Young Adults Books

NATIVE HEART: AN AMERICAN INDIAN ODYSSEY by Gabriel Horn (White Deer of Autumn). New World Library, 58 Paul Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903, (800) 227-3900, (800) 632-2122 (CA), (415) 472-6131 FAX. Notes. 293 pp., $13.95 paper. 1-880032-07-4

Horn's autobiography is filled with dreams - images of his (Wampanoag) past that would float by, reminding him of his roots and traditions, and the path he must walk to preserve them. Given up by his parents as a small child, Horn wandered through many foster homes from New York to California as each pair of foster parents tried to Anglicize him.

This book is Horn's search for his Native American identity as he tries to teach others about his ancestors and the Circle of Life. As a teenager, Horn met Uncle Nippawanock, a literature professor at the University of South Florida, who encouraged him to get an education, in addition to forcing him to decide to place both his feet in the Red World.

In a vision, Uncle Nippawanock saw a deer running through a mist singing Gabriel's name. As a result, the uncle's mother, Princess Red Wing, conducted a pipe ceremony on the day after Horn graduated from FSU, giving him the name "White Deer of Autumn." Thus began Horn's life of writing, teaching, and activism. In 1973, he joined the American Indian Movement, began teaching in Indian schools (Shoshone in Wyoming, and AIM's Heart of the Earth school in Minneapolis), and wrote several stories and poems.

At an Indian center in Milwaukee, he met his wife-to-be, Simone, Loon Song. They began to follow the path side-by-side. Their children are named after extinct tribes. Horn's acts of activism and his relationship with AIM brought denunciations and death threats, so he retired back to south Florida, where he teaches at the St. Petersberg Junior College and visits elementary school classrooms with the message: "There is a balance, and we must constantly seek it." Recommended. Reviewed by Steve Brock

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Native American BOOKS, text and graphics copyright Paula Giese, 1996

Last Updated: Monday, March 11, 1996 - 11:37:17 AM