When Chicago reporter Teresa Dean arrived at Pine Ridge on the Sioux Indian Reservation in 1890,the first words she heard were, "Go home!" "It's too dangerous!" "This is no place for a woman."
Her fellow reporters, all male, all loaded down with rifles and revolvers, were about to have their photo taken, one to send to all their editors back East. The stylishly dressed woman might raise doubts about the grave danger they wrote of daily: they were risking their lives to cover the "Battle of Wounded Knee." She was escorted out of the frame.
Read how Reporter Dean's experiences at Pine Ridge changed her life and her perception of the Sioux in the Nancy Peterson's article "Unwantd Reporter" in the October 2011 issue of Wild West magazine.####
Chicken Soup for the Soul is reprinting Nancy's essay, "Stepping Out," as promotional material for the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Empty Nesters published in 2008. The story describes how she and her husband avoided becoming Mr. and Mrs. Curmudgeon after the last chick left for college. To get a new life, they signed up for Western dance lessons and were soon doing Cotton-Eyed Joes and Tush Pushes with the best of them. That led to square dancing and a whole new world. The piece appears in the August 22, 2011 issue of Woman's World magazine. ####
The June 2011 issue of Wild West magazine contains Nancy Peterson's article, "The Huntress and Her Wildlife." It tells the story of Martha Maxwell, who went to Colorado to hunt for gold and discovered a new art that would become her obcession.
Maxwell immersed herself in the study of Colroado's fauna and taught herself to preserve the creatures she collected using the new science of taxidermy. Slight of form but determined in spirit, she learned to shoot and took her daughter and husband on strenuous collection trips in both mountains and plains.
But her preserved birds, rabbits and foxes did not stand stifly on shelves. With her knowledge of nature and artistic talent, she displayed her finds in their natural habitat, the first taxidermist to do so. Grasses and flowers, rocks and brush, pine trees and boulders recreated their accustomed homes. And they were in action. A mountain lion leaped after a deer. A fox peered from a crevice. An eagle perched on a dead limb. People had never seen anything like it.
She quickly earned respect and fame. But her obcession allowed little time for family and relatonshps were strained. In Wild West , read how she struggled to achieve greater fame and make a living as the only female taxidermist in the nation.
"Footprints along the Platte" was Nancy Peterson's topic when she spoke to the Windsor Gardens Friday Book Review Club recently.####
The slide talk was based on interesting people she discovered when researching and writing People of the Moonshell; A Western River Jounral. The book explores the importance of the Platte River, which became the way West for explorers, pioneers, Pony Express riders, telegraphers, artists, scientists, and railroaders.
Working from diaries, journals, letters and reminiscences, Peterson delves into the experiences of such historical characters as young Dr. Edwin James, the first man to climb Pike's Peak, William N. Byers, who founded the Rocky Mountain News and gold-seeker Molly Sanford, who found life disrupted when her husband went off to fight a Rebel force in Colorado's Civil War.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family contains Nancy Peterson's essay about her late mother-in-law, Helen A. Peterson, who had a quirk that made the family laugh. The section, "In-Laws and Outlaws," relates adventures of two families learning to live with each other. In an article titled, "To Each Her Own," Nancy describes how Helen, who spent her childhood on the Nebraska prairie in a dugout that her family gradually developed into a house, taught her adult children that "there is more than one way to skin a cat," -- or use a dishwasher. The book is widely available at bookstores and on-line.####
Nancy Peterson was recently the speaker at Littleton's Bemis Public Library. Her talk focused on three of the women whose stories are told in her book Walking in Two Worlds; Mixed-Blood Indian Women Seeking Their Path.
Nancy Peterson recently poke to the Book Ends book club about her book, Walking in Two Worlds; Mixed-Blood Indian Women Seeking Their Path.####
43rd Annual Neihardt Day Declared a Success
She also addressed the Mount Rosa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, givinge a slide lecture titled "Westering Women." Peterson profiled some of the courageous women who found their destiny along the Platte and Missouri rivers. They included a missionary, a gold-seeker, a homemaker and a Hidatsa Indian girl.
Nancy M. Peterson is keynote speaker
Around one hundred people sat is the shade of huge cottonwood trees on August 3 in Bancroft, Nebraska, as the John Neihardt State Historic Site honored Nebraska's long-time poet laureate. Neihardt is probably best known for recording Black Elk Speaks, the life story of the Oglala Holy Man.
The museum and education center is dedicated to the life and work of Neihardt and his small studio is preserved nearby. The John G Niehardt Foundation honors the poet's work each August. This year's program, the 43rd Annual state-legislated celebration, featured Nancy M. Peterson as keynote speaker. She spoke about the Missouri River's early history, which she wrote about in her second book, People of the Troubled Water. She shared experiences of trapper John Colter and Mormon immigrant Jane Richards.
She also discussed the Omaha tribe's connection with the white man, Niehardt's friendship with the Joseph LaFlesche family, and the lives of Susette Laflesche Tibbles and Sussn LaFlesche Picotte. The women are profiled in her book, Walking in Two Worlds: Mixed-Blood Indian Women Seeking Their Path.
Also in the 2008 program for John Neihardt Day, was author Tim Anderson, who is working on an authorized biography of Neihardt,and Native American Flutist Garan Coons. Anderson focused on Neihardt's book The River and I , about Neihardt's 1908 trip down the Missouri. Coons performed on the flute and also played a hand drum so the audience could participate in a friendhip round dance.
Ron Hull of Nebraska Educational Television was master of ceremonies. The Nebraska Humanitites Council co-sponsored the program.
Foundation Executive Director Nancy S. Gillis praised Peterson for giving "vivid mental pictures with great emotional connection" to the lives of the people she profiled. "I can't tell you how many wonderful, positive comments we had on your excellent presentation," she wrote later. "Your emotional tie to the peoples of the Great Plains was very evident."
Sometimes Nancy Peterson, taking a lighter tone, explores her own history. The just-released Chicken Soup for the Empty Nesters Soul contans her essay "Stepping Out." It describes how she and her husband managed to avoid strangling each other while learning the "ladies underarm turn," and went on to conquer the "Tush Push" and follow the "Tea Cup Chain" to a whole new life without kids at home. Available now in local bookstores. ####
The Western Writers of America's anthology The Way West, contains Nancy M. Peterson's story of Indian writer Zitkala-Sa's involvement in The Sun Dance opera.
It is listed in Google Book Search.