Mary Crow Dog, and Religion

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Katy Teasdale
Mrs. MacDonald
World Religions; Per 3
9/20/09

A Search for Belonging
The story of Mary Crow Dog can be interpreted two ways, as an autobiography about her struggle to gain racial equality and religious freedom, or as an autobiography where we can learn where Mary finds herself in her place. Mary first introduces herself as an ignorant child, content only because she didn't know how bad things were.

As a child, she wasn't very religious; the only true religious figures in her life were her uncle Bill and her grandparents, who still lived in the Sioux way. She was still very young when the "do-good" white people took her away from her family to the Catholic school. Catholicism was forced upon her often in abusive ways. Abusive priests and nuns distorted the meaning Catholicism, an impression like that is very hard to reverse. Conditions not much better than the reservation and racial prejudice everywhere caused young Mary to realize that Catholicism is not where she belonged. She knew she had to leave the school, and one day, after a particularly bad incident, she simply dropped out.

From here, Mary returned to the reservation, as a troubled teen, not unlike most other adolescents on the reservation. Drinking excessively, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, speeding around the reservation in unsafe vehicles; their lifestyle said, "I don't care if I die; I have no reason to live anyway." Mary feels aimlessness, a roaming sensation that then turns into restlessness. She had to do something - go somewhere - but she didn't know what or where. She didn't share her mother's values, and she certainly was not returning to the Catholic school.

I think it was the internal confliction that caused her to go in the criminal direction that she did for a while. She shoplifted and attempted to justify it by stating it reenacted her people's history. She found her moral slipping, and that she didn't feel guilty. Her eyes were opened the second time she was...
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