Thursday, September 20, 2007

More info: "I am part Native American"

Last October, I wrote about the statement "I am part Native American." I indicated I'd write more about it another time. I didn't realize nearly a year had passed since then! Time often moves faster than we'd like it to...

Here at UIUC's Native American House, one of this year's post docs in our American Indian Studies program is Jill Doerfler. She's Anishinaabe from the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. Jill writes for her tribal newspaper, Anishinaabeg Today. On April 18th, 2007, she began a series of columns about sovereignty and citizenship.

Today, I point you to Jill's work on those topics. It is important that you---readers, writers, reviewers, editors, buyers---of children's books about American Indians learn all you can about who we are, and what it means to make a statement like "I am part..."

To read Jill's column, go to the homepage of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. Click on the fourth button "Anishinaabeg" and then click on April 18th. Jill's column is on the second page.
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Sunday, September 16, 2007


Reviews: Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Over the last ten days or so, reviews of Sherman Alexie's YA novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian have been appearing in major newspapers across the country. The reviews are excellent. I don't recall a Native authored children's book getting this much press before.

It is well-deserved, for Alexie. It is a terrific book that will, no doubt, win accolades in the children's and YA arena. Newberry, perhaps.

Let's hope readers are so enamored that they look for other books written by Native authors! If you're a person who works with children and books, use the excitement around Alexie's book to promote other Native authored books.

Here's links to the reviews. I don't know how long these will work. Papers vary with respect to how long they let you read an article before they impose a charge to view it. The subtitles of the reviews themselves are interesting to consider...


LA Times review by Susan Carpenter: "'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian' by Sherman Alexie, A Native American boy tries to fit in at a white high school as reservation life takes a toll on his family"

NY Post review by Blake Nelson: "The School of Shock: Indian Delves into White Curriculum, Survives Battle"

Minneapolis Star Tribune review by Jim Lenfestey: "Books: Straight shooter. FICTION 'A teen boy on the Spokane Indian Reservation, beset by health problems and poverty issues, decides to attend school off the reservation, earning the enmity of his peers."

Seattle Times review by Stephanie Dunnewind: "Sherman Alexie captures the voice, chaos and humor of a teenager"

Ottawa Citizen review by Sarah T. Williams: "Native author is a man of many tribes: Terrorist attacks of 9/11 led writer Sherman Alexie to abandon the negative aspects of tribalism"

Oregonian review by J. David Santen Jr.: "Alexie pulls no punches in young-adult novel"

Newsday review by Sonja Bolle: "Alexie entertains while taking on tough ideas"

Spokesman Review by Dan Webster: "Alexie's new fiction may be close to truth"