Mary Crow Dog - Lakota Women
Native American History
During the American Indian Movement, many Native Americans tribes came together as a unit and fought against the injustices that were thrust upon them by American governmental polices. The fact that many Native people were “whitemanized” through Christianity and other things that such as boarding school played a role in shaping Native peoples identity. However, the involvement in the American Indian Movement shaped the identity of Mary Crow Dog by making her accept who she was –an Indian woman, and by making her more willing to fight for the rights of Native Americans.
Before joining the American Indian Movement, Mary Crow Dog was forced into boarding school and she questioned her identity many times. For instance, she said that as a young girl she wanted to know who she was because her skin was very light. Because of this she wanted a to lay out in the sun so that she could become a real skin Indian. She questioned her Indian identity because her father was white and also because she was a “iyeska.” This meaning a half blood Indian and as a result she was looked down upon by white people and full bloods Indians.
When Mary Crow Dog joined the American Indian Movement, her outlook on life as an Indian changed because she accepted who she was and she was proud of being and Indian as well. She held on to her old religion and she participated in old Indian traditions such as Ghost dancing. She also went back to using medicine man and peyote roadman. In her point of view “holding on to her own religion was one way of resisting a slow death of the Indian culture that was being perpetuated by the white man. In addition, she stated that to be an Indian she had to go to the full bloods and listen to what they had to say. This is because the full blood was humble and they had hearts. Another thing that allowed Mary Crow dog to accept who she was, was the fact that AIM brought a lot of different tribes together and they all fought collectively against White America.
One of the most important things that the American Indian Movement did for Mary Crow dog was it made her more willing to fight for Indian rights. For example, she protested in Washington with AIM and she was part of the native people that took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs building. She was also ready to fight the system so bad that she became sober and at the same time vowed to have her baby at Wounded Knee. Her staying at Wounded Knee and becoming the first Indian woman to have a baby there showed a lot of courage and it proves the point that she was ready to fight for Indian rights.
Being part of the American Indian movement gave Mary Crow Dog a new perspective on what it meant to be an Indian woman in American society and it made her more willing to fight for the rights of her people because she realized that she wanted out of American society at all cost.