"My Name is Shield Woman" was written by Ruth Scalp Lock, with Jim Pritchard, two long time friends who first met while working in the Child Welfare system in Calgary in the late 1970's. Their idea was to capture Ruth's experiences as an Aboriginal woman, who had survived the Residential School experience, and to tell her story of resilience and rediscovery of her power and spirituality.
This power was found and exercised through self-learning, and helping others in the field of Child Welfare, addictions, and violence against woman, all of which she knew personally. She becomes the founder of the Calgary Aboriginal Healing Lodge, Awo Taan.
Ruth then moves into politics, provincial and Band level, serving eighteen years on Council.
This is a sacred book, as it delves deeply into the life of a woman, a family, and a people. Ruth prayed as to the decision to share the story, as it would cause her to revisit her pain. The deciding factor to tell the story was for people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to know the truth of her People's experience, to understand the trauma, and the need to heal, as individuals, families, communities, and Nations.
The Book is written mainly in Ruth's voice. Others who shared the journey share their perceptions, including Theoren Fleury in a compelling tale of Ruth's impact on his life.
Jim Pritchard shares some of his stories in the process of writing the book, seen through the lens of two trips with Ruth to find the Medicine Wheel near her Nation.
Overall the story moves from Ruth's traditional roots as a young child to her experiences with Residential School, addictions, awakening, and healing. It then transcends into Ruth's observations about the state of the Aboriginal Nations, and the need for healing and forgiveness, and tradition- based leadership. Her observations are honest and offered in compassion.