Warrior Woman: The Story of Lozen, Apache Warrior and Shaman

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9780312244088: Warrior Woman: The Story of Lozen, Apache Warrior and Shaman

Warrior Woman is the story of Lozen, sister of the famous Apache warrior Victorio, and warrior in her own right. Hers is a story little discussed in Native American history books. Instead, much of what is known of her has been passed down through generations via stories and legends.

For example, it is said that she was embued with supernatural powers, given to her by the gods. She would lift her arms to the sky and place her palms against the wind, and through the heat she felt in her open hands, she could detect the direction and distance of her enemies. Whether true or not, she did ride into battle alongside Geronimo in the Apache wars, and fought bitterly and savagely until she was captured along with her people, packed into railroad cars, and sent to imprisonment in the east, where she spent her last days.

Peter Aleshire uses historical facts and oral histories to recreate her life. With immaculate detail he tells the story of her childhood, surrounded by the vastness of nature and the Chiricahua legends and religions that shaped her thoughts. He describes her coming-of-age ceremonies, and induction into her tribe as a spiritual leader. As the white men slowly took over the land of her people and forced them from one reservation to another, her role slowly evolved to match that of the staunchest warrior -- an almost unheard-of occurence among the Native Americans of the 19th century, where a woman's place was with the children in the villages.

This is not only the story of Lozen, but the story of her people, from the events leading up to the Apache Wars until their inevitable and unfortunate conclusion.

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About the Author:

Peter Aleshire is a respected and prolific journalist and author of two books, Reaping the Whirlwind and The Fox and the Whirlwind. He teaches in the Department of American Studies at Arizona State University.

From Publishers Weekly:

Little has been written about Lozen, an Apache woman of the late 19th century; even oral accounts are scarce. Yet in this meticulously footnoted conjectural history of the warrior and shaman, Aleshire (The Fox and the Whirlwind), an American studies professor at the State University of Arizona, casts Lozen as a powerful and important leader, her role perhaps deliberately obscured to protect her life. From the 1840s through the 1870s, Lozen fought alongside Geronimo and her brother Victorio, participating in war councils, ambushes of Mexican soldiers, and territorial battles with American settlers and soldiers such as the Battle of Apache Pass, the massacre at Cibecue and countless other struggles. Though the book might have been better billed as historical fiction, Aleshire's informed speculation works well. But his decision to infuse his narrative voice with Native Americanisms--some derived from actual accounts, others apparently from the author's imagination--can seem presumptuous and hackneyed. Aleshire's subjects die from "the spotted disease," they move on course "like an arrow that has left the bow" and they go to "the Happy Place" when killed in battle. Perhaps Apache leaders did compare everything to hawks or deer or falling feathers. Although he tells us from the outset that he's writing this from an Apache viewpoint, in Aleshire's mouth the voice rings false. Only occasionally--as in his discussion of place names or of the complex politics of the Ghost Dances--does his thorough, substantive scholarship outweigh the thin conceit of his narrative voice.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Aleshire, Peter
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ISBN 10: 0312244088 ISBN 13: 9780312244088
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