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I'll Go and Do More: Annie Dodge Wauneka, Navajo Leader and Activist [Hardcover]

Carolyn Niethammer

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Book Description

April 1 2001 American Indian Lives
I'll Go and Do More is the story of Annie Dodge Wauneka (1918–97), one of the best-known Navajos of all time. A daughter of the popular Navajo leader Chee Dodge, Wauneka spent most of her early years herding sheep and raising nine children. After her father's death, she entered politics and was often the only woman on the Navajo Tribal Council during the quarter century that she served. Wauneka became a forceful and articulate advocate for Indian health care, education, and other issues, working both on the reservation and in the halls of Congress to improve the lives of the Navajos.
Carolyn Niethammer draws on interviews with family and friends, speeches, and correspondence to offer an arresting and readable portrait of this complex Navajo woman. Wauneka's professional and personal triumphs and challenges—her temper was legendary—are rendered vividly, enabling readers to better appreciate the enduring accomplishments of the Navajos' Legendary Mother.

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From Publishers Weekly

A pioneering and forceful activist who achieved national recognition and was known to the Navaho nation as Our Legendary Mother, Wauneka (1910-1997) was the daughter of the wealthy and charismatic Navaho leader Chee Dodge and his temporary wife, Kee'hanabah. Growing up, Wauneka didn't receive all the advantages that her older half-siblings did, which may account for her lifetime effort to walk in her father's footsteps, suggests Niethammer (Daughters of the Earth: The Lives and Legends of American Indian Women). While the other children were sent to boarding schools, Annie stayed home, herding the family's livestock. She had periods of schooling, but her real education happened late at night, watching her father's political machinations. Yet it wasn't until the early 1940s, after she was married and a mother, that she chose to become involved in tribal politics herself. Health and child welfare became her main concerns, as she created major campaigns against tuberculosis, trachoma, bad sanitation, alcoholism and peyote use. Since this meant working with (white) government officials, she created "cultural bridges," such as a Navaho-English dictionary for interpreting medical terms, and incorporating medicine men into public health initiatives. Perhaps because Niethammer is not herself Indian, she focuses on Wauneka's political experiences rather than her personal life. In any case, author and subject never had a personal interview in which more intimate questions might have been raised (about Wauneka's curiously distant marriage or her disabled children, for example). Scholarly but accessible, this latest entry in Nebraska's American Indian Lives series should appeal to students of modern Native American history.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


“Niethammer has done an excellent job with this well-written biography. Using both written and oral sources, she presents a fascinating portrait of Annie, accompanied by enough stories and anecdotes to make her subject come alive to the reader.”—Journal of Arizona History

“A very satisfying book, skillfully blending Navajo tribal history with Wauneka's story simultaneously providing insight into both twentieth-century tribal politics and the personality of a remarkable individual.”—Sherry L. Smith, New Mexico Historical Review
(Sherry L. Smith)

“I highly recommend reading I’ll Go and Do More; especially for American Indian women who have goals and aspirations of becoming a leader in their community. Dr. Annie Wauneka was a special and unique individual who lived ahead of her time.”—Peterson Zah, former Chairman and President of the Navajo Nation
(Peterson Zah)

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Annie Dodge Wauneka - An Example for Us All Aug. 19 2008
By Indian Maid - Published on Amazon.com
Annie Dodge Wauneka overcame prejudice against women, Indigenous People, and Dine'. She had the support of a fine man who was happy to stay home and run the ranch and raise their children so that she could make a huge difference in the lives of The People. She travelled and influenced members of Congress and Presidents. Her motto was, "I must go and do more", which she did, because it was hers to do and it needed doing. Every Indigenous female ought to read this book. I think if they did, we'd have fewer problems with domestic abuse, enabling, and alcohol and drug use by males (who start out as boys) and females alike.
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written, Interesting Feb. 25 2014
By Barbara Marriott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Niethasmmer does an outstanding job of presenting the life of a uniquje women. Years of research enabled her to get close to many Navajo's and come up with a complete story. No one has presented a fasirer, and more indepth study of Wauneka or the Navajo culture.

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