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Their Own Frontier

Women Intellectuals Re-Visioning the American West

Shirley Anne Leckie

Publication Year: 2008

The writings of the American West have long dealt with masculine ideals. Well into the twentieth century, what little attention was afforded to women typically reflected prescribed or stereotyped roles, and the work of women scholars received less attention than that of men. And yet the early twentieth century saw a host of pioneering scholars who would not be ignored, erased, or marginalized.
The ten women intellectuals showcased in this volume were pioneers in the writing of Indian-centered history, ethnology, and folklore that incorporated the insights, voices, and perspectives of American Indians. These authors not only produced significant works that are still useful to modern-day scholars; they also pioneered research methods and theoretical concepts that helped lay the foundation for the new scholarship on western history, American Indian studies, and ethnohistory. Noted scholars have provided individual biographies describing the struggles and contributions these foremothers made to the creation of late twentieth-century scholarship: Annie Heloise Abel, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Zitkala-Ša), Angie Debo, Ella Cara Deloria, Isabel T. Kelly, Marjorie Ferguson Lambert, Dorothea Cross Leighton, Alice Marriott, Mari Sandoz, and Ruth Underhill.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Series: Women in the West


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xiv

A multifaceted undertaking such as this volume is indebted to more individuals than we can possibly ever thank. First and foremost, our profound appreciation must go to the women whom we celebrate in this volume for their dedication and scholarship, their activism and insight. It is because of them that we are here today ...

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pp. 1-44

The writings of the American West have long dealt with masculine ideals. In narratives of the Euro-American westward movement, Brigitte Georgi-Findlay observes, "Women were assigned to the margins of a cultural plot in which gender played a significant role." This occurred, she adds, because "westward expansion ...

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1. Annie Heloise Abel: Groundbreaking Historian

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pp. 45-64

After Annie Heloise Abel died in 1947, one of her sisters, Rose Abel Wright, wrote to one of Abel's colleagues that Annie "was in the truest sense of the word, a research student."1 Indeed, Abel's career and publications are most often associated with her tenacious research methods and her nearly obsessive ...

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2. Angie Debo: From the Old to the New Western History

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pp. 65-96

In 1958, citizens of Marshall, Oklahoma, honored their most famous resident by setting aside March 28 as Angie Debo Recognition Day. Among those attending, in addition to Debo's neighbors and friends, was the noted Muscogee-Creek and Pawnee artist, Acee Blue Eagle. Oklahoma Supreme Court justice and past ...

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3. Mari Sandoz: Historian of the Great Plains

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pp. 97-136

hHstorian of the Great Plains, especially Nebraska's Sandhills and upper Niobrara River valley region, Mari Sandoz embodied her home region. She was a perceptive commentator on culture change and the impact of people on the environment, and her fierce rhetoric and compulsion to write made her a survivor ...

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4. Isabel T. Kelly: A Life in the Field

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pp. 137-180

Isabel Truesdell Kelly's distinguished career in anthropology spanned some fifty-five years of concentrated work as an ethnographer, archaeologist, and applied anthropologist. An avid field-worker, often in very rigorous situations, she pursued research topics in several locations in the western United States ...

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5. Marjorie Ferguson Lambert: Including American Indians and Hispanic Peoples in Southwestern Anthropology

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pp. 181-208

In a brilliant career spanning more than six decades, Marjorie Ferguson Lambert left her imprint on southwestern anthropology, archaeology, and history.1 She devoted her life to the study and advancement of our understanding of the presence of humans upon the landscape of the American Southwest in the past, ...

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6. Alice Marriott: Recording the Lives of American Indian Women

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pp. 209-242

"All your accomplishment depends on your ability to detach yourself from your own culture," Alice Marriott states in Greener Fields: Experiences among the American Indians (1953), an ethnographic memoir in which she shares her personal observations as an anthropologist with the reader based on her fieldwork experiences. ...

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7. Ella Cara Deloria: Telling the Story of Her People

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pp. 243-268

In her presidential address given at the one hundredth meeting of the American Anthropological Association, in 2003, Louise Lamphere called for a reassessment of the "official history" of American anthropology. Citing a past tendency to view the development of anthropology in the United States as a succession ...

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8. Zitkala-Sa: A Bridge between Two Worlds

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pp. 269-302

Scholars and interested others have long recognized that the accepted body of canonical written knowledge in the United States is skewed in favor of works produced by white males, while ignoring contributions from minority voices such as those of women, people of color, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. ...

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9. Dorothea Cross Leighton: Anthropologist and Activist

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pp. 303-334

American anthropology, more than American history, began as an applied, as well as a theoretical, science designed to obtain concrete, useful information about North America's Native inhabitants, especially those living in the West and on the Great Plains. By applied I mean that research was intended to be put to ...

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10. Ruth Murray Underhill: Ethnohistorian and Ethnographer for the Native Peoples

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pp. 335-372

In 1979, at the age ninety-five, anthropologist Ruth Murray Underhill rode through Sells, Arizona, the capital of the Tohono O'odham Nation, in a parade in her honor.1 The Tohono O'odham (formerly called Papago) Nation celebrated her work recording their history. Throughout her long career Underhill published ...

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pp. 373-392

As the contributors to this volume have shown us, the ten women chronicled here were pioneering scholars. Each helped to lay the foundation for later developments in history, anthropology, archaeology, and folklore that appear groundbreaking and contemporary today as they relate to current studies of the Native ...

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pp. 393-395

Maria Eugenia Cotera holds a holds a joint appointment as Assistant Professor in the Program in American Culture/Latino Studies and the Women's Studies Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has published numerous essays on Jovita Gonzalez and Sioux ethnographer Ella Deloria, ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780803222595
E-ISBN-10: 0803222599

Page Count: 732
Illustrations: 18
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Women in the West