native americans

Sep 23, 2020

“When did you realize poetry could be your companion? Your release?” 


In this episode of the Johnson County Library podcast Did You Hear, Dr. Randall Horton and Anishinaabekwe poet Louise K. Waakaa’igan discuss poetry both as a lifeline and as a discipline.  It’s a discussion between two people who share a gift for and love of poetry; but it’s also a discussion between two people who share a common language that only those who have been “inside” can fully understand.  


An unrelenting advocate for personal voice and perfect line breaks, Dr. Horton is equally passionate about eradicating

Dec 28, 2016

To the Bright Edge of the World deserves all the praise it has been receiving. In 1885, newly-married Colonel Allen Forrester leads a small group of men on an expedition into untamed Alaska Territory to explore the possibilities for future settlements and trade routes. He leaves his pregnant wife, Sophie, behind and they exchange letters, writing about the hardships they each face while away from the other.


It is written mainly as a series of journal entries, but photographs, drawings, newspaper articles, and official army reports are interspersed, making it seem more like memoir than a

Sep 24, 2016

What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned is the most original, electric, and soul-altering book of poems I’ve read in more than a year. It reads like a nonlinear memoir that skips around Alexie’s life, with common threads charging the poems like drumbeats.  The largest theme - growing up on an Indian reservation surrounded by a cast of remarkable characters with haunting stories – shows up in nearly every poem.  Other themes of grief, recklessness, addiction, poverty and freedom reappear again and again. Alexie occasionally skips to the present, connecting his former and current selves, like the New

Jul 26, 2016

Back in the 50’s many of the rivers that salmon swam up were dammed to create cheap energy for the surrounding communities. The Indian villages were against changing the countryside and they also used salmon fishing as a way of making a living. The Dalles Dam is now 50 years old with a commemoration during the month that Cal Claxton moves to Oregon.


Cal Claxton, a retired Lawyer from the Prosecutors office in Los Angeles, has retired to Oregon. Cal blames himself and his fast track lifestyle for the suicide of his wife and he’s now trying to recover from the loss. His small pension, plus

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

0
Rated by Chris F.
Dec 18, 2012

A rape has been committed.  But in this 2012 National Book Award winner, The Round House, author Louise Erdrich does not focus on the rapist, but on the victim, her family and on the narrator, her 13 year-old son Joe. In 1988 it’s a quiet Sunday on a North Dakota reservation, Joe and his father Bazil are bonding, pulling weeds and napping when they notice the time.  “Where is your mother?”  Bazil asks with an ominous tone that forecasts the family’s downward spin from the effects of the rape of Geraldine Coutts. Life for Joe is never the same.  It seems his mother doesn’t even try to recover

Aug 10, 2011

Set in the 1640’s on Martha’s Vineyard – called only “The Island” at that time – this is a work of fiction based on the real life story of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, a member of the Wopanaak tribe and the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University, a college originally intended to educate “the savages.”  The story is told by Bethia, daughter of missionaries who purchased land on the island from Caleb’s tribe.  Bethia recounts her friendship with Caleb beginning in the wilds near her home where they taught each other about their respective cultures and became as close as brother and

Nov 4, 2010

What was life like for the woman in the old photographs with the elaborate tattoo on her chin? Who was she?  How did she get it?  Ms Mifflin answers these questions and sheds some light on the culture of the times in the 1850s, thoroughly researching the family history and the survivors’ lives.  Olive Oatman was 13-years old, traveling west with her family toward a Mormon Zion when the wagon train was attacked, her family massacred, and she and her sister were taken into captivity with the Yavapi Indians.  A year later, she was traded to the Mohaves, where she became thoroughly assimilated and

Aug 4, 2010

beantrees.jpgBarbara Kingsolver wrote The Bean Trees during pregnant insomniac nights, inside a closet so she wouldn’t wake her sleeping husband. I know. When I was pregnant during sleepless nights I turned the AC on full blast and ate ice cream out of the container in bed while my husband tried to avoid hypothermia under three blankets and his parka. As a wannabe writer who complains about the time I lack to write while working full time and taking care of my four year old, I vacillate between admiration and envy over Ms. Kingsolver’s feat.

The protagonist, Taylor Greer, is also one of those people

Mar 31, 2010

Warrior Woman by Dark Rain ThomOn the Ohio Frontier during the American Revolution, Nonhelema – known to history as “The Grenadier Squaw” - and her brothers, Cornstalk and Silverheels– also Shawnee Chiefs – counsel peace and cooperation in dealing with the American troops sent to protect the Virginians pouring into Shawnee hunting grounds. These chiefs know, as most of their people do not, that they cannot defeat or drive back the avalanche of white settlers - - but they do hope to preserve and protect their people.
This novel is written from a truly rare perspective – that of a Native American woman. Through her story we

Aug 14, 2009

When Junior announces that he wants to attend the white school off the reservation he is not only ostracized, but tormented by his own people. As he dips one foot into the strange world of white people and keeps the other firmly planted on the reservation he feels torn between the better life he glimpses at his new school and the life he has always known.


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian is simultaneously hopeful and hopeless. Junior is one boy out of an entire reservation who is able to break the pattern that has so firmly gripped his family and friends. At the same time