Radio Bristol Book Club: Lakota Woman - The Birthplace of Country Music
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Radio Bristol Book Club: Lakota Woman

Welcome to Radio Bristol Book Club – and welcome to a very appropriate day for talking books: National Read a Book Day! Readers from BCM and the Bristol Public Library are coming together each month to celebrate and explore one book inspired by our region’s rich Appalachian cultural and musical heritage. We invite you to read along and then listen in on the fourth Thursday of each month at 11:00am when we will dig deep into the feelings and questions raised by the books, learn more about the authors, and celebrate the joys of being a bookworm!

Our September book – Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog with Richard Erdoes – is inspired by our current special exhibit, American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart. Stuart’s photographs in American Ballads range from intimate behind-the-scenes depictions of legendary musicians, to images of eccentric characters from the back roads of America, to dignified portraits of members of the Lakota tribe in South Dakota, a people he was introduced to by his former father-in-law, Johnny Cash. We will be discussing Lakota Woman on Thursday, September 26 at 11:00am live on Radio Bristol.

Several of the photographs from American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart, all taken on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Top left: Marty Stuart. Sadie and Zona, 2000. Archival pigment print, 20 x 16in. Courtesy of the artist. © Marty Stuart; Top right: Marty Stuart. Millie Black Bear, 2000. Archival pigment print, 16 x 20in. Courtesy of the artist. © Marty Stuart; Bottom right: Marty Stuart. Orville Looking Horse, 2004. Archival pigment print, 16 x 20in. Courtesy of the artist. © Marty Stuart; Bottom left: Marty Stuart. Noah by the Sundance Tree, 2004. Archival pigment print, 20 x 16in. Courtesy of the artist. © Marty Stuart

Lakota Woman was originally published in 1990 – it became a national bestseller and won the American Book Award in 1991. This unique book is both memoir and social justice history, tracing Mary Crow Dog’s life on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, the cruelties perpetuated against American Indians, and her dogged determination and action in the Native American struggle for rights. Working with Richard Erdoes, one of the 20th century’s leading writers on Native American affairs, Mary recounts her difficult but fascinating life, one where she made a direct impact on an important cause. The book was later adapted as a TV movie called Lakota Woman – Siege at Wounded Knee.

Mary Brave Bird (later Crow Dog) grew up in poverty in South Dakota, and her white father abandoned the family when she was young. Believing in possibilities outside her everyday reality, Mary rebelled against the aimless drinking, violence, and hopelessness she encountered on the reservation, and rose above her experiences at the punishing missionary school and the narrow strictures placed on the lives of women, eventually joining the new movement of tribal pride sweeping Native American communities in the 1960s and 1970s. She later married Leonard Crow Dog, the American Indian Movement’s chief medicine man, who revived the sacred but outlawed Ghost Dance. Lakota Woman covered her life up to 1977; a second book, Ohitika Woman, was a memoir of her life after 1977. Mary Crow Dog died in February 2013 at the age of 58.

The cover of Mary Crow Dog’s Lakota Woman.

We cannot wait to bring this inspirational story of Mary Crow Dog to Radio Bristol Book Club! We hope you can join us as we discuss Lakota Woman for Radio Bristol Book Club! You can tune in locally at 100.1 FM or listen via the website or app. Many of the Radio Bristol Book Club books will be available at the Bristol Public Library or The Museum Store at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum so stop by to borrow or buy a copy! The librarians or our frontline staff will be happy to help you find the book.

Make plans to join us at 11am on Thursday, September 26 for Radio Bristol Book Club!

And plan ahead: Future Radio Bristol Book Club picks include A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (October 24), Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music by Barry Mazor (November 21), and Serena by Ron Rash (December 19).

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