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Books here are adult (reading level) or Young Adult (either written as YA or have been used successfully in h.s. classes). There will be a shelf for children's books eventually. Some poetry and some nonfiction -- when part of an author's literary oeuvre -- are included here.

N - R S - T U - Z A - L, Page 1

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Bobbie Lee-- Indian Rebel Lee Maracle (Metis), paperback, $10.95

  • Very short bio, by Internet Public library project, and a very strange one. Bad, Rad Bobbie Lee's works do not "reflect her antipathy toward racism and genocide" they are tools to try to change this world. Bad, rad Bobbie Lee's early revolutionary authbiography is still her most engaging work, especially for today's sometimes listless and gang-ridden teens.

Ravensong, Lee Maracle (Metis), paperback, $14.95

Sundogs Lee Maracle (Metis), paperback, $12.95

Sojourner Truth and Other Stories Lee Maracle, paperback, $10.95

  • There's a long review by me of this that I entered directly into the place for it. Literarily, this is Lee's best book, mature writing, strong characters.

Purchase any book by Lee Maracle that is still in print.

Mother of the Grass, (English translation), Jovette Marchessault (Montagnais, Canada), Paperback, 1989, $11.95

Like a Child of the Earth, Trilogy, english translation Jovette Marchessault (Montagnais, Canada), out of print, hard-to-find search fee. Won the Prix France-Quebec in 1976.

Purchase any book by Jovette Marchessault that is still in print.

Harpoon of the Hunter, Markoosie (Inuit), paperback, $10.95

    Brief bio InterNet Public Library. contrary to their note, Markoosie was the first Canadian Native of any ethnicity to publish an original novel, rather than an autobiography or history or retold traditional stories. He first wrote it in Inuktitut, then translated it into English. It's a YA adventure story (tragedy) looked at one way. But what do all those rabid white bears, always on the attack, really stand for?

Harpoon of the hunter hardcover, $29.95

Winter of the Holy Iron, Joseph Marshall III (Lakota, Rosebud Reservation), hardcover, $13.97

On Behalf of the Wolf and the First Peoples, Literary Essays, Joseph Marshall III, (Lakota, Rosebud Reservation) ; Paperback, $11.16

Purchase any book by Joseph Marshall that is still in print.

The Surrounded (A Zia Book); D'Arcy McNickle; (Cree-Salish-Kootenai, 1904-77) Paperback: $10.36

    McNickle's first work of fiction, first published in 1938. Depicts the bleak and inescapable life of a Montana reservation, where the old laws and lifeways have been destroyed but no new replaces it. Arshilde, a successful mixed-blood musician, home from boarding school, is caught up in this and destroyed by it.

Wind from an Enemy Sky; D'Arcy McNickle); Cree-Salish-Kutenai, 1904-77) Paperback: $10.36

    40 years after writing "The Surrounded," McNickle in effect rewrote it, with skill and a feeling of hopelessness that came from a half a lifetime working for the BIA (McNickle quit in the termination era). The social structures that hold the tribe together have not been so completedly destroyed as in his first book. Chief Henry Jim, on the white man's road, gives away the medicine bundle to break the power of the old men and to encourage his people to modernize, but they are unwilling, and give the title of chief to Jim's brother, splitting the tribe Jim wants to end the split and return the medicine bundle. But well-meaning Adam Pell, dam architect, put the bag in a museum he built nearby, where it was destroyed through neglect. Adam's attempts at fostering progress have caused further oppression and destruction. His idea of a strengthened white-Indian society is not viable.

Runner in the Sun : A Story of Indian Maize; D'Arcy McNickle; Paperback: $10.36

    Juvenile novel first published in 1954 right after he quit the BIA. Here McNickle can and does forget the dreary horrors of white-Indian maneuvers and politics. He writes a pre-contact story of undisturbed tribal people., where material and cultural change comes naturally -- though not with no opposition. The story isn't static -- there are still forces of change (the new corn, agriculture) and controversy (the status quo -- no corn -- is supported by the elders and wisdom of the ancients, which in turn props up some of the power structure). But when change is built on the existing values and culture of a society, that change is true progress, unlike the destruction (as in Enemy Sky) when progress is laid on from outside a culture.

The Hawk Is Hungry & Other Stories (Sun Tracks, Vol 22) Vol 22; D'Arcy McNickle, Birgit Hans (Editor); Paperback: $12.76

    Stories found among McNickle's papers, published after his death.

Native American Tribalism : Indian Survivals and Renewals; D'Arcy McNickle, Peter Iverson; Paperback: $9.56

Purchase any book by D'Arcy McNickle that is still in print.

House Made of Dawn, N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), paperback, $10

House Made of Dawn Momaday (Kiowa), hardcover, $20.97

Circle of Wonder, N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), hardcover, $12.57

    A children's Christmas story, where a pueblo Indian mute boy whose late grandfatehr brought him close to the old animal. spirits visits him at their special circle -- and so do the animals. No, he doesn't gain the power of human speech. Handsome paintings by Momaday.

The Ancient Child (novel), N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), paperback, $10.40

    Momaday's first novel since his 1968 Pulitzer-Prize winner, House Made of Dawn. Locke Setman is a San Francisco artist who's won top honors and prices, denying his less commercial artistic vision. Dissonant elements creep into his paintings, a growing assertion of his Kiowa self. No real problems, though, he takes up with a beautiful, 19-year old Indian medicine woman and lives with her on some mythicla endless grasslands. This is a really crappy book by a dude who evidently got successful too fast and couldn't handle it. He lays out his midlife crisis mystical-romantical fantasies all too nakedly.

The Way to Rainy Mountain, N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), paperback, $7.16

The Way to Rainy Mountain, Hardcover, $17.47

Purchase any book by N. Scott Momaday.

AUTHOR NAMES: N - R; Return to initials menu

The Fus Fixico Letters, Alexander Posey (Creek, 1873 - 1908), hardcover $40

  • Brief bio of Posey by Internet Public Library project. No bibliography, not even a reference to this major publication of the 72 funny "letters" in dialect. The "Heartless Bird" and Hotgun, comment in humor (with teeth in it) tribal politics, corruption, loss of Indian land, and OK statehood. University of NB press used to have some of the letters on-line, but it's lost its Fus Fixico file.

Purchase any book by Alexander Posey that is still in print.

The Death of Bernadette Lefthand, Ron Querry (Sixtown Clan Choctaw), paperback, $7.96

The Death of Bernadette Lefthand hardcover, $16.97

    Red Crane Books sold out its first printing of The Death Of Bernadette Leffhand -- a murder mystery where we know (but nobody else except perhaps the spirits ever finds out, who the killer is) sold out n three days and first edition hardcovers have become collector's items. A tale of passion, obsession, Navajo witchcraft and destruction, a striking view of the complexity of contemporary reservation life, mostly told by a young Apache girl. 1993 Border Regional Library Association Southwest Book Award. Winner Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association and 1994 Regional Book Award Winner. Ignore the publisher's mysterious dustjacket, which shows Bernadette enhaloed as a saint. No relevance to the story, but probably sold lots of books.

    Purchase any book by Ron Querry that is still in print.

Cogewea: the Half-Blood, A Depiction of the Great Montana Cattle Range, Mourning Dove (Humishuma, Christine Quintasket; Okanagon, 1888-1936); paperback $7.96

    First published in 1927, this may be the first novel by an American Indian woman. Mourning Dove had only 3 years of education, following her family around migratory labor camps. Anthro McWhorter helped her get in shape the book to chronicle the traditions of her people, she knew were passing -- but his heavy hand is often seen in his isnerts and revisions of the draft she had prepared 14 years before meeting him. He inserted all sorts of ethnographic notes, speeches, explanations and didactic and platitude-filled moralizing, passages and made himself into "Sho-pow-tan" putting it forward as a typical as-told-to.

Coyote Stories, Mourning Dove (Humishima; Christine Quintasket, Okanagon), paperback, $7.16

  • 27 traditional Okanagon tales, collected and translated into English by Mourning Dove, and tediously annotated by Luculls McWhorter an amateur ethnographer-anthroplogist. Nonetheless, the tales themselves are less interfered with than the novel. When first published, in 1933, the book made a small sensation, indicating as almsot nothing till then had done, that there was a long rich tradition of (oral) literature that was the cultural patrimony of most tribes.

Purchase any book by Mourning Dove that is still in print.

The Raven Steals the Light, written and illustrated by Bill Reid (Haida, Haida Gwai); Intro by Claude Levi-Strauss, Paperback, $8

  • Well-known metalsmith and sculptor, Reid tells how he gradually re-learned his native language, and hence got to hear some remarkable, subtle, sophisticated tales as they can no longer be told, from the elder who taught him carving.. These are adult versions of tales and myths, now often retold as little children's stories, told with power and illustrated with Reid's intricate black and white drawings.

Purchase any book by Bill Reid that is still in print.

Write it on Your Heart: The Epic world of an Okanagan Storyteller,Harry Robinson (Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada), Wendy Wickwire; Paperback, $18.95

    Represents a transition for Canadian Natives between traditional stories (myths and legends) and and contemporary written stories, 1990first published 1989.

Nature Power: In the Spirit of an Okanagan Storyteller. Harry Robinson (Okanagan, British Columbia), Wendy Wickwire; Paperback, $14.36

Purchase any book by Harry Robinson that is still in print.

AUTHOR NAMES: S - T; Return to initials menu

Honour the Sun, Ruby Slipperjack (Ojibwe, Whitewater Lake Reserve, Canada), $12.95

  • Novel is in the form of a diary of a 10-year-old girl, nicknamed "The Owl". An isolated northern Ontario Ojibwe community faces the coming of a railroad line. Owl sees the traditional values of family and community fragmented, undermined by the intrusion of white people with different values. Even her mother, long a source of strength and wisdom, succumbs to the influence of alcohol. This book -- first published in 1986 -- is used as a testbook in Grade 11 English in all Newfoundland schools. It is highly recommended for grades 7+, all schools.

  • Very brief bio, biblipgraphy Curiously, the InterNet Reference Library project does not include this one, Ruby's best known.

Silent Words, Ruby Slipperjack (Ojibwe, Whitewater Lake Reserve, Canada),

Purchase any book by Ruby Slipperjack that is still in print.

Ceremony (Contemporary American Fiction Series) Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna), paperback, $8.76

    Talented Laguna writer Silko created a classic with this story of Tayo, the returned vet who was sickened by the Pacific war, and is spiritually dying in the reservation poverty. Uranium mining seems to offer economic hope, but is recognized as spiritually evil, by Tayo and his guardian-guides. The Ceremony is to strengthen the good in its age-old fight against evil; the old man explains that this is a broader conflict than the more recent Indian-white one. Tayo's spiritual guardian-guides are both real people and spirits manifested, as was prefigured in Silko's long novelette/story, "Yellow Woman." Powerful and highly recommended.

Alamac of the Dead, Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna), paperback, $11.96

    In this recent work, Good and Evil are still fighting their ancient battle. Set slightly in our future, evil appears to be winning. Can traditional spirituality help the diverse characters to redeem themselves and our world? Highly recommended.

Storyteller, Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna), paperback, $13.56

    Silko weaves stories, poetry, personal reminiscences, family histories into a new art form, more like seamless traditional retellings from life.

Gardens in the Dunes, Leslie Marmon Silko, (Laguna) hardcover, $23. Shipdate: Sept. 1, 1997

Purchase any book by Leslie Marmon Silko.

Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America, Brian Swan (Ed), Paperback, $13.60. Extensive publisher notes on contents.

Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America, Brian Swan (Ed), Hardcover $21

AUTHOR NAMES: U - Z; Return to initials menu

Bearheart : The Heirship Chronicles Gerald Vizenor; Paperback: $11.96

    A reprint (with some changes) of the now out-of print 1978 classic, Darkness in St. Luis Bearheart. Satire and allegory of classical European epics combined with Indian-style oral narratives. Proude Cedarfair is culture hero/trickster/shaman seeking ritual knowledge in long journeys across a US whose own culture is destroyed by lack of energy resourcesd. He moves backward in time for harmony with nature, journeys to an evil third world filled with contempt for the living and fear of death, but seeks a fourth world where the evil spirits can be outwitted by animal languages.Bizarre followers are a combo of modern cultists and some Indian mythological figures.

Utne Review profile of Vizenor as if Vizenor himself were that ever popular trickster-character. A bio is appended that doesn't have any facts, he rages, dazzles, etc. etc. As it happens Utne Review is something of a Minneapolis success story, and as it happens, Vizenor was born and raised in Minneapolis.

Dead Voices : Natural Agonies in the New World (Novel) (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series, Vol 2) Vol 2Gerald Vizenor ; Hardcover: $13.27

    Dramatizes word wars between tribal peoples and mainstream culture. The WestCult supresses the dead voices of tribal agonies. Bageese, trickster narrator, is both a bear and a tribal woman, through whom we hear animal agonies. Suspended between worlds of discourse, bear images are seen in mirrors, the silent is made to speak, the wordless given words.

Earthdivers : Tribal Narratives on Mixed Descent Gerald Robert Vizenor; Hardcover: $10.46

    Modern Earthdivers are mixedblood descendants of early mythic figures who dove beneath the sea to get earth for the continental-turtle's back. The modern figures also have to create a world that Indian people -- and their other-pside ancestors, whites -- can survive in. They are the new (literary/artistic) creators. Captain Shammer (founder of the Halfbreed Hall of Fame) tries to auction the Department of tribal Studies in "The Chair of Tears" a story that everyone at University of Minnesota should either laugh at a lot or get enraged by. I loved the one about the Indian Center demonstrations "Give Us Back Our Land and Vans" (federal vans confiscated because used by staff for personal trips and bingo parties). Very funny book, this. Lots of local, Minneapolis truths clanking around just underneath, too.

Griever : An American Monkey King in China Gerald Robert Vizenor; Paperback: $10.36

    This novel mixes Chinese myth (in Vizenor's versions) with the hypocrisies observed in American Indian society, but he also turns those sharp eyes on hypocrisies of Chinese society -- at least, as that can be seen from California and a tourist trip, by one who doesn't speak the language and actually doesn't know much about China. If read as a myth the same as his other books, it's funny and tragic, but I know a lot about China and Chinese lit, so I disliked this book, as just more ignorant American propaganda. The comparison with Indian oral tradition of a 4,000 year old society's long-written stories and traditions, and the anti ChiCom propaganda, leave an unpleasant impression.

The Heirs of Columbus (Novel) Gerald Vizenor, Gerald Robert Viezenor; Paperback: $11.96

    Cook-Lynn called this a "mythopoeic space-age chronicle about bingo barges, healer genes, and laser caravels." The protagonist is creating a whole identity: the mixed-blood, the cross-blood. He resists the notion of blood quantums, racial identifications, tribal enrollment.He ends colonialism's legacy by the literary creation of a Tribal Nation dedicated to healing. Vizenor is up to creating new myths for today's people, using historical materials as grist. In the new myth, Columbus was a mixed-blood, too: a Mayan. The complex, funny plot is an intricate web of strands. An antidote to all the chauvinistic pufferies that appeared during the 1992 Quincentennial.

Hotline Healers : An Almost Browne Novel; Gerald Vizenor; Hardcover: $15.37

Interior Landscapes : Autobiographical Myths and Metaphors; Gerald Vizenor; Hardcover: $12.57

    Chronicle of the in-between world of the White Red Man (the mixed blood writer, Vizenor himself). A world of pain, acting out. He deals with this uncomfortable in-between place by transforming duality to ritual, with "trickster signatures". And those are (hold it!) deconstructions. Well, he's been in English Departments a long time. Actually, this book is pretty helpful in understanding some of Vizenor's other, more involuted writings.

Narrative Chance : Postmodern Discourse on Native American Indian Literatures (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies, Vol 8) Vol 8; Gerald Vizenor (Editor); Paperback: $12.76

    I deconstruct this book. Main subtext: here you grad students can steal a lot of trendy EuroLit notions and apply it in your thesis. Yep, PoMo ain't a California Indian tribe here, nope.

Native-American Literature : A Brief Introduction and Anthology (Harpercollins Literary Mosaic); Gerald Vizenor; Paperback; $10.80

The Trickster of Liberty : Tribal Heirs to a Wild Baronage (Emergent Literatures); Gerald Robert Vizenor, Adrienne Kennedy; Paperback: $9.56

    Slyboots Browne (an "almost" Browne character, Lester Browne's son) is "the most clever and envious trickster on the Whtie Earth Reservation" [at least until Chip Wadena got federally convicted not long ago]. He founds Tribe, a game based on lotto, and sells rights to bingo when organized crime, helped by government, takes over. Many twists and turns in the plot, including grant financing to build a cellophane swamp buggy, which leads to an intertribal band of microlight-flying warriors who study birds, the game of Tribe, and sovereignty. Too bad Chip didn't read this, but I doubt he would have understood it anyway.

Shadow Distance : A Gerald Vizenor Reader; Gerald Vizenor; Hardcover : $45.00 (Back Ordered)

Shadow Distance : A Gerald Vizenor Reader; Gerald Vizenor; Paperback: $19.95 (Back Ordered)

Wordarrows : Indians and Whites in the New Fur Trade; Gerald Vizenor; Paperback: $12.95 (Special Order)

  • A combo of essays -- some published as short columns 1970-73 in the Minneapolis Tribune (daily newspaper) and stories in which Vizenor becomes a character in events that didn't really happen (but seem as if they did). He becomes Clement Beaulieu (his white Earth grandfather/uncle), and storyteller/shaman Erdupps McChurbbs. There's a short acocunt -- a longer one elsewhere -- about the South Dakota trial and death penalty political struggle of murder-rapist Thomas James White Hawk.

Purchase any book by Gerald Vizenor that is still in print.

Ghost Singer, Anna Lee Walters (Pawnee-Otoe-Missouria), paperback, $14.36

The Sun is Not Merciful -- Short Stories, Anna Lee Walters (Pawnee-Otoe-Missouria), paperback, $8.95 +$0.85 surcharge

The Sun is not Merciful, Anna Lee Walters, hardcover, $18.95

Purchase any book by Anna Lee Walters that is still in print.

Winter in the Blood (Contemporary American Fiction Series); James Welch (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre, Fort Belnap, MT); Paperback: $9.56

    Welch's first novel (1974) was highly praised. Narrated by an unnamed veteran who has returned to the bleak life of the Earthboy 40 acres, a hard-times rez farm, alternated with binges in nearby Hardin. He may be headed for something better than drinking hismelf to oblivion, as he rediscovers his spiritual existence through an old man.

    Very brief bio note, incomplete biblipgrahy, by InterNet reference Library

The Death of Jim Loney; James Welch (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre, Fort Belnap, MT); Paperback: $8.76

    Welch's second novel focuses on the mixed-blood protagonist's alienation from both white and Indian societies.

Fools Crow (Contemporary American Fiction); James Welch (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre, Fort Belnap, MT); Paperback: $10.36

    Third novel portrays a Blackfeet leader who witnesses the destruction of his way of life.

The Indian Lawyer (Contemporary American Fiction); James Welch (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre, Fort Belnap, MT); Paperback: $10.36

    Welch's fourth novel examples the quest for identity from the viewpoint of a Blackfeet tribal member who has made it in the white worldbut is disturbed by feelings of self-doubt and alienation.

James Welch (The Confluence American Authors Series); Ron McFarland (Editor), James Welch (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre, Fort Belnap, MT)' Paperback: $12.80

Killing Custer : The Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Fate of the Plains Indians; James Welch (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre, Fort Belnap, MT), Paul Jeffrey Stekler; Paperback: $11.16

Riding the Earthboy 40 : Poems; James R. Welch (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre, Fort Belnap, MT)' Hardcover; Published 1975 (Hard to Find)

  • This was Welch's first book; it is a great shame that these wonderful poems -- which state themes developed in different ways in his novels, later -- have been allowed to go out of print. Libraries: buy if you can afford the search fees.

Purchase any book by James Welch that is still in print.

Brothers in Arms (3 novellas), Jordan Wheeler (Cree, Canadian), Paperback, $6.95 + $1.85 special surcharge

Purchase any book by Jordan Wheeler that is still in print.

Black Eagle Child: The Facepaint Narratives, (Singular Lives : The Iowa Series in North American Autobiography), Ray Young Bear (Mesquakie), paperback, $9.60

    Thought part of an autobiography series, this is a novel, where Young Bear, an accompolished poet, often uses poetry to carry forward thoughts and actions. These take place on and off the Black Eagle Child settlement (a small Indian community somewhere in the midwest). Edgar Bearchild does learn some history and spiritual traditions, but goes off to college and realizes himself as a writer. His alternate or double, his friend Ted Facepaint, carries on the traditions (including adaptive new ones such as the Peyote religion). They are two halves of a person who isn't allowed to be whole. Search for Indian identity is a major theme. Richness of language by an accomplished poet, multilevel meanings, powerful imagery.

Remnants of the First Earth, Ray Young Bear (Mesquakie), paperback, $18.40 (continues the lives and stories of the semi-autobiographical characters of Facepaint Narratives

Purchase any book by Ray Young Bear that is still in print.

You can also read On-line Traditional Stories, 19th century and contemporary narratives, and fulltexts of certain e-books here.

Text and graphics copyright © 1997 Paula Giese

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Last updated: 6/13/97