Michigan and the Great Lakes

Mountain Wolf Woman, Sister of Crashing Thunder

The Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian
Nancy Oestreich Lurie, Editor
Foreword by Ruth Underhill
A classic ethnography of continuing importance


From pony to airplane, from medicine dance to Christian worship— Mountain Wolf Woman, Sister of Crashing Thunder is the life story of a Winnebago woman, told in her own words to her adopted kinswoman, Nancy Lurie. This retelling of more than seventy-five years of Native American life is both a candid and compelling account of how one woman lived through a period of cultural crisis.

Mountain Wolf Woman tells of her childhood in Wisconsin, her brief stay at a mission school, her marriage to "Bad Soldier," and her religious experiences with peyote. Her struggle to maintain her family against many hardships—odds that would have defeated a less vigorous and self-confident person—underscores her perseverance and tenacity. Whether she is describing her wanderings as a child or her misfortunes later in life, Mountain Wolf Woman sets forth her views in honest and perceptive terms, adding all the more power to her narrative.

This book is a valuable companion to the story of Mountain Wolf Woman's brother, immortalized by Paul Radin in Crashing Thunder, a classic of anthropological literature. It will also be of interest to those interested in ethnographic records, the role of women in native cultures, and Midwestern Native Americans, in general.

Nancy O. Lurie has written extensively on Native American culture over her long career. She is now retired from her former position as head curator of anthropology, Milwaukee Public Museum.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . a notable contribution to the literature of culture change and culture and personality."
    American Anthropologist
  • " . . . a superb human document."
    Chicago Sun-Times
  • " . . . one of those rare books . . . ."
    Saturday Review

Look Inside


Chapter I   Earliest Recollections     1
Chapter II   Livelihood     8
Chapter III   Growing Up     18
Chapter IV   Marriage     29
Chapter V   Conversion to Peyote     39
Chapter VI   We Live at Black River Falls     52
Chapter VII   Medicines and a Vision     61
Chapter VIII   Children and Grandchildren     69


A   First Version of Mountain Wolf Woman's Autobiography     84
B   Commentary by Nancy Oestreich Lurie     92
C   Pronunciation Guide     109

Notes     111
Map     19

Product Details

  • 5 x 8.
  • 176pp.
  • 15 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1961
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06109-9

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  • $15.95 U.S.