Last updated: April 10, 2015
Pretty-shield: Medicine Woman of the Crows. Linderman, Frank B. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
As we celebrate Women's History Month in March, let's remember a woman who shared her life story several decades ago.
Pretty-shield, the legendary medicine woman of the Crows, remembered what life was like on the Plains when the buffalo were still plentiful. A powerful healer who was forceful and compassionate, Pretty-shield experienced many changes as her tribal people were forced to come to terms with reservation life in the late nineteenth century.
Pretty-shield told her story to Frank Linderman through an interpreter and using sign language. The lives, responsibilities, and aspirations of Crow women are vividly brought to life in these pages as Pretty-shield recounts her life on the Plains of long ago. She speaks of the simple games and dolls of an Indian childhood and the work of the girls and women-setting up the lodges, dressing the skins, picking berries, digging roots, and cooking. Through her eyes the readers come to understand courtship, marriage, childbirth, the care of babies, medicine-dreams, the care of the sick and other facets of Crow womanhood.
Pretty-shield shares her struggles on many topics, but none are as difficult as the topic of war. She says in chapter fourteen, "My man, Goes-ahead, was a Fox (member of that secret society) and although we women had no secret societies we sided with our men, so that my heart was always strong for the Foxes. The Foxes were warlike, we women didn't like war, and yet we could not help it, because our men loved war."
Pretty-shield teaches, like many Indians do, through stories, and this book delivers them with sensitivity and respect.Enjoy these stories and learn to appreciate the life of Pretty-shield, a remarkable woman.