DALLAS (PRWEB) November 19, 2011
In “NISH’ KI: Cheyenne Grandmothers: Pillars of Strength” (published by AuthorHouse) researcher Kay Schweinfurth delivers a compelling look into the lives of the Cheyenne Indians and details how the role of grandmother fits into the greater role of the tribe.
Readers meet six Cheyenne families. Aptly straddling the narrative benefits of storytelling and the scholastic benefits of dense research, Schweinfurth presents a balanced sociological look at the Cheyenne familial structure.
The Cheyenne Indian nation presents some of the oldest inhabitants of America, and Schweinfurth presents their stories in full colorful details within the pages of “NISH’ KI.” The hunt, the spiritual experiences and the origins of Cheyenne culture are all told in witty, humorous, touching and exacting detail. An Excerpt from the book:
“In 1974 I began four years of recording oral histories and collecting primary documents from an Indian–white Oklahoma community. This was a requirement for a doctoral degree in social anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. I completed the required dissertation, and upon its approval, requested that some material be withheld from publication for ten years or longer. I never intended to permanently suppress the material, but two elderly Cheyenne women, who had been forthright about revealing their everyday stresses and relationships with other members of the Indian community, requested that material I had gathered not be published until sometime after their deaths. They were concerned about remarks they might have made to me during that period of time about their relatives and friends that could be open to unintended interpretation. One person, in particular, worried that her close friends might guess that she had made an unkind remark that would summon a vengeful ghost.
As these women revealed their lives of hardship to an outsider, they always spoke openly with insight and wit. But when speaking about each other, they were inclined to speak in hushed tones and with a tacit understanding of confidentiality. Occasionally a Cheyenne woman would express ambivalence about having her view of the community or the outside world recorded and published, because she believed that outsiders would somehow misconstrue the information. Yet several others thought the Cheyenne community needed some exposure concerning its problems and believed that it might help outsiders understand them better and treat them more fairly.”
About the Author
Kay Schweinfurth grew up in Elk City, a western Oklahoma town located next to a Cheyenne community. She remembers well, from her childhood years, the excitement Cheyenne Indian dancers generated when they arrived in town for festivals. Schweinfurth was fascinated, and from that exposure, developed a compelling desire to learn more about the neighboring Cheyenne. She subsequently earned a B.A. in anthropology from Oklahoma University. She also earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the same institution.
Schweinfurth taught anthropology and Indian history classes at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. She is a Plains Indian researcher. Her book, “Prayer on Top of the Earth: The Spiritual Universe of the Plains Apache” was a co-winner of the 2002 Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Publication Prize.
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