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Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream (Portraits of American Genius) Paperback – May 5, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0520209688 ISBN-10: 0520209680

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Product Details

  • Series: Portraits of American Genius (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (May 5, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520209680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520209688
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In his endeavor to write about McKay, the celebrated Pomo basket weaver and medicine woman, Sarris (English, UCLA) has been able to find his own identity. Part American Indian, Filipino, and Jewish, he was adopted at birth and is now chief of the Coast Miwok tribe. His bonding with this extraordinary individual and his growth during their relationship is described throughout the book. Sarris's catharsis is reflected on the last page: "I squatted in front of her and repeated my questions. 'Why did you do it for me?' She looked me in the eye and said, plain as day, 'Because you kept coming back."' McKay's life, simple yet spiritual, is as quintessential as the baskets she wove. Her stories are poignantly collected and captured in this biography. Recommended for public libraries.
Vicki L. Toy Smith, Univ. of Nevada, Reno
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"Wonderful, and urgently needed in these days of confusion over Native American identity and spirituality. . . . Vibrant testimony to the survival of American Indians and the power of the old spirits."—Leslie Marmon Silko

"All the lean wit of a Castaneda tale, the lyric spark of the Black Elk translations, Weaving the Dream is a modern-day Indian classic."—Kenneth Lincoln, author of The Good Red Road

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Better still, read it aloud.
K & N
Greg Sarris does a beautiful job of telling a difficult story in a way that we, the public, could understand - a linear story of a woman who was not linear.
Nancy A.
I am very interested in Native Americans, especially Californians because I was born here.
Samantha S.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K & N on January 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mabel McKay, Weaving the Dream is a profound, poetic, and magical journey. I have read it aloud a number of times to savor its depths. If you have any desire to know Native Californians as human beings rather than museum pieces, you may want to start here. The book, which is steeped in the oral tradition inspired me to write the following poem which was published some years back through U.C. Davis.

Mabel McKay (Weaving Poem) (by Norm Milstein, 7/97)

Plumage of a Pomo basket
Flame of feathers blue and black
Strung with glistening abalone
Rimmed with ivory disks of shell.

Read her book slowly or not at all.
She believed that stories should be heard many times
To sink in and merge with the heart of the hearer
To sink like pebbles in the soul of the listener
To grow like seeds in the earth of our minds.

Read her book slowly or not at all.
Better still, read it aloud.
Taste each word and savor the flavor
Of willow and redbud and sedge.

"I never knew nothing but the spirit," she said.
"Only the spirit trained me.
I only follow my Dream. That's how I learn."

Plumage of a Pomo basket
Flame of feathers blue and black
Strung with glistening abalone
Rimmed with ivory disks of shell.

Read her book slowly or not at all.
She believed that stories should be heard many times
To sink in and merge with the heart of the hearer
To sink like pebbles in the soul of the listener
To grow like seeds in the earth of our minds.

Read her book slowly or not at all.
Better still, read it aloud.
Taste each word and savor the flavor
Of willow and redbud and sedge.

"I never knew nothing but the spirit," she said.
"Only the spirit trained me.
I only follow my Dream. That's how I learn."
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this book for an anthropology class that i am taking, and i found it to be very good. We get a first hand account of what role Mable McKay played for the Pomo Indians as a medicine women and as a basket weaver. Everything that she did was for a purpose, even though at times she had to deal with not everyone accepting her. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in Native American ways of life
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tobey Crockett on August 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is just a wonderful piece of writing, one which keeps resonating with me, even several years after first reading it. This book should have more readers, and seeing so few reviews for it, I want to argue for it as a must read on anybody's list. We all know books or speakers, writers and lecturers who could take any subject and make it worthwhile, just to spend time in their company. Greg Sarris is one of those magical presences we can be lucky enough to get to know through the medium of the page. Saying this is not intended to undercut the amazing person of Mabel Mckay, by the way. The way the past present and future weave in and out of this book, her stories, Greg's life, the future of land use in California... all of this is here, an enticing mix of POV's, passed around like a sacred pipe.

A great read....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Poetree Girl on May 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I really liked this book. At first it was difficult to follow, but then I kept wanting to read more. I chose this book because I live in Lake County and wanted to learn about the Pomo peoples and their history. I not only feel that I learned a lot, but also got an inside glimpse direclty from a true Medicine woman. The story is at times jumbled but always interesting because it isn't just a biography of facts. It is about her connection with spirit and the Dream world and how this was her life. And it's about a time and culture very different from how most people grew up. So it's a real learning-curve to read about these traditions that we just know so little about. I recommend this to anyone who's interested in learning about the rich history and traditions and peoples who lived (and still live) here today.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book outlines the life of a northern california modern native american mystic practitioner and craftsperson..a view that does not involve casinos...this gives a picture of a real authentic human being..not some new age version of a native practitioner...an easy and quick read..
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed every page.
As a writer myself, I appreciated how his writing style matched Mabel's living and story-telling styles.
I was particularly impressed by the ending which reached my heart with its twists, depth and graceful weaving in and tying off of loose ends.
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