." -- Winona LaDuke, from the Foreword

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