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Category Archive for 'Native American'

Focusing on the attempts of a group of young people, both white and Native American, to save some starving horses owned by the most powerful man in Twisted Tree, South Dakota, Meyers creates much more than a coming-of-age story here, delving into the essence of life itself, while keeping his style unpretentious and his plot lines simple. The stories the characters hear from their parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles connect the various themes, unite the characters, and show the overlaps between cultures as all these young people grow and learn. The young characters learn that underlying all stories are dreams, some living and some destroyed, some emanating from higher powers and some coming from within. Featuring characters with whom the reader identifies, this full, richly developed novel stretches our imagination, challenges our thinking, and keeps us totally entertained every step of the way. (My favorite novel of 2005)

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When Faye Travers, an estate agent in New Hampshire, inventories the home of John Jewett Tatro at the behest of his niece and heirs, she is aware that Tatro’s grandfather was once an Indian agent on an Ojibwe reservation and that his grandmother was Indian. Faye, of Indian heritage herself, is hoping to find some Indian artifacts that can be sold or donated to a museum on behalf of the estate. Neither Faye nor Sarah Tatro notices the drum, at first—three feet in diameter, hollowed out from a single piece of cedar wood and covered by a moose hide. Suddenly, the drum “speaks” to Faye, resonating with a single, deep note which only she hears. The story of the “Little Girl” drum (with no spoilers here) takes the reader from Faye’s life and love story in New Hampshire to an Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota. Tightly organized, with stories spanning three generations and interconnecting three different families—Faye Travers and her mother Elsie, Bernard Shaawano, and Shawnee and her mother Ira— The Painted Drum is a powerful novel which taps into universal feelings and hopes, even as it depicts some of life’s most terrible events. (On my Favorites list for 2005)

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