Divorced women on the frontier

The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed “any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years” to file for a homestead. By stating that “any person” was eligible, Congress included women in this landmark legislation. As USD Professor Hannah Haksgaard wrote in the Nebraska Law Review, the remainder of the […]

March is Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month started as Women’s History Week in 1982. But in 1987, Congress designated March as Women’s History Month. The month celebrates the contributions and recognizes the achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields. Proving Her Claim is based on the women pioneers who settled on the frontier. […]

What I learn from book clubs

I love book clubs. Just being around people who like to read is energizing. As a member, book clubs help me explore books that I might not choose to read otherwise. Most readers have genres that they prefer or even unconsciously select. But book clubs encourage exploration, both of authors and of genres. As an […]

The prairie was their medicine cabinet

When we look at a field of prairie flowers or walk through a shaded forest, we see the beauty of nature. But before the advent of the corner drug store, our ancestors saw medicinal plants and other homeopathic remedies. In Proving Her Claim, the heroine and her Lakota neighbors use medicinal plants to treat wounds, reduce coughs and […]

Is reading fiction underrated?

Let’s start with two questions: Is reading fiction underrated? And, what do you read? If you read to learn or to gather information, you’re a non-fiction reader. If you read to understand another culture, to feel emotions or (yes, let’s say it) to time travel, then you’re reading fiction. From my auntie who gave me […]

Metis children connected two worlds

In an earlier blog, I wrote about the fur trappers who explored of the lands west of the Mississippi River. The voyageurs (“travelers” in French) worked for the fur trade companies to transport trade goods throughout the territories to rendezvous posts, connecting two worlds: the Native Peoples and the Europeans. These intrepid entrepreneurs were often the first […]

Here’s to the women

Traditions. This time of year is all about traditions. And who are the keepers of traditions? Women. It’s women who create and kindle the memories. Historically, it was the women who tamed the prairies. They built the church congregations. They were the school teachers, the midwives and the mothers who tended the children. Here’s to […]

Podcast questions: What’s your favorite book?

By Madeleine L’Engle Part of marketing a book includes being a guest on podcasts. I must admit that it’s kinda fun. The podcast questions have also given me a new insight into myself. One of the questions that podcasters like to ask authors is “What’s your favorite book?” While there are a number of authors whom I […]

Fun on the frontier

Today people often think of homesteading as hard work mixed with some fear and boredom. Pioneer life was viewed as lonely and frightening. That’s not what I found when researching Proving Her Claim. Women homesteaders found fun and games where they could — and invented reasons to party. In the book Land in Her Own Name H. Elaine Lindgren […]

What is a ‘spinster’?

“Why are they called ‘spinsters’?” That was a question I heard at a recent book event. The press release for “Proving Her Claim” opens with this line: The Civil War created countless spinsters and widows. Anna Olson was one of them. Like many words in the English language, “spinster” historically refers to women who literally spun […]