Brenda Child Shares Stories Full of Connections


Andrea Gladney

Brenda Child

Andrea Gladney, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, March 6 Brenda Child gave a presentation on her book Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community in the upper level conference center here at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Child spoke for an hour to a rather large group of students and staff. Aside from reading excerpts from her book, she discussed the Ojibwe women of Lake Superior and the Mississippi River and how they’ve shaped Native American life.

She also spoke about her son Frankie McNamara, who is currently a history major at SMSU.

Child is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota. She received her PhD at the University of Iowa and some of her other published work includes, Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families and Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences.

“These stories are about the significant involvement of woman as society builders,” said Child. “Most documents are produced by biased men who were colonizing America,” she continued.

Child started off with a short excerpt from Holding Our World Together, which was about an interview a young man did with his 98 year old grandmother.

The excerpt included information about this woman’s life growing up as an Ojibwe woman, marriage in the 19th century, and supporting her family after her husbands death.

Another excerpt read by Child was about Edna Bellinger and Edwin Carl who told stories about their grandmother’s puberty experience and the Dakota Ojibwe conflicts.

“Raise your hand if you can describe your grandmother’s puberty story in great detail?” Child said jokingly.

The third and final excerpt discussed a man by the name of James Whipson. Throughout the story he describes his experiences as a world war two veteran, deciding to go fight, and growing up poor with his grandmother Kate Frost.

Before wrapping up, Child answered a few questions and conversed with the audience about different ideals and situations.

She then went on to sign a few books and take some photos.

“Thank you so much, you were a fabulous audience,” said Child.