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Daughters of Copper Woman

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  591 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Since its first publication in 1981, Daughters of Copper Woman has become an underground classic, selling over 200,000 copies. Now comes a new edition that includes many pieces cut from the original as well as fresh material added by the author. Here finally, after twenty-two years of gathering dust, is the complete version of the groundbreaking bestseller.

In this, her bes
Paperback, 200 pages
Published March 1st 2002 by Harbour Publishing (first published November 1st 1984)
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Oct 27, 2009 added it
this book is hard for me to read, because it's a retelling of Northwest Coast native american stories from the point of view of a white woman. Having said that, it was recommended to me by someone I respect very much, so I am trying to pull out pearls of wisdom... it's really, really hard to get through the strange and mostly offensive layers of eurocentric storytelling and second wave feminist re framing of native women's stories. This is a tribe based in the region that I grew up in, so the re ...more
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism
I am fairly conflicted about this book. I picked it up and didn't realize that the author was not in fact a part of the people whose stories she was writing down. I would normally avoid reading a book like this as a result of that.

But since I had already bought it I did read it. was okay. It jumps a bit and while women are the focus it just felt a bit disjointed. And I ended up confused about who was telling the stories and how much of this was being transcribed from the original sourc
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those little-known books that every woman should read. From the First People's creation story (a woman was created first) to the repeated concept that we are all connected and are all related, this book is stunningly beautiful, painfully sad, and heart-wrenchingly hopeful. The simple, yet profound stories told by 'Granny' about the way life used to be suck you in and leave you wishing we had never lost the balance and harmony of the time before Europeans 'discovered' the Pacific N ...more
Faith Justice
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Sometimes a book grabs me by the heart and won't let go. Daughters of Copper Woman is one of those books. I've been fascinated by myths, legends and folk tales since I was small. I devoured the children's books about Greek myths and quickly moved on to Norse legends and Grimm's tales. For the most part I enjoyed them as adventure and hero stories filled with fantasy, but (except for fables) little in the way of morals or values. I have an informal collection of the classics, plus books from the ...more
Nov 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rated-five-stars
I found this on my sister, Patti's bookshelf, inscribed from me to my mom in 1989. It's a keeper; I will pass it along to my nieces, Annie and Mo, when I see them in Flagstaff, AZ in December.

From the author's preface:
"From these few women, with the help of a collective of women, with love, and in Sisterhood, this leap of faith that the mistakes and abuse of the past need not continue. There is a better way. Some of us remember the way."

From the story "Qolus the Changeable":
"Some are born, some
Jul 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Snatches of storytelling from a matriarchal society, kept oral for centuries, now written down. Mmm--I lingered in the seasons and in the training of the girls and thrilled to meet "the Children of Happiness" and braced myself for the struggles with the "Keestadores," Which is another word for conquistadors. I appreciate Anne Cameron's injunction not to try to re-tell these stories, but to look instead into your own herstory for stories to write, sing, paint, dance and share.
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mls-textbooks
A series of creation stories, tribal myths and current events woven together in a beautiful collection. I really enjoyed reading these stories and vignettes. The author was given permission to wrote down the history of her people, and to share these stories with the world. They are magical and I highly recommend this book!
Kate Burgan
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women, own
I re-read this book every now and then. I reminds me of the internal strength of women.
Truly a must-have on any woman's shelf, and highly recommended. This book sparked women's circles back to life in the 1980's and brought many women friends into my world. FABULOUS!!!
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This has been my favorite book since I first read it in the early 90's. The women tell their stories and share their wisdom. Also, the women do a lot of the fighting against the Keestadores and the Black Robes. In this tale we are all descendants from the same 4 couples, so we are all related.
Michelle Snyder
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. Very unique mythology of a matriarchal culture. Shamanic in style, this book starts in the long ago mists of time and ends with transistor radios. Wow. Well done.
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it
A bit of feminist history but too politically loaded for my taste. The stories were good ones, but several I have read told better. The book was ok but no major must read, in my opinion.
Michele bookloverforever
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist-classic
this is excellent. what a wonderful tradition! myths and legends showing women as strong, intelligent, contributing members of society and as history keepers.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: Liz
These stories are ancient and new at the same time. Part myth and metaphor, part pragmatic grandmotherly wisdom and heartbreaking history. They illuminate the thread that connects all women.
rheanne ☽
the four stars are for the chapters up to and including "the women's society". i would recommend you read up to page 63, and then only go on to read the next chapter. I didn't take anything from the last eight chapters. the writing transition from chapters nine and ten was obstructive, i was reading really interesting mythology on peoples first creation and afterlife,etc., and about characters named Copper Woman and Mah Teg Yelah, then suddenly, without introduction or a transition, i am reading ...more
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Surprising, a completely different view of the world.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this. I’m not entirely sure where to put it all, but I enjoyed reading. I’ll just stay with that and worry about anything else later.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brings together everything I've learnt in my life up until now, and also being a gateway to a life mission I am ready to step into, a must read for all women.
Susan Eanes
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was our book club selection. I managed not to read it until the day of our book club, because it didn't seem all that intriguing. Boy, was I wrong -- once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. The stories/mythology were new and old at the same time and I found them fascinating. If I had one regret, it was that I wish I started reading it earlier, so I could have read it more slowly and savored the stories. I'll just have to re-read it.

That said, it made for an interesting (and sometimes h
Victor Davis
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a difficult book to review. Like Night or Between the World and Me, it's impossible for me to pass judgment on the firsthand account of an oppressed culture's history. I can say that I admire the ever peaceful, ever hopeful worldview this tribe embraces. The first few chapters start with their creation myths and I thought, well this will be refreshing. But the book transforms into a selection of stories plucked from an oral history passed down by tribe "memorizers." The stories are so vi ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book for a Mythology class I was taking, and our discussions were fascinating. This book is a collection of origin myths, featuring the titular Copper Woman, and relations of stories telling the history of the northwest coast Native Americans. While this collection of stories are told as truths, they are also acknowledged to be retellings by a non-Native American. This formatting brings into question the identity of the author versus the identity of the narrator, which was a great di ...more
Mar 13, 2016 added it
I borrowed this book from my friend Mira who has amassed the best ecofeminist library I've ever seen. Daughers of Copper Woman is a collection of indigenous Pacific Northwest mythology, a retelling of the history of Western colonization from the perspective of indigenous women, and a reservoir of knowledge about an old matriarchal indigenous society that has been preserved in fragments through oral narrative. It was compiled by Anne Cameron (a white woman), through speaking with indigenous elder ...more
Monica Mody
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Daughters of Copper Woman is one of those books that carries such a strong spirit that you may call it subversive. Based on stories given to Vancouver Island writer Anne Cameron by the elderwomen of the Nootka indigenous peoples, the book takes us back to the dawn of Time itself, when Copper Woman learnt to Endure with the help of the Old Magic, Old Ways taught to her by the Old Ones. This knowledge and wisdom too has Endured through thousands of years, despite so much of it getting torn apart, ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Daughters of Copper Woman is a beautiful triumph. It is the work of Anne Cameron to preserve the stories of Northwest Coast Indian Women's mythology. It is everything that female-centered writing has become known to mean - it is fluid, loving, cyclical, sensual and heartbreaking. A few of the myths seemed at first strange and alien - women creating children out of mucus and then creating more lives with through that child or a goddess coming to earth to create a family with a woman - but I think ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting series of connected short stories. Really for woman but very interesting to men as well. I loved the part where man was created from the snot of woman. Good shot!
I've known many old Indian woman in my growing-up days in Northern Canada (Yukon) and some of them where like "Old Woman'. They were generally the strength and the only strength left in the mostly dysfunctional families (there were exceptions). It was a hard time with the residential schools and all. I hope things ha
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myth, women, novella, indian
I enjoyed reading this and agree with many of the slams against it along with the positive aspects of the book.
Part of the confusion of the book it that mixes 'myth' with 'history’ in an unfamiliar way and through an outsider perspective. The first part of the book is a retelling of the creation myth and how the people came to be where they are. I enjoyed this greatly. The next part is about mapping traditions stemming from those stories to historical events cummulating in current day trials.
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After difficult childhood full of bullying this book helped me regain self esteem. I discovered Daughters of Copper Woman thanks to my hippie friend who was working in a tea house and was all into feminism (in a good way - natural strength of woman and similar, not the angry feminazi you see nowadays). This boom helped me overcome many more difficult periods of my life, and I still grab it every now and then to remind me how strong the story is. Certainly it is one of the most important pieces i ...more
Ruth Charchian
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
This underground classic first published in 1981 is an inspiring read. It takes place in or near Vancouver, BC. and tells the history of the Indian women and their importance to each other of memorizing their life stories and passing on what they learned to the next generations of women. It starts on a real inspirational high and drifts off later in the book. Nevertheless, it contains some real gems and reminders of what it takes to live fully under the protection of other women.
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, north-america
3.5 stars. A lovely written version of oral histories of NW Coast tribes (of North America); the histories (herstories) have been kept & passed on through women in this matriarchal society. The tales range from origin stories to modern-day musings/retellings of the importance of keeping knowledge alive by sharing the wisdom. Enlightening, uplifting, & heartbreaking at the same time. It's like you are listening to someone speak, but through your eyes.
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadiana
I read this book as part of a book club at work. I didn't like it at all and I'm not sure why it has become a local classic. This isn't to say I do not like tribal west coast myths. The best stories I've heard of this genre were told to me by an native artist who carved wooden masks for the tribal potlatches and for collectors. He really made the stories and mystique of the culture come alive. Sadly this book didn't do that for me.
I've long enjoyed creation stories and the ways in which different oral tranditions and historical perspectives often parallel each other. Cameron, herself not of the North Pacific tribes of which she writes, offers nonetheless an interesting rendition of women's roles, strengths and wisdom in her adopted culture.
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Barbara Anne Cameron (born August 20, 1938 in Nanaimo, British Columbia) is a Canadian novelist, poet, screenwriter and short story writer.

Cameron legally changed her name from her birth name, Barbara Cameron, to Cam Hubert and later changed her name from Cam Hubert to Anne Cameron. She has written under these names.

Much of her work is inspired by Northwest Coast First Nations' mythology and cultu

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