Spotlight on Native American Reads
June 9, 2011 Leave a comment
Since I gushed about Every Day Is a Good Day (just reissued! You can get it here, or here!) on my last book blog, I thought I would be remiss if I didn’t also share some of oldies-but-goodies from our backlist:
This anthology is an exploration of how Christianity has touched, grabbed, and assaulted Native lifeways. This collection encompasses a wide range of stories from best-selling authors and from new voices. My favorite short story in Writing the Cross Culture is Sherman Alexie’s “Jesus Christ’s Half-Brother Is Alive and Well on the Spokane Indian Reservation,” in which he issues these wise words: “books and beer are the best and worse defense.” That is some fine truth-telling.
Pagans in the Promised Land is a post-colonial analysis of US federal Indian law and policy. Author Steve Newcomb makes the case that US reliance on ancient religious distinctions between “Christians” and “heathens” violates the bedrock doctrine of separation of church and state. It’s a fine cocktail of hegemony-busting and constitutional fundamentalism, two things which usually don’t go so well together, but in this case Newcomb marries them well.
Sometimes indigenous folks crack a smile; you know, in between fighting for basic civil liberties and crying over litter. Just a little gallows humor there, dear readers. Visions for the Future is a seriously good collection of Native artists and their work. All too often, Native art is reduced to chicken-feather dreamcatchers made in China and those terrible Lee Bogle paintings (not even going to give the courtesy of a link, they’re that bad), and the truly great art being produced by actual Natives is pushed to the margins. There’s some great protest art in this book from young native artists like Bunky Echo-Hawk and Thomas Ryan Red Corn.
Next week, I’m going to spotlight some great Native bloggers (because I know you can never get enough). Happy reading, everyone!