Analysis Of Mary Crow Dog In Lakota Woman

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Mary Crow Dog gives insight into her dynamic life as a half white, half Lakota, woman in her novel, Lakota Woman. Being of mixed race, I found that Mary Crow Dog and I shared similar feelings rooted within our ethnicity. In Mary’s life, mainly her childhood and young adulthood, she found herself caught in between her white and Native American sides. She was constantly being urged to assimilate into white culture by her “full-blooded” family, even though she gravitated towards the Lakota culture and was left frustrated due to he bi-racial heritage. Eventually, she find acceptance within the American Indian Movement, resolving her feelings of confusion. These stages in Mary Crow Dog's life immediately stood out to me and made me feel as if I …show more content…
She says “As a young girl I used to look into the mirror, trying to find a clue as to who and what I was… My face is very Indian, and so are my eyes and hair, but my skin is very light” (Crow Dog 9). This quote really hit home for me. I’ve always fostered a deep frustration in regards to my half black, half white race. Similarly to Mary Crow Dog, I carry strong African American facial features but I have extremely light skin. This left me very confused as a young child and I struggled to find a place of belonging. People often file into groups based on race because those of the same ethnicity tend to share similar culture and difficulties, thus allowing them to find comfort within each other. Where does this practice leave mixed people? As showcased in the book, we are often forced to pick sides. Mary Crow Dog writes, “The general rule is that whoever thinks, sings, acts and speaks Indian is a skin, a full-blood, and whoever acts and thinks like a white man is a half-blood or breed, no matter how Indian he looks (Crow Dog 49). Nearly all people of mixed race have been forced to choose between two major facets of their identity and this causes us to develop deep feelings of resentment and loneliness. Ultimately, biracial people should have to choice to express their respective cultures in whatever ways they want and shouldn't be labeled or shunned for …show more content…
Her mother and grandmother were both Catholics who were taught to repress their Lakota heritage in inhuman boarding schools. While this repression of culture isn't their fault, I think it made Mary resent her grandmother and mother to an extent. She had hunger to learn about her people and was blatantly deprived of it. Mary describes her grandmother as a caring and loving person, but said she refused to teach her grandchildren the ways of the Lakota. When talking about her grandmother, Mary states, “She was staunch Catholic and tried to raise us as whites… she thought that was the only way for us to get ahead (Crow Dog 19). Mary’s mother also tried to shield her from Lakota culture by sending her to the same boarding schools that she herself suffered in as a child. Neither the efforts of her grandmother or mother stopped Mary Crow Dog from being pulled into the Lakota culture. She would find guidance in other elders who stayed true to Lakota culture, like Charlie and grandma Little Dog, Dick Fool Bull and Elsie Flood. These people were huge influencers in Mary Crow Dog's life. They told her ancient stories of Lakota warriors and spirits, shared with her the oral history of their people, and taught her valuable skills and virtues. Again, I faced similar issues to Mary Crow Dog regarding my family. My mother and grandmother worked

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