Friday, October 8, 2010

A Serious Urge to Read American Indian Authors

I recently recieved an unrequested advanced readers copy of I Am Nuchu by Brenda Stanley, a young adult novel. The main character Cal is half White/ half Ute Indian. After his parents divorce, Cal's mother takes him and his siblings (two) to live on the Utah reservation she grew up on.

I didn't request I Am Nuchu since I prefer not to ask for a book if there's a good chance I will consider it inauthentic. I would rather get it from work or library. Only a few chapters in I was already shaking my head at I Am Nuchu and it didn't get any better. I quickly realized I have either been subconsciously or consciously not reading novels featuring American Indians written by White authors. Maybe one day I will review I Am Nuchu like I did Oranges Houses by Griffin. Right now, I simply don't have the energy or desire to get angry all over again.

For now I will tell you to check out the downable list of children's and about American Indians created by Deebie Reese .

I've only read two of the titles. Since I found the list after I Am Nuchu, I felt a serious need to read books featuring American Indians written by American Indians.

So from the library I checked out Indian Shoes and Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Letich Smith, and Blue Horses Rush In by Luci Tapahonso

There was a time when I felt I had to defend why I found a novel written by an outsider inauthentic. No more, I won't apologize or list books written by outsiders that I love. So people won't think I am judging the author's race and not the work itself.

I have nothing to prove. All I can do his share my opinion. The review I did of Orange Houses back in Nov. of 2009, is my most viewed post of all time. It's almost always in the top five of viewed post. This makes me very happy. I know people will disagree with my take on Orange Houses but at least they get to see a different point of view.

This year, I am a first round non fiction picture book panelist for the Cybils. One of the books nominated was Saltypie by Tim Tingle. As far as I know its the only children's book this year by an American Indian author about American Indians.

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