We Are Dancing for You
Native Feminisms and the Revitalization of Women’s Coming-of-Age Ceremonies
Published by: University of Washington Press
208 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 0 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295743448
- Published: June 2018
“I am here. You will never be alone. We are dancing for you.” So begins Cutcha Risling Baldy’s deeply personal account of the revitalization of the women’s coming-of-age ceremony for the Hoopa Valley Tribe. At the end of the twentieth century, the tribe’s Flower Dance had not been fully practiced for decades. The women of the tribe, recognizing the critical importance of the tradition, undertook its revitalization using the memories of elders and medicine women and details found in museum archives, anthropological records, and oral histories.
Deeply rooted in Indigenous knowledge, Risling Baldy brings us the voices of people transformed by cultural revitalization, including the accounts of young women who have participated in the Flower Dance. Using a framework of Native feminisms, she locates this revival within a broad context of decolonizing praxis and considers how this renaissance of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies confounds ethnographic depictions of Native women; challenges anthropological theories about menstruation, gender, and coming-of-age; and addresses gender inequality and gender violence within Native communities.
Risling Baldy skillfully argues that a Native feminist analytic reveals that Native feminisms were not introduced by Western culture, but have always been contained in oral narratives and are fundamental aspects of Native culture and society.~Olivia Chilcote, News from Native California
Risling Baldy distinctly positions the significance of coming-of-age ceremonies through arduous historical research, sophisticated contributions to Native feminisms, and Indigenous narrative interweavings.~Gender & Society
Her book is well-written, well-argued, and a joy to read for scholars and general audiences alike!~IK: Other Ways of Knowing
This text is critical for scholars of Native studies, American Indian studies, anthropology, sociology, psychology, gender studies, history, and American studies, as well as other fields... In centering a gendered ceremonial practice, We Are Dancing for You documents that cultural resurgence, decolonizing praxis, and Native feminisms provide a space for academics to recognize the daily and ceremonial roles of Indigenous women in indigenizing space and place in their homelands and homewaters. Beyond the academy, Risling Baldy references the positive outcomes for ceremonial participants and reminds readers of the critical and utilitarian need to re-indigenize Indigenous life.~American Indian Culture and Research Journal