New Book by Margery Wolf Blends Fiction, Fact to Shed Light on Native Californian Society

Time travel leads a 21st century anthropologist on the adventure of a lifetime, allowing her to listen to and observe a society destroyed by priests, soldiers and settlers. Dog Ear Publishing has released this latest novel by professor and anthropologist Margery Wolf.

Santa Rosa, CA, October 22, 2018 --( Research skills and an author and scholar’s active imagination pair beautifully in this blend of fiction and fact-based on a small group of Native Californians living just north of San Francisco Bay. The new book, released by Dog Ear Publishing, focuses on the Coast Miwok, who lived near the bay for centuries before European settlers wrought irreparable harm. It earned a Dog Ear Publishing Award of Literary Excellence.

In “Coyote’s Land - A Novel Ethnography,” author Margery Wolf brings the Coast Miwok to life with the help of a time-traveling anthropologist from the 21st century who is passionate and resolute about her work. Charlotte Makee meets an elderly Coast Miowok curer named Sekiak in the hills of Marin County, California. The anthropologist wants to learn more about life there before European settlers, priests and soldiers destroyed their society.

She’s given her wish when Sekiak administers a potion that makes Charlotte invisible to all but a few people. The medicine also gives Charlotte the power to understand Miwok speech, and she travels back and forth through time, fulfilling her wish to document their daily lives and what happened. But eventually, a dark cloud begins to taint the once-joyful experience.

“Coyote’s Land” skillfully blends fiction and fact, weaving a story about the daily lives of the Coast Miwok followed by a section that narrates the history and ethnography of that people. In the process, Wolf exchanges dry facts for an elegant description of their society in its unsullied glory. As she writes, “You have in your hands two stories, one a bit more readable than the other, but both evidence of my struggle to be as considerate of the data I had in hand as possible.”

This is the fourth novel written by Margery Wolf, professor of anthropology and women’s studies and chair of women’s studies at the University of Iowa from 1985 to 2001. The others are “The Orchards,” “What the Water Buffalo Wrought” and “Trouble at the U.” In college, Wolf focused on fiction writing, but after her marriage to Arthur Wolf, she worked as a research assistant for social scientists involved with the Six Cultures Project. She and her husband did extensive ethnographic field research in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China.

Wolf’s career as a feminist cultural anthropologist was launched after her time in Taiwan. Her other books include, “The House of Lim: A Study of a Chinese Farm Family,” “Women and the Family in Rural Taiwan,” “Revolution Postponed: Women in Contemporary China,” and “A Thrice-Told Tale: Feminism, Postmodernism, and Ethnographic Responsibility.” She married anthropologist Mac Marshall and lived in Santa Rosa until her death in 2017.

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"Coyote’s Land: A Novel Ethnography"
Margery Wolf
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-6430-7 320 pages $15.95 US

Available at Ingram,, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.

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