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Female Powers and Places in Indian North America

By Max Dashu

[Snip] This isn’t exactly a book review, but I want to share some excellent information that the book provides about sacred place and story in North American Indian culture / religion. I’ll jump off from some of the information about American Indian women’s culture, female spirits and sacred sites, and medicine women, and supplement them with additional information from other sources.

Mandan and Hidatsa heritages

The Mandan were already living along the Missouri river by 700 ce, farming corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and tobacco. Archaeologists have found their black pottery, garden tools, and remains of earthen lodges clustered around plazas. Natcompasahah, “heart of the world,” is their name for the place where the Heart river joins the Missouri. This great river had a male bank and a female bank. “The women weeded and hybridized crops, sang to their gardens, raised children, molded pottery, wove burden baskets and participated in the female-only religious societies.” Men had their own religious groups, hunted and fished.

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