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Last Standing Woman

25th Anniversary Edition

Hopeful, irreverent, and deeply moving, Winona LaDuke’s Last Standing Woman chronicles the stories and struggles of an Anishinaabe community across seven generations.


Born at the turn of the 21st century, The Storyteller, also known as Ishkwegaabawiikwe (Last Standing Woman), carries her people’s past within her memories. The White Earth Anishinaabe people have lived on the same land for over a thousand years. Among the towering white pines and rolling hills, the people of each generation are born, live out their lives, and are buried.

The arrival of European missionaries changes the community forever. Government policies begin to rob the people of their land, piece by piece. Missionaries and Indian agents work to outlaw ceremonies the Anishinaabeg have practised for centuries. Grave-robbing anthropologists dig up ancestors and whisk them away to museums as artifacts. Logging operations destroy traditional sources of food, pushing the White Earth people to the brink of starvation.

Battling addiction, violence, and corruption, each member of White Earth must find their own path of resistance as they struggle to reclaim stewardship of their land, bring their ancestors home, and stay connected to their culture and to each other.

In this highly anticipated 25th anniversary edition of her debut novel, Winona LaDuke weaves a nonlinear narrative of struggle and triumph, resistance and resilience, spanning seven generations from the 1800s to the early 2000s.


Humor and compassion are ever present, and at its best, Last Standing Woman is a dignified and powerful retelling of one reservation's struggle for survival.

Booklist, quote from review of previous edition

Rooted in LaDuke's own Anishinaabe heritage, the novel skillfully intertwines social history, oral myth and character study in ways reminiscent of Leslie Marmon Silko and Louise Erdrich.

Publishers Weekly, quote from review of previous edition

LaDuke's characters are as vital and fully realized as any in a Louise Erdrich novel...Recommended for both public and academic libraries.

Library Journal, quote from review of previous edition

The Anishinaabe culture leaps off the page and you can practically smell the fry bread cooking on the stove and hear the drums beating in the distance.

Book Snob, quote from review of previous edition

Among Pioneer Press's Literary calendar for week of April 30 list

Pioneer Press

Binge-readable, visceral and quietly powerful.

Pat St. Germain, Vancouver Sun

Fidelity to White Earth's history, love for the Ojibwe language, and joy in the strength of women mark this enthralling new edition of Winona LaDuke's Last Standing Woman.

Louise Erdrich, Pulitzer Prize-winning author