Whirlwind belonged to the Oglala Sioux, the people of Crazy Horse. Born in 1820 near the Black Hills, she knew prosperity—her father could afford an expensive Buffalo Maiden ceremony—and eventually tragedy.
The Indian woman feels profoundly the chill of change: the decimation of the buffalo, the coming of white settlers to the Great Plains, the wars that reduce her people to raggedness. After the Battle of the Little Big Horn and an attack that leaves her band homeless, Grandmother Whirlwind faces her final challenge in joining the band’s journey through snow toward refuge in Canada. With attention to timeless humanity and time-bound history, Dorothy M. Johnson’s novel follows the life of Whirlwind, seeing through her eyes the daily routine and rituals of the Sioux.
"Dorothy M. Johnson’s use of the woman’s point of view is a rare contribution to the western. . . . [Buffalo Woman is a] powerful novel presenting the dilemma of the displaced Indian in a white man’s world, written from the Indian point of view . . . [and] characterized by conciseness of prose style and accuracy of detail."—Judy Alter in Twentieth-Century Western Writers
Winner of the 1978 Western Heritage Award for fiction presented by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame