From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up-"Our oral tradition isn't fading away/Just hard to recognize 'cause it has changed/Look for it hard 'cause it's hard to see/When I found it, I realized it was always with me." A 22-year-old member of the Kiowa nation begins his poem, "Oral Tradition," with these lines that could well serve as the thesis for this collection of poems and prose by 57 American Indians between the ages of 11 and 22. Whether they feel oppressed, cheated, or inspired, these young people write from the depths of their souls, recalling past indignities to their people that have shaped who they are today. Annette Bird Saunooke of the Eastern Band Cherokee writes, "My skin is a camouflage and my eyes, though blue, are magnifying glasses of a stereotype-a stereotype marked by a little Indian doll with a Hollywood history." And, though others feel an affinity with their heritage, they discover their "smallness" in the world. Nineteen-year-old Vena A-dae writes, "I am the Cochiti carrot in the huge ethnic salad." Other selections give a glimpse into Native American life today, living on the "rez,"-a life still rife with the pains of the past and with revered traditions. Eleven-year-old Ramona dreams of being a Native American president. These are honest voices in a well-organized anthology that gives an excellent look into an important American culture. It may also serve as a stepping-off point to social studies discussions.Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 10-up. In poems and short stories, young Indian writers, ages 11 to 22, tell about their lives on the reservations, in small towns, and in large cities. In topics that include families, friends, school, work, and hopes, fears and dreams, the teens' stories and poems convey a wide range of emotion and experience with an honesty that is as refreshing as it is sometimes breathtaking. The homesick "Subway Mourning," the lamenting "Pouring Milk Before Cereal," and the hopeful "Window of Dreams" reflect the rich complexity of life these young Indians know, and the collection offers all readers an opportunity to hear their authentic voices speaking out about pain, despair, courage, love, and hope. Acclaimed Acoma writer Simon Ortiz says in the introduction, "Native American people and their tribal communities and cultures go on and on . . . . They are stronger and more present than ever," and this anthology proves just that. Karen HuttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved