The Women's Warrior Society

Lois Beardslee (Author)
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The Women’s Warrior Society is a remarkable gathering of characters and voices used to expose truths about Native American life. In tightly woven prose, Lois Beardslee tells stories about people from all over North America and from either side of the line between abused and abuser. Both individual and archetypal, Native and non-Native, male and female, her characters take up arms against widely accepted stereotypes about Native people.

The women warriors in these tales have lived through a variety of mishaps, experiencing the consequences brought on by misinformation and the misguided efforts of institutions and individuals. Armed with this experience, they gather in unlikely “sweatlodges”—from kitchen tables to public libraries—transforming into she-wolves who, lips curled, snarl at their own victimization and assert that hope for future generations is maintained through creativity, determination, and the preservation of traditional values.

This is political writing at its most honest and creative. Beardslee’s style is poetic and lyrical, and her voice, shifting as it does, both grips us with terrible tone and comforts us with familiar assurance. A fierce call to action, this book reads like a song cycle—both singing to us and demanding that we sing in response.

Beardslee creates new strategies and measures of success. Her warriors dance, bark, howl, and transform themselves in unexpected ways that invoke tears, laughter, even awe. They are, above all, driven, successful, and eternally hopeful.
“Hard to describe in a few words is this thought-provoking, moving, and confrontational collection of stories by Beardslee, an Ojibwa-Lacandon artist, author, and teacher. In a simultaneously lyrical and brutally honest style, she elucidates the Native truths kept alive by the Women’s Warrior Society. These powerfully imagined ‘women with attitude [and] women with histories of malcontent . . . who sing like wolves’ prod us to amend our own actions; their ringing words are meant to be savored, then shared.”—Booklist

“These [women warriors]—despite the best intentions of the dominant society—are not going away. And someone really ought to give Lois Beardslee that Pulitzer.”—Multicultural Review

“What a wise, tough, and beautiful book of prose, song, treatise, and truth-telling! This collection should be given to every teacher, every bureaucrat, every social worker, and anyone whose view of what it means to be native was carved out by those tired Wild West Show images. Why not praise and recognize those warriors whose names will never appear in history books? Many of these warriors are women: those who stand up when there is no one there to mark the small victory, those who take care of the children, the home, the culture without complaint, those who remember that compassion is the central characteristic of a warrior. Many appear within these pages. Thank you, Lois Beardslee, for reminding us of the stories that go unheard or have been forgotten.”—Joy Harjo, author of She Had Some Horses  

“Lois Beardslee looks into the ‘stoic’ and ‘ravaged’ faces and hearts of contemporary Native women and sees them for the kick-ass, ’57 Chevy revving, wild mustang warriors they are. Attitude? The women in these stories invented attitude, and Beardslee’s fierce words sing the she-wolf anthem of Native women’s community. Lois Beardslee knows this song well, and in this collection she teaches us each nuance, each riff. She makes me want to take the barrettes out of my hair and let the lightning knock out a few trees!”—Deborah A. Miranda, author of The Zen of La Llorona

“In The Women's Warrior Society, Beardslee has transcended the boundary between the oral forms of truly traditional storytelling and the printed page to bring an evocative and proactive cautionary tale to contemporary readers. Her technique is powerful and tenacious, just like Ogitchidaakwe of her poetic narrative.”—Gwen Westerman Griffin, Executive Director of the Native American Literature Symposium 
The Women's Warrior Society
160 Pages 6 x 8 x 0.5 Published: 2008 Paperback (9780816526727)

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