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.
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“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
(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 New Mexico Historical Review
“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