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

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

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

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

Synopsis

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. nbsp; 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.

Excerpt

Annie Dodge Wauneka, the longest-serving woman in Navajo politics, was loved—and feared, disdained, and venerated. During her lifetime, she gathered so many honors and awards that, after her death, a special show was mounted to display them all. Usually when making her acceptance speech after receiving an award, Annie would reassure the presenters that having received this recognition would not lead her to rest on her accomplishments. She’d conclude her speech with some version of “When I get up tomorrow morning, I’ll say ‘I have to go and do more.’ “ Her accomplishments continue to be recognized; in the fall of 2000 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

As a Navajo woman, Annie Dodge Wauneka was both typical and unique. Like most other Navajo women of her generation, she spent many of her childhood years herding sheep, and she continued to raise livestock—both sheep and cattle—well into her old age, managing her herds well. She married young and raised a large family; she was a faithful daughter, a good cook, a thrifty housewife, and a concerned mother. She attended traditional Navajo healing ceremonies for her clan relatives and friends and contributed sheep or cash to the considerable cost of the events. It is no contradiction that alongside her struggle to bring modern medicine to her people, she also respected the traditional medical practitioners and consulted them on spiritual matters. These are the attributes that define an upstanding and admired Navajo woman.

However, in many ways her life differed from that of other Navajo girls born in 1910. She was the daughter of Chee Dodge, the most revered Navajo leader and an important historical figure, and the importance of this cannot be overemphasized.

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