cover image Ohitika Woman

Ohitika Woman

Mary Brave Bird. Grove/Atlantic, $19.95 (274pp) ISBN 978-0-8021-1436-5

Sequel to the bestseller Lakota Woman (Brave Bird was then known as Mary Crow Dog), this candid memoir by a forceful feminist Native American should please fans despite redundancies and meanderings. ``Ohitika'' means ``brave'' in Lakota, and Brave Bird, a 36-year-old grandmother, fulfills that appellation in recounting the peripatetic life she led after 1977, when her first book concluded. Writing with Erdoes ( The Pueblo Indians ), she devotes chapters to the peyote-using Native American Church, to the rituals of a Lakota sweat lodge and to the Sioux's fight for ancestral lands; but the book centers on her personal struggle against alcohol abuse. Though life with her former husband Leonard Crow Dog brought his ``half-breed'' wife to her roots and to political activism, the couple grew antagonistic, and she took refuge in drink. Even during her 1991 book tour she went on binges; a suicide by an alcoholic friend finally led her to abstinence. She got married in 1991 and returned with her husband to the ``res''--the reservation--in South Dakota. Photos not seen by PW . (Sept.)