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Honor the Grandmothers

Dakota and Lakota Women Tell Their Stories

Sarah Penman

Publication Year: 2000

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.

Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. v

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pp. 1-10

The first time I saw Celane Not Help Him was at the Wounded Knee Cemetery on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. It was December 29, 1989, the ninety-nine-year anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. A light snow was falling and an arctic wind swept unrelentingly over the pine-dotted buttes....

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Celane Not Help Him

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pp. 11-46

Celane Not Help Him, a Lakota, was the granddaughter of Iron Hail, who survived the Battle of Little Big Horn and the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. From 1985 to 1990 she helped organize the Chief Big Foot Memorial Ride commemorating the one hundred-year anniversary of the massacre....

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Stella Pretty Sounding Flute

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pp. 47-75

Stella Pretty Sounding Flute, a Wahpekute-Hunkpati Dakota, is from the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota. She was born on July 20, 1924, in a tent on the banks of the Missouri River with her grandmothers as midwives. As a child she helped her mother and grandmothers gather and dry fruits and medicines and tan hides. Her...

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Cecilia Hernandez Montgomery

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pp. 77-111

Cecilia Hernandez Montgomery, an Oglala Lakota, grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She has lived in Rapid City since 1945. Now in her eighties, she has been a community organizer for almost fifty years and continues to be actively involved in numerous committees serving the native community. She still finds time to pass...

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Iola Columbus

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pp. 113-146

Iola Columbus, a Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota, was raised on South Dakota’s Flandreau Reservation. She livedmore than forty years at Lower Sioux (Morton) Community, where in the 1970s she became the first woman in Minnesota to be elected tribal chair. As an elder, she traveled throughout the state developing a Grandmothers’ Society


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pp. 147-148

E-ISBN-13: 9780873516723
E-ISBN-10: 0873516729
Print-ISBN-13: 9780873513852
Print-ISBN-10: 0873513851

Page Count: 153
Publication Year: 2000

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 705880731
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Honor the Grandmothers

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Subject Headings

  • Older Dakota women -- Biography.
  • Older Teton women -- Biography.
  • Dakota women -- Biography.
  • Teton women -- Biography.
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