Tuesday, October 27, 2015

URBAN TRIBES: NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE CITY, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Did you read Dreaming in Indian, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale? It came out last year to much acclaim, and last week, it received an award from Wordcraft Circle. Awards from ones own community are especially valuable. They signal to a reader that people who know a people, from the inside, find the book to be amongst the very best available.

Charyleyboy and Leatherdale's new book, Urban Tribes: Native Americans in the City, also published by Annick Press, was released in August of this year.

Isn't that cover exquisite? Inside you'll find art, and stories, and poems written by Native people. There's joy, for example, in the photographs of actor Tatanka Means. You may have seen him in Tiger Eyes, the film adaptation of Judy Blume's story. Photographs of him in Urban Tribes include one of his dad, Russell Means, braiding his hair, and several of him holding a mic.

Talong Long, an 8th grader in Phoenix, who is Sicangu Lakota, Diné, writes about how hard it is "to convince people--adults especially" what his life is like. He writes:
There are also a lot of other people here who aren't Native and don't know about Natives. They say things like 'You live in the city? I thought you lived on a reservation. You have a house? I thought you lived in a teepee.'
I find his words striking as I read them this week in light of ongoing arguments made by adults who think kids can spot stereotyping and bias. Long also writes about the Native community in Phoenix that sustains him. Fifteen year old Maggie, and 17 year old Michaela are Cree/Dene. Their thoughts on going back and forth from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan to Beauval, on the English River First Nation, are spread over six delightful, gorgeous pages.

Urban Tribes includes Dear Native College Student, You Are Loved, an essay by Dr. Adrienne Keene that circulates widely in Native networks online and a two-page spread of the Faceless Doll Project created by students at the Eric Hamber Secondary School in Vancouver, through which students use collage to call attention to the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

And, it includes a two-page spread full of information about Native peoples in the US and Canada.

As with Dreaming in Indian, I find myself studying it, pausing, and thinking about the young Native people who will study it, too, finding possible selves in the pages of Urban Natives. I highly recommend it.



1 comment:

Naomi said...

Love this! Finally some real stories! I dreamed about reading books like this! I'm so thrilled to see such beautiful published books! It makes my heart smile. I'm requesting both of these books today for our university library!!!!