The Women's Warrior Society is a remarkable gathering of characters and voices used to expose truths about Native American life. In tightly woven prose, Lois Beardslee tells stories about
people from all over North America and from either side of the line between abused and abuser. Both individual and archetypal, Native and non-Native, male and female, her characters take up arms
against widely accepted stereotypes about Native people.
Hard to describe in a few words is this thought-provoking, moving, and confrontational collection of stories by Beardslee, an Ojibwa-Lacandon artist, author, and teacher. In a simultaneously lyrical and brutally honest style, she elucidates the Native truths kept alive by the Women's Warrior Society. These powerfully imagined 'women with attitude [and] women with histories of malcontent . . . who sing like wolves' prod us to amend our own actions; their ringing words are meant to be savored, then shared.
These [women warriors]—despite the best intentions of the dominant society—are not going away. And someone really ought to give Lois Beardslee that Pulitzer.
The women warriors in these tales have lived through a variety of mishaps, experiencing the consequences brought on by misinformation
and the misguided efforts of institutions and individuals. Armed with this experience, they gather in unlikely "sweatlodges"—from kitchen tables to public libraries—transforming into she-wolves
who, lips curled, snarl at their own victimization and assert that hope for future generations is maintained through creativity, determination, and the preservation of traditional values.
This is political writing at its most honest and creative. Beardslee's style is poetic and lyrical, and her voice, shifting as it does, both grips us with terrible tone and comforts us with
familiar assurance. A fierce call to action, this book reads like a song cycle—both singing to us and demanding that we sing in response.
Beardslee creates new strategies and measures of
success. Her warriors dance, bark, howl, and transform themselves in unexpected ways that invoke tears, laughter, even awe. They are, above all, driven, successful, and eternally hopeful.