Ravenshadow

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Overview

In following the white man's road, Joseph Blue Crow has lost his Lakota heritage and is haunted by the loss. After the inexplicable suicide of the woman he loves, and as he sinks into alcoholism and despair and stands on the precipice of suicide, his best friend tells him, "You got to go on the mountain."

Blue's journey takes him on a torturous path, and as he is guided by a shaman and a spirit bird, under whose wings lay the shadows of the past, he revisits—and relives—the ...

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Overview

In following the white man's road, Joseph Blue Crow has lost his Lakota heritage and is haunted by the loss. After the inexplicable suicide of the woman he loves, and as he sinks into alcoholism and despair and stands on the precipice of suicide, his best friend tells him, "You got to go on the mountain."

Blue's journey takes him on a torturous path, and as he is guided by a shaman and a spirit bird, under whose wings lay the shadows of the past, he revisits—and relives—the massacre of Wounded Knee, standing beside his people as they fall under the gun and cannon fire.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Best known for Stone Song, his vivid, lyrical novel of the life of Crazy Horse, Blevins here introduces Joseph Blue Crow, a 1990s Lakota Sioux who calls himself a Great White Doubter. Narrator Joseph feels he is red on the outside but white on the inside ("I thought the white way was the way, and the red way should get left behind"). Although born a full-blooded Sioux and raised on the reservation, Blue is poised to escape his destined poverty when he gets away to college, where he discovers booze, basketball and girls. Succumbing to the temptations of the white culture, he discards his Indian heritage, his family and friends. His experiences as a young man in Seattle are harsh, as he encounters overt racism, but it is his black girlfriend's suicide and the almost simultaneous death of his grandmother that prompt him to return to the reservation, feeling a traitor to himself and his people. By 1990 he is 40, divorced, an alcoholic disk jockey on a blues radio station in South Dakota. Finally compelled to seek peace by a friend and a spiritual vision of a raven, Blue immerses himself in Sioux tradition, turning to the sweat lodge and the sacred pipe. His quest culminates in a pilgrimage, the annual Big Foot Memorial Ride, which commemorates Wounded Knee, the bloody event the whites call a battle, but the Sioux call a massacre. En route, with the help of a medicine man, Blue's spirit is transported to that bitter cold day in 1890 when the Seventh Cavalry fired on a village of starving Sioux--including some of Blue's own ancestors. His soul is redeemed by his difficult vision, though the journey may be painful for the reader. Blevins's bleak tale of a man caught between two cultures lacks the balance and grace of Stone Song, but it presents a solid indictment of how even today the white world oppresses and persecutes Native Americans. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312865658
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.91 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Win Blevins is an authority on the Plains Indians and the fur-trade era of the West. His rollicking tribute to the mountain man, Give Your Heart to the Hawks, remains in print thirty years after its first publication; his novel of Crazy Horse, Stone Song, earned several prestigious literary prizes; and such novels as Charbonneau, The Rock Child, and RavenShadow have established him as among the best of writers of the West. He lives in Utah's Canyonlands with his wife, Meredith, also a novelist.

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Read an Excerpt

Ravenshadow

PART ONE

Blue Is Lost

Blue Introduces Himself

 

 

Mitakuye oyasin—We are all related, we are all one. Mitakuye oyasin—those are the words we use to end all our prayers, we Lakota, the ones you call Sioux. I'm telling you this story to teach it to myself.

You can call me Blue.

My full name is Joseph Blue Crow. It is one of my names. I am the man of many names. I am the man of more than one voice, more than one language, more than one culture. I am the man you do not know, do not want to know, cannot permit yourself to know. To see me is to feel the cold beneath the shadow of the Raven's wing.

Look at me. Here I stand before you, a buffalo bull of a Lakota Indian, six and a half feet tall and up toward three hundred pounds. My skin is dark, my hair blue-black, and I wear it in one long braid. I look like I belong in another world, any other world, not yours.

Will you listen to my story? You must listen very carefully.

I set out on a journey to save my soul.

Maybe I will save it.

And maybe, as my witness, you can save yours.

Copyright © 1999 by Win Blevins

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 26, 2012

    The Ravenshadow, A very dynamic and encompassing story of life l

    The Ravenshadow, A very dynamic and encompassing story of life love and mystery. The story is written in an attmept to bridge racial berriors. The book Ravenshadow, historical-fictional story of Blue Raven, a seventh generation Lakota, as he faces his personal demons, and struggles in the world. Blue is a reservation Indian who was raised for the first fifteen years separate from white society, only going to school at that age. He makes his way learning English, and white society from school. He goes to college on a basketball scholarship, and is well educated, begins working as a disc jockey, and lives off the reservation, until tragic events send him home, and he spirals into alcoholism, and loses everything he has. His triumphant struggle back, and the path he takes in recovery, allows the reader to learn more about the past, and the reasoning of his historical connections.
    Set in two time periods at the time of the massacre at Wounded Knee (December 29 1890) and also at the time of the great Wiping Away the Tears ceremony (1990) a century later. Wounded Knee Massacre was the result of misunderstanding, and prejudice that caused one of the worst travesties of the western movement, over 300 men, women and children, died in a horrific bloody massacre, when the Lakota attempted to bring the Ghost Dance, and their ancestral ways back to the people. The Wiping Away the Tears ceremony, was when the seventh generation attempted to change how they look and understand the events of Wounded Knee, and the forced Reservation movement of the Lakota peoples, the "Rides show what heights humans beings can reach when we seek guidance of Spirit and act from love for self, family and people." This story encompasses so much information about the Lakota people, the massacre and events leading to and around the Wiping Away the Tears ceremony.
    There is so much that I learned from the book, not only the language, spirituality, and culture of the Pine Ridge Reservation and those remaining seventh generation survivors, but also about the difficulties, and mental traps that have plagued the reservation Indians, many American’s look at those who find themselves lost in the morass of the historical events and wonder why they cannot pull themselves up by their boot straps and go on, without understanding the events, ideology, and subjective world that Reservations have provided, his book I plan to give to a close friend who worked near the reservations, to help him understand the events and realities of those who died and survived during the massacre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2005

    a very active reader

    This is one of the best books I have read and I read almost a book a day. I could not zip through it, I savored each paragraph. Maybe one of the best books I've ever read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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