In the introduction, editor Chad Sweeney, writes that “Maurice Kenny spent his life and career exploring the intersection of the Native American with the European. In interviews, essays, and personal conversations, Kenny often confessed that he was searching for himself in exploring these historical figures of contact. In his final work, Maurice Kenny interrogates that crisis of contact between European-American expansion and the free Cheyenne Nation, and especially the enigmatic woman, Monahsetah, the Cheyenne second “wife” to General George Armstrong Custer, whom the Cheyenne reviled . . . In tracing Monahsetah’s cultural negotiations, Kenny is perhaps, once more, trying to locate himself within that insoluble inquiry: after five centuries of massacre and exploitation, how may one's Native loyalties be reconciled to one's European roots? And what forms may resistance take?”
Lisa Tatonetti in a World Literature Today review, praises Monahsetah, Resistance and other Markings on Turtle's Back, saying, “Maurice Kenny’s final collection, Monahsetah, offers readers more than just the last words of a major figure in Indigenous literature—it is by turns a poetic history and a poignant walk through shards of personal and collective memory. Kenny’s significance as a poet, short fiction writer, editor, and mentor cannot be overstated . . . [T]his beautifully assembled collection showcases the undiminished power of Kenny’s poetic voice, reminding us of the impact and reach of his literary genius.”
Native American poet Lance Henson says of Kenny, “Maurice was a gentle surveyor of ancient indigenous reality. He moved within that source, like wind through water reeds.”
Of Kenny’s life and work, the artist, writer, and poet Wendy Rose says, “Maurice Kenny stands at the forefront of his generation. Few writers of any ethnicity are destined to be remembered in the mainstream of literary history; I believe that Kenny’s contributions as a poet are among those few. He writes from the center, as our Elders would say."