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Cherokee Women in Charge: Female Power and Leadership in American Indian Nations of Eastern North America by Karen Coody Cooper

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This important book is more episodic than exhaustive as it captures both spirit and substance of the transition from traditional matrilineal power to power relations designed to appease and co-exist with the patriarchal structures of the conquering peoples of European descent. The first section of this book examines the power of women in traditional Cherokee society. The second section looks at other Eastern U.S. tribes in a quick survey of the centuries from the 6th to the 20th. The final section swings back to focus on the Cherokees as it abandons the Eastern U.S. to consider not just the Eastern Band, but women of Cherokee descent all over the country, including Oklahoma. McFarland has carved out an important niche in the publishing landscape in recent years. It publishes books that address academic concerns that either university presses will not consider because they are not scholarly enough or that authors do not want to submit to university presses because they don’t want to wait two or three years between submission and publication. The author, Karen Coody Cooper is retired from working for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and now lives in Florida. She claims a Cherokee grandmother but not a tribal number.

Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2022. 237 pages with an Index, References, and photos. 7” X 10” trade paperback.