Brenda J. Child

Brenda J. Child

Brenda J. Child's 2014 memoir, "My Grandfather's Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation," has won the 2015 Jon Gjerde Prize, sponsored by the Midwest History Association.

Child will receive the award on Oct. 8 at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul.

Her book is the story of her grandparents' life on Red Lake Reservation in the first half of the 20th century. She writes about how they lived a traditional life, collecting wild rice (the "knocking sticks" were for knocking  rice into the canoe) and maple syrup, but also how the government intruded, building dams and taking land.

The prize is named for Jon Gjerde, an Iowa historian who wrote about the MIdwest. Gjerde earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and went on to teach at the University of California in Berkley. He died last year.

Brenda J. Child teaches American Studies at the University of Minnesota and is the author of "Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940" and "Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community."

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