She's Tricky Like Coyote: Annie Miner Peterson, an Oregon Coast Indian Woman

Lionel Youst, Author University of Oklahoma Press $29.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2972-3
""I know what my old people tell me."" When Peterson uttered this sentence, she was merely answering a question at a court proceeding on behalf of her tribe, the Coos. But as Youst recounts in this straightforward biography, the statement also reflects her greatest legacy. Growing up, Peterson (whose Indian name means ""She's Tricky Like Coyote"") was formed by the rich culture of her people in the Pacific Northwest, just as whites began eradicating that culture. Fluent in both the Mulik and Hanis dialects, this colorful, gifted woman was able to make significant contributions to Oregon tribal anthropology, linguistics and the preservation of their mythic oral literature in the original language. Though the author has done a prodigious amount of research, the book is hindered by an academic tone that rarely moves beyond the mechanistic chronicling of Peterson's life during this fascinating and bittersweet moment of American history. For example, Youst repeatedly notes that she is strong-willed and controversial, but with limited anecdotes, quotes and personal reminiscence, that facet of her personality is never brought to life. Youst's research portrays Peterson as a resilient, audacious survivor; a woman who had to part with her first child to save her own life; a woman whose five husbands included a physical abuser, a drunken lout and a gentle, supportive partner. Though the result is a worthwhile contribution to Native American anthropology, it falters as biography: readers never get a glimpse into the heart of a woman who seems worth getting to know. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-0-8061-3693-6
Open Ebook - 317 pages - 978-0-585-12467-4
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