Cover image for Women of the dawn
Women of the dawn
McBride, Bunny.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 152 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Moon of ripening berries: Molly Mathilde (Marie Mathilde), ca. 1665-1717 -- Moon of freezing river: Molly Ockett (Marie Agathe), ca. 1740-1816 -- Moon of blinding snow: Molly Molasses (Mary Pelagie), ca. 175-1867 -- Sowing Moon: Molly Dellis (Mary Alice Nelson Archambaud), 1903-1977.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.A13 M43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Women of the Dawn tells the stories of four remarkable Wabanaki Indian women who lived in northeast America during the four centuries that devastated their traditional world. Their courageous responses to tragedies brought on by European contact make up the heart of the book.   The narrative begins with Molly Mathilde (1665-1717), a mother, a peacemaker, and the daughter of a famous chief. Born in the mid-1600s, when Wabanakis first experienced the full effects of colonial warfare, disease, and displacement, she provided a vital link for her people through her marriage to the French baron of St. Castin. The sage continues with the shrewd and legendary healer Molly Ockett (1740-1816) and the reputed witchwoman Molly Molasses (1775-1867). The final chapter belongs to Molly Dellis Nelson (1903-1977) (known as Spotted Elk), a celebrated performer on European stages who lived to see the dawn of Wabanaki cultural renewal in the modern era.

Author Notes

Bunny McBride is the author of Molly Spotted Elk: A Penobscot in Paris , among other works. She is an adjunct lecturer of anthropology at Kansas State University and Principia College, and guest curator for an exhibit based on this book at the Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

McBride chronicles the lives of four Mollies, all Wabanaki/Penobscot women from different centuries, who adapted to the non-Indian presence and attempts at assimilation in different ways. The stories of the four women provide a brief glimpse into the difficulties encountered by Maine Indians from the days of the fur traders to the present, and show how people struggled and survived. The life of Molly Dellis Nelson, better known by her stage name of Molly Spotted Elk (see McBride's biography Molly Spotted Elk, CH, Feb'96), serves as the theme connecting the women. With her account of Molly Dellis Nelson and her interest in the earlier Mollies and tribal history and culture, McBride ends on a note of optimism for tribal cultures. Because there is little biographical data available on Native American women, McBride used her knowledge of native culture to imagine how the women felt and behaved at crucial points in their lives. This creative approach to writing history is controversial, but a section on methodology and references explains the basis for McBride's reconstructions, which humanize the women and make their stories more interesting. General readers; undergraduates. M. J. Schneider; University of North Dakota

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Portagep. 1
1. Moon of Ripening Berries: Molly Mathilde (Marie Mathilde), ca. 1665-1717p. 5
Portagep. 39
2. Moon of Freezing Rivers: Molly Ockett (Marie Agathe), ca. 1740-1816p. 43
Portagep. 69
3. Moon of Blinding Snow: Molly Molasses (Mary Pelagie), ca. 1775-1867p. 73
Portagep. 95
4. Sowing Moon: Molly Dellis (Mary Alice Nelson Archambaud), 1903-1977p. 99
Portagep. 133
Methodology and Referencesp. 135
Illustrationsp. 152