Rebel Shamans

Women Confront Empire

You'll view the video Rebel Shamans: Women Confront Empire. It shows how Indigenous women in many countries drew on their spiritual power and cultural traditions to lead resistance to colonization. And how, by virtue of who they were and where they stood in an oppressive social order, their personal access to direct, transformative power made the spiritual political.

You'll learn about Veleda of the Bructerii (Netherlands), Dahia al-Kahina (Tunisia / Algeria), Jeanne d'Arc (France), Tang Saier (China), Juana Icha (Peru), Kimba Vita (Congo), Maria Candelaria (Chiapas), Queen Nanny of the Maroons (Jamaica), Cécile Fatiman (Haiti), Antonia Luzia (Brazil), Toypurina (Kizh / Tongva) and the Prophetess of Chupu (Chumash Nation), both in southern California; Wanankhucha (Somali Bantu), Lozen (Apache Nation), Teresa de Cabora (Mayo, NW Mexico), Nehanda Nyakasikana (Zimbabwe), Muhumusa (Rwanda / Uganda), Nomtetha Nkwenkwe (!Xhosa, South Africa), Alinesitoué Diatta (Senegal). And more, illustrated with rare images of the women.

This course includes a dozen supplemental readings with more pictures, and links to more articles and other resources about women whose spiritual leadership took on political dimensions in the context of invasion, colonization, slavery, genocide and suppression of ancestral cultures.

“Lozen is…strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people.” --Victorio, chief of the Chiricahua Apache

"Grandy Nanny didn't catch bullets for you alone." --Jamaican saying about Queen Nanny of the Maroons

"Neither bishop nor priest, taxes nor king." --Maria Candelaria, Chiapas

"We have saints in Kongo as well." --Kimpa Vita, dona Beatriz de Congo

"Do you wonder why the tribe fights the forces of such a government? My poor Indians! They are the bravest and most persecuted people on earth! They will fight for their rights until they win or are wiped out. God help them! there are few of them left." --Teresa Urrea, la Santa de Cabora

Your Instructor

Max Dashu
Max Dashu

Max Dashu founded the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970 to research and document global women's history, reflecting the full spectrum of the world's peoples. She uses images to teach, scanning the cultural record: archaeology, history, art, orature, linguistics and spiritual philosophies. From her collection of some 50,000 images, she has created 130 visual talks on female cultural heritages, foregrouding Indigenous traditions, with attention to patterns of conquest and domination. She is internationally known for her expertise on ancient female iconography, matricultures and patriarchal systems, medicine women and shamans, witch hunts, and female spheres of power.

Dashu's legendary visual talks bring to light female realities usually hidden from view, from ancient female figurines to women leaders, priestesses, clan mothers, philosophers, warriors and rebels. Her courses scan the cultural record—archaeology, history, art, orature, linguistics, and spiritual philosophies—making this knowledge more accessible to all education backgrounds.

Dashu has been presenting her visual talks for more than four decades, at universities, conferences, museums, community centers, bookstores, galleries, libraries and schools, in North America, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Britain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Austria, Australia, Mexico and Guatemala.

Max Dashu's book Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700-1000 (Veleda Press, 2016) has been acclaimed as a sourcebook on European ancestral traditions. Her forthcoming Pythias, Melissae, and Pharmakides: Women in Hellenic Culture will be the second book in her 16-volume series Secret History of the Witches.

Dashu has published in various journals and anthologies, including Goddesses in World Mythology (Praeger 2010) and the Encyclopedia of Women in World Religion (ABC-Clio 2018). She created two videos: Women's Power in Global Perspective (2008) and Woman Shaman: The Ancients (2013). Her daily posts on the Suppressed Histories Facebook page are followed by 181,000 people, and 72,000 more have viewed her articles on

Articles, gallery and resources on the Suppressed Histories Archives website

Books by Max Dashu from Veleda Press

History Sibyl audio podcasts:

Veleda blog by Max Dashu:

Daily posts from the Suppressed Histories Archives on Facebook

Art by Max Dashu:

Suppressed Histories Portal on Instagram

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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
It is a completely self-paced online course. View it whenever you like, at your leisure, day or night. Exception: the monthly webcasts are time-date specific live events on zoom; a recording of each one remains available for one month only after those dates.
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For as long as the Suppressed Histories Portal remains on Teachable, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
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