Zitkala-Sa struggled with the conflicting influences of American-Indian and white culture throughout her life. Raised on a Sioux reservation, she attended boarding schools that enforced assimilation and was witness to major events in white-Indian relations in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Drawing on personal experience, Zitkala-Sa's stories and articles illuminate the tragedy and complexity of the American-Indian experience. In authoritative prose, she encourages new thinking about the perceptions, assumptions and customs of both Sioux and white cultures and raises questions about assimilation, identity and race relations that remain relevant today.
Zitkala-Sa (1876-1938) was editor of American Indian Magazine and founder of the National Council of American Indians, the tribal advocacy group that she led until her death. Cathy N. Davidson teaches English at Duke University, where she is Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. Ada Norris is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at Duke.