Ruth Landes: A Life in Anthropology

By Sally Cole | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Lusty Shamans in the Midwest

BEFORE HER LANDMARK study of Afro-Brazilian religion, The City of Women (1947), Ruth Landes made two more extended field trips to Native American communities during the Great Depression years, both funded by grants to Columbia University managed by Ruth Benedict. "The immediate drive behind my Columbia-sponsored research was boundless regard for the characters and geniuses of [Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict]” she later recalled (1970a:v). Landes welcomed the opportunity to continue to develop her field observation skills and to collect data to publish, but she also needed the work. Since her separation from her husband she had found herself, now 24 years of age, again financially dependent upon her parents and living with them in their apartment. At least when she was in the field she could live on her own and regain some sense of independence by supporting herself. The grants were to cover her living costs and research expenses while away, but there would be nothing left to live on when back in New York. If, at least in the short term, the arrangement helped Ruth Landes, it also suited Ruth Benedict. Benedict could benefit from Ruth Landes's already sophisticated powers of observation and recording and from the hard work and youthful energy of a student seeking to impress her.

In the summer and fall of 1933 Landes was based at Red Lake, Minnesota where she worked particularly with Chippewa (Ojibwa) shaman or midé Will Rogers and continued the study of Ojibwa religion she had begun with Maggie Wilson. In the fall and winter of 1935—36 Ruth would conduct field research with two groups: the easternmost Siouan-language speakers near Red Wing, Minnesota, whose way of life closely resembled their Algonquian-speaking neighbors, the Ojibwa; and the southernmost Algonquian speakers, the Potawatomi in Kansas.

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Ruth Landes: A Life in Anthropology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Ruth Landes - A Life in Anthropology *
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations *
  • Series Editors' Introduction *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • Part One - Beginnings *
  • Chapter One - Immigrant Daughter *
  • Chapter Two - New Woman *
  • Chapter Three - Student at Columbia *
  • Part Two - Apprenticeship in Native American Worlds *
  • Prologue *
  • Chapter Four - Maggie Wilson and Ojibwa Women's Stories *
  • Chapter Five - Lusty Shamans in the Midwest *
  • Part Three - She-Bull in Brazil's China Closet *
  • Prologue *
  • Chapter Six - Fieldwork in Brazil *
  • Chapter Seven - Writing Afro-Brazilian Culture in New York *
  • Chapter Eight - The Early Ethnography of Race and Gender *
  • Conclusion - Life and Career *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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