The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions

Laula Gunn Allen, Author, Paula Gunn Allen, Author
Laula Gunn Allen, Author, Paula Gunn Allen, Author Beacon Press (MA) $24.95 (311p) ISBN 978-0-8070-4600-5
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
The average life expectancy of the American Indian woman is only 55 years; up to one-fourth of all Indian women have been sterilized without informed consent; the federal government's policies of relocation, forced acculturation and destruction of the wilderness threaten the existence of Indian women and men alike. These harsh realities take on a particular irony, notes Allen, when one considers that many tribal systems were originally gynocracieswoman-centered societies in which female goddesses were worshiped. Allen, a Laguna Pueblo writer and teacher, here assesses the Amerindian woman's status, past and present, in 17 essays. Several pieces deal with contemporary novelists and poets (Silko, Wendy Rose, Momaday, Welch, Mourning Dove). Other essays examine the honored role of lesbians in tribal life, myth and ceremony as the bedrock of literature, genocide in the poetry of Indian women and the ways scholars have largely ignored American Indian women's values and contributions. (May 5)
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