I never saw one before, until today.
I went downtown to Prairie Star Gallery to sell some earrings and there it hung, alone but rather boldy. As if to say, Yes, I am woman.
It was a bit smaller than a man’s shield, made of rawhide stretched over a hoop. It had two horses painted on rawhide and thimbles of horsehair hanging off with some bells and feathers.
It was beautiful.
I googled women’s shield, Native American women’s shield, tried to find any on the internet, there was none.
I don’t even know of women had shields back in the day. I do know one exists now, and hopefully soon to be another.
I am going to make myself a shield, because I feel as if it shows your strength and what you went through in life. I feel it could be healing.
And women were always strong, always brave, I mean we give life, we suffer monthly, and we are caretakers by nature. In our culture we were on our own level. The men did their thing the women did theirs. There was no comparing or trying to be equal to, Lakota women knew their worth and knew they were so much more than. Or as my crabby but strong grandma used to say “I don’t know why women burn their bras trying to prove their worth. Who told them they were worthless to begin with? They should know who they are.”
And in this day and age, many women are on their own, by choice, by death, by divorce, by incarceration, or sometimes our men just leave us. And it sounds stupid, or I used to think it sounded stupid but it is true. You have to be strong to be alone. You do. Or if you can’t be strong you can get stuck in toxic relationships.
And I feel I need a shield. I need this shield for myself not for sale, because I want to hand it down to my daughter someday. A few years back when I was away, I dreamt of a beautiful design but never knew where it was going to go.
Now I know, it’s going on my shield. Because I am a strong Lakota woman.