A beloved American writer whose books are championed by critics and readers alike, Sherman Alexie has been hailed by Time as "one of the better new novelists, Indian or otherwise". Now his acclaimed new collection, The Toughest Indian in the World, which received universal praise in hardcover, is available in paperback.
In these stories, we meet the kind of American Indians we rarely see in literature -- the kind who pay their bills, hold down jobs, fall in and out of love. A Spokane Indian journalist transplanted from the reservation to the city picks up a hitchhiker, a Lummi boxer looking to take on the toughest Indian in the world. A Spokane son waits for his diabetic father to come home from the hospital, tossing out the Hershey Kisses the father has hidden all over the house. An estranged interracial couple, separated in the midst of a traffic accident, rediscover their love for each other. A white drifter holds up an International House of Pancakes, demanding a dollar per customer and someone to love, and emerges with $42 and an overweight Indian he dubs Salmon Boy. Sherman Alexie's voice is one of remarkable passion, and these stories are love stories -- between parents and children, white people and Indians, movie stars and ordinary people. Witty, tender, and fierce, The Toughest Indian in the World is a virtuoso performance by one of the country's finest writers.
Centered on the volatile issue of the repatriation of Native American skeletal remains, Chancers follows a group of student Solar Dancers who set out to resurrect native remains housed in the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Possessed by the demonic wiindigoo, a mythic monster, the Solar Dancers, in a gruesome ritual, sacrifice faculty and administrators associated with the collection and storage of native remains. The Dancers replace stored native skulls with those of the academics, and the resurrected natives become the Chancers.
The Round Dancers, humane and erotic trickster figures, are natural opponents of the morbid Solar Dancers. The war between the two groups comes to a comic conclusion at a graduation ceremony attended by Pocahontas; Phoebe Hearst; Alfred Kroeber, the anthropologist; Ishi, the native who actually lived and worked in the university museum; and many Chancers.
The Din , or Navajo, creation story says there were four worlds before this, the Glittering World. For the present-day Din this is a world of glittering technology and influences from outside the sacred land entrusted to them by the Holy People. From the Glittering World conveys in vivid language how a contemporary Din writer experiences this world as a mingling of the profoundly traditional with the sometimes jarringly, sometimes alluringly new.
Throughout the book, Morris's command of a crisp unpretentious prose is most impressive...His style is so low-key that he hardly seems to be trying to be 'artistic, ' yet the cumulative effect of these pieces is quite powerful. For Morris's beautiful descriptions of the remote Navajo reservation this book deserves to be on the shelf of anyone tracking the literature of the Southwest.-Western American Literature
Beginning with the Navajo creation story and ending with the summation of everything in between, Morris shows an incredible agility in jumping from truth to myth, from now to then, and from what is to what might have been.-The Sunday Oklahoman
In From the Glittering World, Irvin Morris has woven a wondrous and sometimes terrifying weave of stories centered in the Navajo experience. . . . Irvin Morris' strong style, his vivid imagery, his deft handling of complex structures, and his deep knowledge of Navajo tradition combine to produce a work as powerful and enduring as Leslie Marmon Silko's Storyteller and N. Scott Momaday's The Names. With From the Glittering World, Irvin Morris has joined the ranks of great contemporary authors.-Telluride Times-Journal
Who am I? What am I? Where do I belong? These "grave concerns" take a lifetime for most people to answer. They become even trickier for American Indians, who all too often face literal and figurative burial by those in power. Such concerns permeate the works of Louis Owens, a mixedblood writer of Choctaw-Cherokee-Irish descent.
In this first book-length examination of Owens's writings, Chris LaLonde focuses on five critically acclaimed novels: The Sharpest Sight, Bone Game, Wolfsong, Nightland, and Dark River. According to LaLonde, Owens works his stories like a trickster, turning ideas back against themselves and playing with contradictory possibilities. The conflicting Native and Western perspectives of time, history, humor, and authority dramatize hoe such classes can threaten to undermine any sense of home and identity for Indians. In the process, Owens underscores the sham of the ethnic identities foisted upon American Indians-the Noble Savage, the Silent Indian, the Vanishing Native, and the Indian as Tragic Victim.
In this innovative collection, Louis Owens blends autobiography, short fiction, and literary criticism to reflect on his experiences as a mixedblood Indian in America.
In sophisticated prose, Owens reveals the many timbres of his voice--humor, humility, love, joy, struggle, confusion, and clarity. We join him in the fields, farms, and ranches of California. We follow his search for a lost brother and contemplate along with him old family photographs from Indian Territory and early Oklahoma. In a final section, Owens reflects on the work and theories of other writers, including Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Gerald Vizenor, Michael Dorris, and Louise Erdrich.
Volume 40 in the American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series
In The Mask Maker, Diane Glancy tells the story of Edith Lewis, a recently divorced mixed-blood American Indian, as she travels the state of Oklahoma teaching students the art and custom of mask-making. A complex, subtle tale about f1esh-and-blood human beings, this enchanting novel shows how one woman copes with alienation, loss, and questions about identity and, in the end, rediscovers meaning in living.
Through Edith's daily life and efforts to teach, Glancy explores the power of the mask and mask-making. When Edith tries reaching out to a listless, alienated student, she knows enough to ask, Where would you want to go? He replies, Nowhere, to which she responds with the advice, Then make a mask to take you nowhere.
For Edith, masks go beyond the limitations of words and surface gloss. A mask is a face when you have none, she reflects. Yet some stories need to be confronted, so Edith struggles with the question of how to use masks to tell stories without using words.
Glancy's Edith is no idealized sage but a very human character struggling as best she can while enduring clueless officials and teachers. When Edith explains to one teacher how the art of mask-making reaches students on a creative, intuitive level, she is chided as impractical: We're supposed to reach them through math and English.
In The Mask Maker, Glancy provides the reader with intriguing new ways of looking at identity, at language, at intangible values, and at love. This captivating novel on the human need for self-expression will delight readers of all ages.
In this challenging and often humorous book, Louis Owens examines issues of Indian identity and relationship to the environment as depicted in literature and film and as embodied in his own mixedblood roots in family and land. Powerful social and historical forces, he maintains, conspire to colonize literature and film by and about Native Americans into a safe Indian Territory that will contain and neutralize Indians. Countering this colonial Territory is what Owens defines as Frontier, a dynamic, uncontainable, multi-directional space within which cultures meet and even merge.
Owens offers new insights into the works of Indian writers ranging from John Rollin Ridge, Mourning Dove, and D'Arcy McNickle to N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Silko, James Welch, and Gerald Vizenor. In his analysis of Indians in film he scrutinizes distortions of Indians as victims or vanishing Americans in a series of John Wayne movies and in the politically correct but false gestures of the more recent Dances With Wolves. As Owens moves through his personal landscape in Oklahoma, Mississippi, California, and New Mexico, he questions how human beings collectively can alter their disastrous relationship with the natural world before they destroy it. He challenges all of us to articulate, through literature and other means, messages of personal and environmental -- as well as cultural--survival, and to explore and share these messages by writing and reading across cultural boundaries.
At the Indian artisans show in Santa Clara Pueblo, Cecelia Bluespruce sits with her wares in the middle of a row of booths--a good place to catch buyers. She is a successful Native American artist, a sculptor and potter of renown. But Cecelia is in the middle of something deeper than an art show, for she has become trapped by dreams and shadows of her past.
Night Sky, Morning Star is a story of remembrance and reconciliation in one Native American family separated by time and chance. Cecelia's grown son, Jude, now wants to learn about the father he has never known. Political activist Julian Morning Star, imprisoned twenty years for a crime he did not commit, is unaware that his son even exists. Troubled by dreams, lies, and denial of the past, Cecelia is guided toward wholeness by family and friends who have their own pasts to confront.
This compelling novel plunges readers into the hubbub of the Indian arts market and into the grim reality of prison life. Evelina Zuni Lucero introduces us to experiences we may find unfamiliar: diverse Native American traditions, life on a BIA Indian agency compound, the making of an Indian activist. But she also reintroduces us to two things we all live for: the power of story and the power of love.
Night Sky, Morning Star is the fiction winner of the 1999 First Book Awards competition of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas.
In the hot, dry New Mexico wilderness, Will and Billy, two half-Cherokee ranchers, discover a corpse and a suitcase containing nearly a million dollars. As the two friends contemplate what to do with the money, they set into motion a series of events that will cost them more than they want to pay.
Volume 41 in the American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series
In these short stories, Jack D. Forbes captures the remarkable breadth and variety of American Indian life. Drawing on his skills as scholar and native activist, and, above all, as artist, Forbes enlarges our sense of how American Indians experience themselves and the world around them.
Though all the main characters are of Indian descent, each is a unique combination of tribal origin, social status, age, and life-style-from native elder and college professor to lesbian barmaid and Chicano adolescent. Nevertheless the U.S. government (and perhaps white society as a whole) narrows the definition of Indian.