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review 2017-02-14 20:28
Book 1/100: Sacred Wilderness by Susan Power

I fell off the wagon of uploading my book reviews for the end of 2016, but I'm starting fresh in the new year.

 

Sacred WildernessSacred Wilderness by Susan Power
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was divided into several different story "sections" -- one that took place in present day and followed an older Native American woman who was employed by a wealthy couple as a cook/housecleaner and others that delved into the stories of the main characters' ancestors.

I loved the way this book blended Native American and Catholic spirituality (which is what drew me to the book), particularly the Virgin Mary's intuitive understanding that all beings who forged a path of peace were sacred and would have been "friends of her son." Mary's manifestation appeared in both the historical and the modern timelines, and I liked her portrayal in the historical one better; she felt just a touch too "woo-woo"in her modern incarnation, and I kind of felt as if the privileged, unemployed middle-aged woman she was sent to "awaken" was not really deserving of the honor. On the other hand, her appearance to comfort a grieving mother and clan leader in the historical storyline seemed a much more worthy visitation.

The historical writing was incredibly beautiful and evocative. The modern writing I found to be a little stilted in places, but I liked that it lent some greater insight into the politics of being American Indian and living in the current culture. This is something I still strive to find a deeper understanding of, especially since moving to a state with a significant Native population that still remains mostly a mystery to me.

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review 2015-11-13 09:48
The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present - Robert F. Berkhofer Jr.

Bob Berkhofer's White Man's Indian is still such an important work, even decades after it was published. This groundbreaking book established the ways in which a dominant culture invented, shaped, and used the image of the Indian in order to define White values and civilization in contrast to Indian "savagery."

"the essence of the White image of the Indian has been the definition of Native Americans in fact and fancy as a separate and single other. Whether evaluated as noble or ignoble, whether seen as exotic or downgraded, the Indian as an image was always alien to the White."

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