Pretty-shield, Medicine Woman of the Crows Summary & Study Guide

Frank Bird Linderman
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Pretty-shield, Medicine Woman of the Crows Summary & Study Guide Description

Pretty-shield, Medicine Woman of the Crows Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Pretty-shield, Medicine Woman of the Crows by Frank Bird Linderman.

Frank Linderman, in Pretty-Shield, wrote the first extended account of Native American life from the perspective of a Native American woman, an elderly Crow medicine-woman known as Pretty-Shield. Linderman studied Native Americans for 46 years until he spoke at length with an old Native American woman because they think it appropriate to keep silent and far away from discussions among men.

Pretty-Shield was a member of the Sore-lips Crow clan that produced many leaders and chiefs; she also belonged to a prominent Crow family. The Crow (Absarokees) are plainsmen and have lived in Southeastern Montana for generations. During this period, they found themselves involved in wars constantly with the Sioux, Cheyennes, Arapahoes and Blackfeet. They were always out-numbered, yet they survived.

Pretty-Shield is largely the story of Pretty-Shield's youth because the days when her people had to adjust due to the disappearance of the buffalo and the move to the reservations were sad ones where nothing happened. Thus, the book's nineteen chapters largely consist of stories from Pretty-Shield's childhood, including how the tribe produced food and commodities, how they interacted with other tribes, their religious practices and folklore, familial relationships and struggles with death.

Linderman speaks little of himself, save of the questions he wanted to ask Pretty-Shield. Most of the story takes place in earlier times, but Linderman will often make observations about the way Pretty-Shield related her stories. In Chapter One, Frank introduces the reader to Pretty-Shield; she tells Linderman about the place of her birth, her parents, the origin of her name, her move to live with her aunt, and how she loved to move with her tribe during the seasons.

In Chapter Two, Pretty-Shield discusses the split between the Crow in the mountains and at the rivers. She often speaks of her interactions with other young girls. In Chapter Three, they discuss Pretty-Shield's parents and In Chapter Four, Pretty-Shield recounts seeing her first white man. In Chapter Five, she relates how as a young girl she once lost a baby and in Chapter Six, she discusses the tragic death of a young boy from a malfunctioning medicine gun.

Chapter Seven covers stories about running from buffalo herds; Chapter Eight covers various interactions with grizzly bears. In this chapter, she also related for the first time her encounters with animal-people, individuals mixed between animal and human that she speaks of often throughout the book. Chapter Nine pursues the animal-people subject in more detail. Chapter Ten covers Pretty-Shield's marriage, Eleven the care of newborn babies, and Twelve the magical powers of the chickadee.

In Chapter Fourteen, Pretty-Shield recounts wars with other tribes, such as the Lacota. Most of the negative interactions the Crow had were with the Lacota and subsequent chapters describe these interactions in detail, including the practice of the tribes enslaving captured members of each other's tribes. In Chapter Seventeen, Pretty-Shield talks about the history of her friend, Chief Plenty-coups.

The book somewhat climaxes in Chapter Eighteen, where Pretty-Shield recounts the Battle of Little Bighorn from the perspective of her husband, Goes-ahead. Chapter Nineteen ends the book with Pretty-Shield lamenting the sad state of her tribe and her struggle to not be angry with the white man for his incredible cruelty.

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This section contains 538 words
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