How did your reading go this month? Did you find something to read that fits in this month’s theme of the lives of contemporary Native Americans? If so, what did you think about what (if anything) the book showed you?
I read our main title, There, There by Tommy Orange although I admit that I struggled to finish. It is, in short, devastating. Relentless prejudice, addiction and crushing poverty haunt the characters in this book as they struggle to find a balance between the history of their people and the present day. The recounting of the past, told from the point-of-view of Native people tells a very different story from the whitewashed stories of colonists and pioneers that invaded their land. It is both eye-opening and horrifying.
From the publisher:
“Here is a story of several people, each of whom has private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honour his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and unspeakable loss.”
A difficult book that is well worth reading.
If you are interested in learning more about the Native American people and their stories, check out the following links.
Learn about the Land You’re Living On. Find out what Native peoples lived here.
What We Say Matters: the Power of Words in American and Indigenous Histories. This was also explored in There, There.
Native Hope. This blog “exists to address the injustice done to Native Americans. We dismantle barriers through storytelling and impactful programs to bring healing and inspire hope.” Lots of interesting posts of current issues.
Project 562 is “a multi-year national photography project dedicated to photographing over 562 federally recognized Tribes, urban Native communities, Tribes fighting for federal recognition and Indigenous role models in what is currently-known-as the United States.” Stunning photography and stories.