Mountain Wolf Woman
Mountain Wolf Woman, or Xéhachiwinga (1884–1960), was a Native American woman of the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribe. She was born in April 1884 into the Thunder Clan near Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Her parents were Charles Blowsnake and Lucy Goodvillage. She was brought up in the traditional tribal religion; later, she converted to the Peyote religion (Native American Church) after her second marriage. Her life exemplifies a successful adaptation to the larger dominant society while maintaining a serene sense of her own identity as a Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Indian woman. Traditionally, brothers arranged their sisters’ marriages, but she did not like the man her brothers chose and after the birth of her second child, she left him and later married a man of her own choosing.
Here are quotes from the book itself that seemed more profound among others:
- "We used to stand there and look at the stars and cry to the Thunders...We used to sing and scatter tobacco, standing there and watching the stars and moon."
"Indians did not look ahead to affairs of this sort. They never looked to the future. They only looked to the present insofar as they had enough to sustain themselves."- page 5
"I was like a boy riding horses"- page 27
"It was then that they told me that i was going to be married. .... "I prize you highly but nothing can be done about this matter. it is your brothers' doing. you must do whatever your brothers say. if you do not do so, you are going to embarrass them.."- page 29 "I left him taking the two children with me" -page 31 we learn later that the two children in this first marriage were given to her sister to be looked after (hinakega)
"Instead I thought more of my relatives and so we came back to Nebraska." -page 46, importance of family
"children of mine had died. my relatives died, father and my mother. my older sister died. but it was never as hard as when my man died."- page 59, 2nd marriage that lead to a long marriage with bad soldier
"I do not know why, but whatever the white people say , that is the way that it has to be. I guess it must be that way."- page 60 in regards to how homes should be built and upon where/what land.
"You have done many kindnesses for me. tell me whatever it is that you want." - page 63 interaction w/ wolf woman and her "grandfather" he later taught her about Indian medicines, which is a skill she took with her to help others.
"he said that is what he wanted to do. he did not want to be a soldier. Instead he wanted to do war work."- page 71, her son in law becomes a cvilian/ govt contracted worker to aide in the war.
"'If they do anything to me, we will see each other wherever god is.' He said this to me when he was just about ready to leave. And then, there i was at the world's end picking berries."- page 73. her son was in the army, wounded in action, and she was thinking about how she could not do anything about it.
Her autobiography was transcribed by Nancy Oestreich Lurie and translated in consultation with Frances Thundercloud Wentz. At the time of the interviews for the book, she had eight children, 39 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. Mountain Wolf Woman was then an early full-length autobiography of an American Indian woman. She died at age 76, on November 9, 1960.
- "Famous Native American Women - Mountain Wolf Woman" from Nativeamericanrhymes.com
- Mountain Wolf Woman, Sister of Crashing Thunder,(Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961)
- Information for this article provided by Prof. Lurie, November 2009.