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Standing Up to Colonial Power

The Lives of Henry Roe and Elizabeth Bender Cloud

Renya K. Ramirez

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 12/2018
Pages: 304
Subject: Social Science
eBook ISBN: 9781496212689


Standing Up to Colonial Power focuses on the lives, activism, and intellectual contributions of Henry Cloud (1884–1950), a Ho-Chunk, and Elizabeth Bender Cloud (1887–1965), an Ojibwe, both of whom grew up amid settler colonialism that attempted to break their connection to Native land, treaty rights, and tribal identities. Mastering ways of behaving and speaking in different social settings and to divergent audiences, including other Natives, white missionaries, and Bureau of Indian Affairs officials, Elizabeth and Henry relied on flexible and fluid notions of gender, identity, culture, community, and belonging as they traveled Indian Country and within white environments to fight for Native rights. Elizabeth fought against termination as part of her role in the National Congress of American Indians and General Federation of Women's Clubs, while Henry was one of the most important Native policy makers of the early twentieth century. He documented the horrible abuse within the federal boarding schools and co-wrote the Meriam Report of 1928, which laid the foundation for the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Together they ran an early college preparatory Christian high school, the American Indian Institute. Standing Up to Colonial Power shows how the Clouds combined Native warrior and modern identities as a creative strategy to challenge settler colonialism, to become full members of the U.S. nation-state, and to fight for tribal sovereignty. Renya K. Ramirez uses her dual position as a scholar and as the granddaughter of Elizabeth and Henry Cloud to weave together this ethnography and family-tribal history.  


Renya K. Ramirez (enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska) is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Gender, Belonging, and Native American Women: The Activism of Sarah Deer and Cecelia Fire Thunder and Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond. Ramirez is the executive producer, co-producer, screenwriter, and co-director of the film Standing in the Place of Fear: Legacy of Henry Roe Cloud.   


"Ramirez tells a valuable story of indigenous resistance and a family legacy of activism."—Publishers Weekly

"Moving. . . . This is the first project authored by a descendant of these leaders and offers a uniquely nuanced understanding of their activism. The book is a beautiful contribution to the literature on the early twentieth-century Native American experience and honors the life and legacy of two extraordinary leaders."—Amy Lonetree (Ho-Chunk), associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Decolonizing Museums:  Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums

"Renya Ramirez explores how Ho-Chunk and Ojibwe cultures influenced [her grandparents'] shared visions. . . . [and] discusses the vital work of these two leaders in a deeply personal voice."—Lisbeth Haas, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Saints and Citizens: Indigenous Histories of Colonial and Mexican California