Women of the Dawn
Praise for Bunny McBride’s Molly Spotted Elk: A Penobscot in Paris:
“An engrossing account of Molly’s adventurous life.”—Publishers Weekly. “A first-rate documentary in a neglected area of American Indian studies, that of Indians in show business.”—American Indian Culture and Resource Journal. “Although McBride’s anthropology credentials are obvious in her depictions of Molly’s cultural heritage, the exuberant writing fairly pulses with the same energy and keen intellect possessed by Molly herself.”—Booklist.
Women of the Dawn tells the story of four remarkable Wabanaki (“Dawnland”) Indian women who lived in northern New England at different times between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. Coincidentally, the women shared the first name of Marie—bestowed by Catholic missionaries and distinctively pronounced by Wabanakis as “Molly.”
The lives of the four Mollys cumulatively span four pivotal centuries that witnessed far-reaching changes in the world of the Wabanakis. The earliest, Molly Mathilde (ca. 1655–1717), was born in an era when the Wabanakis were experiencing fully for the first time the effects of colonial warfare, disease, and displacement. The saga continues with the tales of the legendary, fiery tempered healer Molly Ockett (ca. 1740–1816), and the stubborn, feared, and altogether misunderstood Molly Molasses (ca. 1775–1867). The final story belongs to Molly Dellis Nelson (a.k.a. Molly Spotted Elk, 1903–1977), a renowned performer on European stages who was born at the dawn of the Wabanakis’ cultural renewal in the modern era. Women of the Dawn draws on Bunny McBride’s expertise as an ethnohistorian and talent as a writer of creative nonfiction to produce a vivid, illuminating, and moving account of the history of the Wabanakis and their women.
Bunny McBride is an adjunct lecturer of anthropology at Kansas State University and a visiting lecturer in anthropology at Principia College in Illinois. She is the author of Molly Spotted Elk: A Penobscot in Paris and Our Lives in Our Hands: Micmac Indian Basketmakers.