Turtle Lung Woman’s Granddaughter

$15.00 each

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The unforgettable story of several generations of Lakota women, told in their words. Red Shirt has delicately woven the life stories of her mother and great-grandmother into a continuous narrative for Lakota women from traditional times to the present.

Available in paperback or hardcover.  Delphine Red Shirt (Lakota), Turtle Lung Woman’s Granddaughter. 2002.

Turtle Lung Woman's Granddaughter is the unforgettable story of several generations of Lakota women, told in their words. Delphine Red Shirt-like her mother, Lone Woman, and her mother's grandmother, Turtle Lung Woman-grew up on the wide open Plains of northern Nebraska and southern South Dakota. Lone Woman told her daughter the story of her life growing up on Pine Ridge in the early and mid-twentieth century. Remarkably, Lone Woman also recounted the life of her own grandmother, Turtle Lung Woman, who had grown up Lakota before her people had been forced to live on reservations in the late nineteenth century. These two women's lives overlapped by fifteen years, allowing the younger to learn many fascinating details and stories about the life and times of the elder. Delphine Red Shirt has delicately woven the life stories of her mother and great-grandmother into a continuous narrative that succeeds triumphantly as a moving, epic saga of Lakota women from traditional times to the present. Especially revealing and riveting are Turtle Lung Woman's relationship with her husband, Paints His Face with Clay Land, her healing practice as a medicine woman (where turtle shells become animated and crawl during the Yuw'pi ceremony), Lone Woman's hardships and celebrations growing up in the early twentieth century, and many wonderful details of their domestic lives before and during the early reservation years. Lone Woman passed away just after telling her story to her daughter. This splendid, magical story is a legacy for her and for all Lakota women. 

Turtle Lung Woman’s granddaughter is Delphine Red Shirt’s mother, and this is the story she told to her daughter. Her mother’s language is used extensively throughout the story, so that one can see the beauty of the words, and how they carry meaning and connotation in a way not familiar to those who speak only English. The story is remarkable. Turtle Lung Woman, Kheglezela Chaguwi’s, long life—1851-1935—began at a time when it was still possible to live in a traditional way. She lived through changes so vast they can scarcely be comprehended. In all that time, this woman belonged to her own spirit. From Turtle Lung Woman to her granddaughter; from Wiya Isnala to her daughter, the story becomes living memory. Through Delphine Red Shirt, it comes to us, a gift for all with clear sight and open hearts.