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THE CUTTING OF MY LONG HAIR by Zitkala-Sa

   Fri, September 1, 2006 - 8:59 PM
"But this eating by formula was not the hardest trial in that first day. Late in the morning, my friend Judewin gave me a terrible warning. Judewin knew a few words of English, and she had overheard the paleface woman talk about cutting our long, heavy hair. Our mothers had taught us that only unskilled warriors who were captured had their hair shingled by the enemy. Among our people, short hair was worn by mourners, and shingled hair by cowards!

We discussed our fate some moments, and when Judewin said, "We have to submit, because they are strong," I rebelled.

"No, I will not submit! I will struggle first!" I answered. "

A vital link between the oral cultures of tribal America and the literate culture of contemporary American Indians, Gertrude Bonnin was the third child of Ellen Tate 'I yohiwin Simmons, a full-blood Yankton Sioux. Born in 1876 on a Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and known as Zitkala-Sa, which means Red Bird, she was raised in a tipi on the Missouri River until she was 12 when she went to a Quaker missionary school for Indians--White's Manual Institute--in Wabash, Indiana. Though her mother was reluctant to let her go to the boarding school she herself had attended when young, she wanted to ensure her daughter's ability to fend for herself later in life among an increasing number of palefaces.

Zitkala-Sa



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