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Keeping the Campfires Going

Native Women's Activism in Urban Communities

Susan Applegate Krouse

Publication Year: 2009

The essays in this groundbreaking anthology, Keeping the Campfires Going, highlight the accomplishments of and challenges confronting Native women activists in American and Canadian cities. Since World War II, Indigenous women from many communities have stepped forward through organizations, in their families, or by themselves to take action on behalf of the growing number of Native people living in urban areas. This collection recounts and assesses the struggles, successes, and legacies of several of these women in cities across North America, from San Francisco to Toronto, Vancouver to Chicago, and Seattle to Milwaukee. These wide-ranging and insightful essays illuminate Native communities in cities as well as the women activists working to build them.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xxv

In the twentieth century, Native peoples in North America went from being a rural to an urban population, changing their marriage patterns, family structures, and community organizations, as well as their levels and kinds of education and employment. Research on Indians was a fundamental part of the development ...

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1. Urban Clan Mothers: Key Households in Cities

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pp. 1-21

American Indian communities in urban areas are characteristically fluid networks based on relationships. Residence is dispersed, but nodes on the community network include the many American Indian organizations found in urban areas, seasonal or intermittent events or activities, and sites that hold connotations ...

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2. Gender and Community Organization Leadership in the Chicago Indian Community

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pp. 22-33

This chapter concerns eight decades (1920–2000) of community organization in the American Indian community in Chicago. While the trends discussed may be particular to that community or time frame, we expect that there are parallels in other urban Indian communities. The Chicago American Indian Center ...

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3. Indigenous Agendas and Activist Genders: Chicago’s American Indian Center, Social Welfare, and Native American Women’s Urban Leadership

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pp. 34-55

In their survey of the gender dynamics of Chicago’s Native American community organizations, Anne Terry Straus and Debra Valentino discovered that although Native American women made important contributions to Native American life in the city from the earliest years of the community, men tended to occupy ...

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4. “Assisting Our Own”: Urban Migration, Self-Governance, and Native Women’s Organizing in Thunder Bay, Ontario, 1972–1989

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pp. 56-75

In the 1960s, settlement patterns of First Nations peoples in Canada began to change dramatically.1 In 1966, 80 percent of the Aboriginal population still lived on reserve. By 1991, 49.5 percent of the Aboriginal population lived in towns and cities.2 Migration patterns of women and men differed; 16.4 percent of status Indian women ...

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5. Their Spirits Live within Us: Aboriginal Women in Downtown Eastside Vancouver Emerging into Visibility

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pp. 76-92

Anyone passing through inner-city Vancouver on foot, on a bus, and or in a car cannot help but see, in a literal sense, the concentration of Aboriginal people here. For most urban Canadians, and visitors from elsewhere, this is an unusual and often surprising visual experience on which they feel compelled to remark. ...

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6. “How Will I Sew My Baskets?”: Women Vendors, Market Art, and Incipient Political Activism in Anchorage, Alaska

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pp. 93-104

When the alarm goes off at six o’clock on a late October morning, the Anchorage sky is sullen with clouds that have already dumped a foot of early snow on the city. As I splash water on my face, I hear Flora Mark (a pseudonym), my Yup’ik Eskimo collaborator on a long-term research project, in the kitchen brewing coffee: ...

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7. Women’s Class Strategies as Activism in Native Community Building in Toronto, 1950–1975

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pp. 105-124

This was the response Verna Patronella Johnston (Anishinaabe, 1910–1995) gave anthropologist Rosamund Vanderburgh when asked why she came to Toronto in the 1960s from her home on the Cape Croker Reserve located about one hundred miles northwest of the city. Vanderburgh documented Johnston’s life in the book ...

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8. Creating Change, Reclaiming Indian Space in Post–World War II Seattle: The American Indian Women’s Service League and the Seattle Indian Center, 1958–1978

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pp. 125-145

The March 2, 2004, memorial service marked the passing and celebrated the life of Adeline Hannah Skultka Garcia (Haida) as the last founding member of Seattle’s American Indian Women’s Service League. The themes that Garcia “always made a place for people” and “made everyone feel at home” ran through the eulogy.1 ...

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9. What Came Out of the Takeovers: Women’s Activism and the Indian Community School of Milwaukee

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pp. 146-162

Alcatraz, the Trail of Broken Treaties, Wounded Knee — these are the well-known sites of “takeovers” by American Indian activists, mostly members of the American Indian Movement or AIM, in the 1960s and 1970s. AIM began in 1968 in Minneapolis–St. Paul, when urban Indians organized to protect their rights ...

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10. Telling Paula Starr: Native American Woman as Urban Indian Icon

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pp. 163-188

Paula Starr and I met for the first time at the Los Angeles American Indian community’s 1978 New Year’s Eve Powwow. That year the urban Indian tradition was held at Ford Park in Bell Gardens, one of three adjacent cities in south central Los Angeles County in which the 1970 census indicated that American Indians ...

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pp. 189-192

Grant Arndt studied cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago and now teaches anthropology and American Indian studies at Iowa State University. He is currently writing a book based on his doctoral research on Ho-Chunk powwows and related cultural performances in Wisconsin. ...


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pp. 193-203

E-ISBN-13: 9780803226456
E-ISBN-10: 0803226454

Publication Year: 2009