The Rez Road Follies: Canoes, Casinos, Computers, and Birch Bark Baskets

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Are you a full-blooded Indian? No, I'm a pint low today, just came from the blood bank. Do you speak your language? Yup, and yours too.

With wry humor, gentle candor, and an eye for the telling detail, Jim Northrup invites readers to explore the world of today's Anishinaabe, or Ojibway, people. In disarmingly simple and direct language, he recalls key events of his own life: enduring childhood at a bleak government boarding school, facing enemy fire in Vietnam, confronting family tragedies, becoming a grandfather and an almost-wise elder. Pithy Q&A sessions and jokes offer droll commentary on his encounters with the immigrant community (his term for Caucasian Americans), while leisurely told tales echo the pace of life on the reservation and explore the meaning of ancient rituals like the harvesting of wild rice and the impact of Indian casinos on native life. With the skill he brings to weaving birch-bark baskets, Northrup intertwines laconic observation and poetic reflection in a book that engages the heart, the mind, and the funny bone.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Life on an Indian reservation (the "Rez") has rarely been discussed with such wit as by this member of the Anishinaabe tribe of Fond de Lac, Minn. Northrup, a columnist for several Indian newspapers and author of Walking the Rez Road, was born during WWII, and shortly thereafter was taken from his parents and sent to a Federal boarding school where Native Americans were taught to read and write English and to learn the ways of "the immigrant community," as he calls the white world. Northrup's description of boarding school is at once painful and funny, encapsulated by his imaginary interrogation: Q: "Who invented the Bureau of Indian Affairs?" A: "Someone who was really mad at us." But the book is not a litany of injustice or grief; Northrup pokes hilarious fun at Anglo and tourist stereotypes of Native Americansalthough the aftertaste is bitterand he succeeds in entertaining while instructing us about modern and ancient Indian cultures. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816634958
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 792,944
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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