Mary's childhood, which was also spent at the Rosebud Reservation, was filled with poverty, brutality, and racism. The social status of women had drastically changed since colonization, and the introduction of the 1876 Indian Act, which instigated the eroding of native women's rights in various domains. Part of this had been the introduction of mandatory education in residential schools for all children, and Mary, like her mother, was forced to attend. Her years there were desperately hard, with nuns that beat the children if observed practicing cultural customs or speaking their native tongue, and the young teenager ran away. Aggressive, angry, and confused, within a short space of time, Mary Crow Dog had, like so many other Indian women before her, entered the world of alcohol and drugs (Lakota Woman, 1990).
It was while she was still a teenager that Mary Crow Dog became involved in the protest activities of the American Indian Movement (AIM), where she began to discover her true Indian identity. This enabled personal development and individual growth that helped her come to terms with being a 'half breed' - something which had deeply affected her. ...Show more