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Women of the Dawn tells the stories of four remarkable Wabanaki Indian women who lived in northeast America during the four centuries that devastated their traditional world. Their courageous responses to tragedies brought on by European contact make up the heart of the book.
The narrative begins with Molly Mathilde (1665-1717), a mother, a peacemaker, and the daughter of a famous chief. Born in the mid-1600s, when Wabanakis first experienced the full effects of colonial warfare, disease, and displacement, she provided a vital link for her people through her marriage to the French baron of St. Castin. The sage continues with the shrewd and legendary healer Molly Ockett (1740-1816) and the reputed witchwoman Molly Molasses (1775-1867). The final chapter belongs to Molly Dellis Nelson (1903-1977) (known as Spotted Elk), a celebrated performer on European stages who lived to see the dawn of Wabanaki cultural renewal in the modern era.