In the 1930s, young anthropologist Ruth Landes crafted this startlingly intimate glimpse into the lives of Ojibwa women, a richly textured ethnography widely recognized as a classic study of gender relations in a native society. By collaborating closely with Maggie Wilson, a woman of Scots-Cree descent who grew up among the Ojibwas, Landes was able to explore the complexity of Ojibwa women’s experiences in compelling and often uncompromising detail. Sexuality and violence, marital rights and responsibilities, and the constraints and opportunities afforded by traditional and modern aspects of Ojibwa culture are all thoroughly and thoughtfully examined in this study.
Landes’s pioneering work continues to inspire lively debate today, her study having thrown into relief essential questions about the nature of gender relations among native peoples and how to best interpret them.
Ruth Landes is the author of Ojibwa Sociology, Ojibwa Religion and Midéwiwin, and City of Women.
Sally Cole, an assistant professor of anthropology at Concordia University, is currently working on a biography of Ruth Landes.