Exciting news! Bellwood Press (an imprint of the US Publishing Trust) has just released a new book in its Change Maker series, a series of biographies for older children and junior youth that highlights people connected with the Baha’i Faith who worked to bring about social change. Their newest book is titled Warrior Grandma: The Story of Patricia Locke and it’s by Dr. Littlebrave Beaston.
Patricia Locke, whose Lakota name, Thawáchin Wašté Win, means “Compassionate Woman”, courageously fought for the equality of Indigenous people in the United States and around the world. Through Dr. Littlebrave Beaston’s writing, readers of Patricia’s life story will learn about the values of generosity, selflessness, and the importance of building strong family relationships.
I was very grateful that Dr. Littlebrave agreed to take the time to tell us about this new book and the incredible woman it features. Here’s what she shared with us:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about your book Warrior Grandma: The Story of Patricia Locke?
Thank you for asking. This book is about Patricia Locke and her gift of making connections that helped different groups of people understand each other. She was a human bridge if you will, helping people to be able to get what the other side was experiencing. Patricia was meant for this kind of work.
She had selected the profession of teaching elementary school, but when she realized that such things as spiritual and character development, which was important to the Lakota culture, was not a part of the curriculum, she became dismayed. Then a move to Alaska opened her eyes to helping Indigenous people through what seemed to be simple things like completing forms and providing social interaction. Teaching people how to thrive in a culture outside their own was most satisfying.
As she began to work closely with people, she realized the problem of inequality lie deep in the way that society was set up. She saw it was full of pitfalls and injustices. Patricia loved her heritage and she became aware that Indigenous people did not have the same rights here in the United States as everyone else did. She thought that was unfair. She began to advocate for the Indigenous people and that suited her well. She found her niche. When she realized that Indigenous people could not even practice their own religion, she set about to change that and in 1978, for the first time in the United States, Indigenous people could practice. There were so many things that she changed. This is just one area of change that she helped in. Additional areas included the right for tribes to control their own curriculum, how colleges taught Indigenous people, or didn’t. She felt that education was the most important means of changing the way people think and therefore public policy. Hence, her lifelong passion of advocacy for the no-name, the powerless came into full fruition.
Patricia’s journey led her to the Baha’i Faith and it is one of the most interesting stories I have ever heard. She was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly and what an asset she would become.
Baha’i Blog: What was something you learned in the process of compiling this book?
Patricia had a very soft side. She loved dogs and took in many strays. She fed them and bought toys for them. She loved her grandchildren. She loved to cook and feed them. And it was they who started her on a path of explaining two different cultures to each other. Yep, in fact, she knew children and young people could make a difference just as they were. It wouldn’t be the first time that a young person encouraged major changes in the way that Patricia did things. She believed in the children and youth. And she dedicated everything she did to a better future for them.
Baha’i Blog: Who is the book’s audience?
The book’s intended audience is the pre-youth group. However, it is a great place for any age to learn more deeply of the realities that affect Indigenous people and the doctrines and policies that shape those realities. Many of these need to be abolished for sure.
Baha’i Blog: What do you hope readers will take away with them after they’ve finished reading?
I want the pre-youth and others who read this book to feel and understand the depth of love Patricia has for them, even though she didn’t know them personally. She is pointing to the precise things that they can do to help make this a more just world, where everyone’s gifts are appreciated and utilized. I hope this book has done justice to that end.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Littlebrave, for taking the time to tell us about this important and special book!
You can purchase a copy of the book here on Amazon: Warrior Grandma: The Story of Patricia Locke