A lot of native culture has been destroyed. So you already feel lost inside your culture. And then you add up feeling lost and insignificant inside the larger culture. So you end up feeling lost squared. And to never be recognized, to never have any power, you know, other minority communities actually have a lot of economic, cultural power.
The librarian spoke in a reverential whisper. Corliss knew she'd misjudged this passionate woman. Maybe she dressed poorly, but she was probably great in bed, certainly believed in God and goodness, and kept an illicit collection of overdue library books on her shelves.
At least half the country thinks the mascot issue is insignificant. But I think it's indicative of the ways in which Indians have no cultural power. We're still placed in the past. So we're either in the past or we're only viewed through casinos. I know a lot more about being white than you know about being Indian.
When are we left-wingers going to learn that we are losing the cultural and political battle with conservatives because we are fractured into narcissistic special-interest groups? Why should an antiwar protestor be so concerned about her dietary identity? The political opinions of vegetarians and meat-eaters are, after all, equally important. And what does it tell us about vegetarians that it would never occur to meat-eaters to carry a sign that reads "Pacifist Pork Chop Lover for Peace" or "Backyard Rib Barbecuer for International Nuclear Disarmament"?
Gordie, the white boy genius, gave me this book by a Russian dude named Tolstoy, who wrote, 'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' Well, I hate to argue with a Russian genius, but Tolstoy didn't know Indians, and he didn't know that all Indian families are unhappy for the same exact reasons: the frikkin' booze.
I am extremely conscious of my tribalism. And when you talk about tribalism, you talk about living in a black and white world. I mean, Native American tribalism sovereignty, even the political fight for sovereignty and cultural sovereignty is a very us versus them. And I think a lot of people in this country, especially European Americans and those descended from Europeans don't see themselves as tribal.
Sixty percent of all Indians live in urban areas, but nobody's writing about them. They're really an underrepresented population, and the ironic thing is very, very few of those we call Native American writers actually grew up on reservations, and yet most of their work is about reservations.
Bush has not read enough books to have a developed moral sense. The fewer books you read, the easier it is to become fundamental. In some ways my antiwar stand here is also a stand on anti-literacy. Someone should get G.W. into a reading program, get him to join a book club. Have him read Hamlet, King Lear.
My father was a basketball player, so I loved basketball because he did. It was a direct transference. But, more than that, basketball, in the United States at least, plays the same function that soccer does everyone else in the world. It's the sport of poverty. It's the sport born of poverty. It's the cheapest sport.
I know I'll keep writing poems. That's the constant. I don't know about novels. They're hard. It takes so much concentrated effort. When I'm writing a novel it's pretty much all I can do. I get bored. It takes months. Movies do the same thing. It's all-encompassing. It feels like I'm going to end up writing poems, short stories and screenplays.
...there are some children who aren't really children at all, they're just pillars of flame that burn everything they touch. And there are some children who are just pillars of ash, that fall apart when you touch them..." ~ Thomas Builds-the-Fire (played by Evan Adams) in Alexie's "Smoke Signals
I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don't write to protect them. It's far too late for that. I write to give them weapons-in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed.
Corliss wondered what happens to a book that sits unread on a library shelf for thirty years. Can a book rightfully be called a book if it never gets read? If a tree falls in a forest and gets pulped to make paper for a book that never gets read, but there's nobody there to read it, does it make a sound?
The problem is that too many adults think their kids' lives are simple, or they try to make their lives simple, when their emotional lives are just as complicated as ours. They might have a few less tools to deal with it because they're young, but the emotions are all the same, and the subject matter is all the same.
It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor. You start believing that you're poor because you're stupid and ugly. And then you start believing that you're stupid and ugly because you're Indian. And because you're Indian you start believing you're destined to be poor. It's an ugly circle and there's nothing you can do about it.
Non-Indian writers usually say "Great Spirit," "Mother Earth," "Two-Legged, Four-Legged, and Winged." Mixed-blood writers usually say "Creator, "Mother Earth," "Two-Legged, Four- Legged, and Winged." Indian writers usually say "God," "Mother Earth," "Human Being, Dog, and Bird."
Yes, I am Irish and Indian, which would be the coolest blend in the world if my parents were around to teach me how to be Irish and Indian. But they're not here and haven't been for years, so I'm not really Irish or Indian. I am a blank sky, a human solar eclipse.
If you really want a woman to love you, then you have to dance. And if you don’t want to dance, then you’re going to have to work extra hard to make a woman love you forever, and you will always run the risk that she will leave you at any second for a man who knows how to tango.
Can you hear the dreams crackling like a campfire? Can you hear the dreams sweeping through the pine trees and tipis? Can you hear the dreams laughing in the sawdust? Can you hear the dreams shaking just a little bit as the day grows long? Can you hear the dreams putting on a good jacket that smells of fry bread and sweet smoke? Can you hear the dreams stay up late and talk so many stories?
The streetlight outside my house shines on tonight and I'm watching it like it could give me a vision. James ain't talked ever and he looks at that streetlight like it was a word and maybe like it was a verb. James wanted to streetlight me and make me bright and beautiful so all the moths and bats would circle me like I was the center of the world an held secrets.
Reardan is the rich white farm town that sits in the wheat fields exactly 22 miles away from the Rez. And it's a hick town I suppose filled with farmers and rednecks and racists cops who stop every Indian that drives through. During one week when I was little dad got stopped three times for DWI- Driving While Indian.
Indians have no monopoly on environmentalism. That's one of the great myths. But we were subsistence livers. They're two different things. Environmentalism is a conscious choice and subsistence is the absence of choice. We had to use everything to survive. And now that we've been assimilated and colonized and we have luxuries and excesses, we're just as wasteful as other people.
There's this whole notion of being an Indian - the idea that "warrior" is a positive description of us [Indians as native Americans]. When an Indian guy does well, he's a warrior, even now. He could be a computer salesman, but if he does well, he's a warrior. I'm not a pacifist by any measure, but I'm also fully aware that the reasons I might go to war could be very dubious.
And none of these people, not one of them, had loved any of the others well enough. Failures, he thought, we're all failures... He wanted his love to be the wine and bread, and the blood and flesh. He reached for her, a dangerous stranger in a city of dangerous strangers, but she turned away from him and walked unsteadily through the crowd. How many loveless people walk among the barely loved?