New Feature: Totally ReRead It
Totally ReRead It:
is a new feature I am starting on Contagious Reads in which I list books that I want to read again, have read again, or just books that take me down memory lane. Feel free to take part in this meme. (a shout out to Contagious Reads will be nice).
This week I ReRead parts of three books, and am going to reread Annie Walls Taking on the Dead.
What I ReRead:
Kim Anderson has written a critical and inspiring history of Native womanhood. Anderson traces the construction of the negative female stereotypes forced on Native women during colonization. Through interviews with forty contemporary Native women across Canada, she explores the issues shaping their lives and the many ways they are reclaiming positive and powerful images of themselves.
The part that keeps me coming back for more:
“Aboriginal children are precious to us because they represent the future. They are not considered possessions of the biological parents; rather, they are understood to be gifts from the Creator. Because of this, everyone in the community has a connection to the children, and everyone has an obligation to work for their well being. Each one of us has a responsibility to them.” (emphasis my own).
Storytelling is an integral part of Native American tradition. It goes back hundreds of years, and spans the continent from ocean to ocean. It was the means by which tribes and nations communicated from generation to generation their feats, legends, and religious beliefs. These stories had a magical quality; they were both real and wondrous, and they had the power to bring the people together as nothing else did.
In this volume, Leslie Marmon Silko demonstrates that storytelling is not only alive but still imbued with the power to move and deeply affect us. “What ethnologists have reported that the oral tradition among Native American groups has died out,” the author notes, “because whites have always looked for museum pieces and artifacts when dealing with Native American communities…. I grew up at Laguna listening, and I hear the ancient stories, I hear them very clearly in the stories we are telling right now. Most important, I feel the power which the stories still have, to bring us together, especially when there is loss and grief.”
Here Ms. Silko weaves a magical spell, as she re-creates the ancient stories, in prose and poetry (the distinction for the Native American is far less than in the European tradition), spicing them with the realities of her own experience. They are stories of her own family – of Great Grandma A’mooh, of Grandpa Hank and Aunt Susie and Aunt Susie’s daughter Bessie; they are archetypal stories filled with characters like Old Ayah and Yellow Woman, Buffalo Man and Hummingbird; tales infused with a sense of tradition and love of place, yet filled too with the hard realities of hunger, poverty, and injustice.
In this work, what Leslie Silko has given us is, in a real sense, a Native American Roots.
What keeps me coming back:
POEM FOR MYSELF AND MEI: Concerning Abortion
Chinle to Fort Defiance, April 1973
The morning sun
coming unstuffed with yellow light
butterflies tumbling loose
and blowing across the Earth.
They fill the sky
with shimmering yellow wind
and I see them with the clarity of ice
shattered in mountain streams
where each pebble is
speckled and marbled
alive beneath the water.
All winter it snowed
and springtime rained it.
Wide fancy meadows
and butterflies are yellow mustard flowers
spilling out of the mountain.
There were horses
near the highway
And the white one
scratching his ass on a tree.
They die softly
against the windshield
and the iridescent wings
flutter and cling
all the way home.
My next reread:
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I'm a mother, and I love reading. What else is there to know?