In Defense of a Culture in Lakota Woman, a Book by Mary Brave Bird and Richard Erdoes

What if nothing mattered of the character, the personality, but the appearance and the apparent differences between the many races of humans? What nothing mattered but the gender and race one came from and that alone defined who a person is? The image of a society described as such would be despicable and infernal. Every human in society would be disgusted if such a society existed. Many other societies even fight to prevent such an event from happening. That sad truth is that this society has already existed, and still does in many cases.

Mary Crow Dog, in her work “Lakota Woman” describes the rise of such a society affecting Native Americans. Mary Crow Dog uses her past experiences as a Native American in the late 1900’s, local beliefs and lore, and facts about the cultures and time period to support her argument that people should learn from the blood of the past to prevent such events from transpiring again. During the time of the belief of Manifest Destiny, or the American belief that the borders of the US should span from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific seaboard, Americans strove to complete that goal, no matter the cost.

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All the while, Native Americans living on American soil were caught in the path as Americans began the trek across America in an attempt to settle the entire country Many Native Americans died, hundreds of tribes destroyed, the devastation could be equivalent to the Black Plague of Europe. The Native American tradition was nearly destroyed with only few survivors.

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Mary Crow Dog describes her experiences with this dark time. She describes one time her mother was in the hospital giving birth to Ms. Crow Dog. She says “like most Sioux at that time, my mother was supposed to give birth at home, I think, but something went wrong.t.After my sister Sandra was born, the doctors there performed a hysterectomy on my mother, in fact sterilizing her without her permission.”Later on, she says “In the opinion of some people, the fewer Indians there are, the better. As Colonel Chivington said to his soldiers: ‘Kill ‘em all, big and y.” small, nits make lice.

This shows her argument that what the Americans did was cruel as she relates to something as dark as this It appears that she attempts to use this in order to make the audience see just how dark times where at the time. Personal relation is a really effective tool for gaining understanding and catching the reader’s attention, which could prove helpful to Mary Crow Dog, Another effective tool in analyzing if this piece is affective in its purpose is argumentative factst Mary Crow Dog gives facts about the Native Americans and parts of their lore to show the other side of the argument. She describes the many tribes that existed before their destruction such as the Brule, who were horse riders and warriors. The Brule, like many tribes, were later destroyed in the expansion, She even described the difference between the Dakota and the Lakota tribes. “The difference between them is their language,” she writes, “it is the same except that where we Lakota pronounce an L, the Dakota pronounce a D, They cannot pronounce an L at allr”. She again brings back her personal experiences with a later quote, “in our tribe we have this joke: ‘what is a flat tire in Dakota?‘ Answer: “a bdowout”. Using this, and many other explanations into Native American life, Mary Crow Dog can argue against the argument made by many Americans that Native Americans were savages, if she really wanted to. She does well in that argument defending her native culture and attempting to capture sympathy and understanding from her audience.

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In Defense of a Culture in Lakota Woman, a Book by Mary Brave Bird and Richard Erdoes. (2022, Jul 12). Retrieved from

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