You will be hard pressed to read a broader documentation of the genocide of native Americans and other indigenous peoples across the Americas than in Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. Every ugly aspect of Colonialism, Manifest Destiny, Slavery, and the Doctrine of Discovery is explored in depth.
Ortiz makes a strong case that America’s Manifest Destiny, disguised as moral wars in the 20th Century (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan) remains as a dangerous undercurrent in American foreign policy and in the 21st Century treatment of native American. Every member of Congress should read this work before even considering to vote on such issues as reparations. This is not a rehash of the same old story. The book has plenty of attitude and that is a very good thing.
Tommy Orange’s debut novel There There starkly reminds the reader of the certain truth, there is no going back. For American Indians “There” is no longer. Some try to make the best of circumstances, many do not.
Orange’s thirteen Native American characters who have been born into or transported themselves to city life creates a poignant and melancholy reality. Visions of their heritage, a There There, are intertwined with harsh reality. This creative story teller brings a voice from over the centuries delivering a stark message for contemporary America.
Orvil Red Feather stands in front of Opal’s bedroom mirror with his regalia on all wrong—he moved in front of the mirror and his feathers shake—-he worries suddenly that Opal might come into her room—Opal had been against any of them doing anything Indian—she treated it like it was all something they could decide for themselves when they were old enough—Indianing.
David Truer is a Ojibwe Native American from the Leech Reservation in northern Minnesota. Truer has a PhD in anthropology and is a prolific author and professor at the University of Southern California. His latest book, THE HEARTBEAT OF WOUNDED KNEE, NATIVE AMERICA FROM 1890 TO THE PRESENT is a combination of memoir and a work of historical non-fiction.
The books prologue is a sweeping history of the Native American story from the arrival of the first North American explorers, the colonists, westward expansion and the decimation of the Native American way of life through to the 1890 massacre of over 150 Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek.
Truer’s focus turns to the ensuing Indian reservations, forced “civilization,” Indian boarding schools, the allotment system of Indian land, broken treaties and false promises. Truer, through his personal experience, details what Native Americans have been overcoming since Wounded Knee. Even from all of the heartbreak come rays of hope as evidenced in Truer’s own uncommon story of survival and success.
Within the pages of Gordon’s Good Reads, followers will find many volumes written of the Native American story and THE HEARTBEAT OF WOUNDED KNEE earns an important place among those narratives. Another non-fiction work by David Truer is, Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life. His latest work is titled Prudence, a novel of WWII.
Throughout the pages within Wounded Knee the word heartbreak can be easily substituted for heartbeat. Words not easily separated in the telling and re-telling of the Native American story.
David Grann’s extraordinarily researched work of non-fiction, Killers of the Flower Moon, The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, details yet another contemptible and murderous abuse of Native Americas. The killing of many dozens of Osage Indians in Osage County, Oklahoma were conceived and carried out by the white establishment over a period of two murderous decades. The motive? A common theme of greed, in this case stealing from the Osage the mineral rights to the booming oil field discovered on their reservation in the early 1900s.
When J. Edgar Hoover was first named head of what was later to become the Federal Bureau of Investigation he prioritized the solving of the Osage Indian murders and turned to Texas Ranger Tom White to lead the investigation. The details of this tragedy are shocking. It was a conspiracy the specific purpose of which was to kill Osage and their descendants in order to steal the valuable mineral rights that had made the Osage among the wealthiest per capita people in America. Local law enforcement was major part of the conspiracy.
Grann spares no detail in uncovering the horror of this injustice. The accolades he has received from the literary community speak to the importance of this work. High praise from Jon Krakauer, Erik Larsen,John Grisham and S.C. Gwynne.
David Grann also authored The Lost City of Z and The Devil and Sherlock Holmes.