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Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life

by

Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780802119711
ISBN10: 0802119719
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Review:

"Novelist Treuer (Little) offers an ambitious, impressionistic study of life on Native American reservations. His blending in of the history of his Ojibwe tribe and his own family results in a nuanced view of personal and tribal identity. It's neither definitive nor a work of full personal disclosure, but it is 'the story of the paradoxically least and most American place in the twenty-first century. Welcome to the Rez.' Whether he's describing the central role of fishing walleye, the region's signature fish; the Ojibwe's treaty right fights; or the timeless method for harvesting wild rice, Treuer paints a picture of a vital if economically strained tribal life, deftly supplying historical context to explain how the Mille Lacs, Red Lake, and White Earth reservations came to be and survive. If the stand-alone chapters don't always flow smoothly into one another, the vignettes — of treaty rights fishing activists; of how casinos have changed economic life on the rez; how his mother, a tribal judge, dispensed justice; how an Ojibwe language teacher ensured the viability of the tribal language for another generation; and most powerfully, how Treuer's grandfather's suicide left the family reeling — bring the world and personalities of the rez to vivid, heartrending life." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

Celebrated novelist David Treuer has gained a reputation for writing fiction that expands the horizons of Native American literature. In Rez Life, his first full-length work of nonfiction, Treuer brings a novelists storytelling skill and an eye for detail to a complex and subtle examination of Native American reservation life, past and present.

With authoritative research and reportage, Treuer illuminates misunderstood contemporary issues of sovereignty, treaty rights, and natural-resource conservation. He traces the waves of public policy that have disenfranchised and exploited Native Americans, exposing the tension that has marked the historical relationship between the United States government and the Native American population. Through the eyes of students, teachers, government administrators, lawyers, and tribal court judges, he shows how casinos, tribal government, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have transformed the landscape of Native American life.

A member of the Ojibwe of northern Minnesota, Treuer grew up on Leech Lake Reservation, but was educated in mainstream America. Exploring crime and poverty, casinos and wealth, and the preservation of native language and culture, Rez Life is a strikingly original work of history and reportage, a must read for anyone interested in the Native American story.

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Chelsey, January 20, 2013 (view all comments by Chelsey)
Even as someone who grew up a mere 60 miles from the Minnesota town the author calls home (and writes much about here), and with a solidly passable knowledge of the history of American Indians' relationships with the U.S. nation, I was fully blown away by the amount of intimate historical detail and personal knowledge Treuer brings to these pages. Personal history (cleaning up after his grandfather's suicide, his mother's job as a tribal court judge, etc.) interweaves with firsthand narrative reporting (fishing on Mille Lacs with cousins and friends leads into a fascinating account of the fight for treaty rights) and deep history (the dirty military and legal maneuvers of the budding U.S. nation, the devastation of allotment, the birth of the Indian casino).

But don't turn away thinking it's going to be a bummer. This book is so lively and fascinating, Treuer's tone generous to both his subjects and his audience, and the people he writes about so resilient and resourceful, that it torpedoes the stereotypes of reservations as downtrodden and hopeless lost causes. It's a terrific read. I'm grateful to this book and what it's given me--a new understanding of not only the region of the country I thought I knew so well, but of America's nation-building and the not-so-proud legacy it prefers to ignore.

I hope that everyone who fell in love with "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" and other such sympathetic but ethically blurry books about Native Americans will pick this one up--Treuer uses actual, named, directly-quoted people, with no composite characters, and is very careful and transparent about acknowledging his process and his own limitations and subjectivity. This is the real deal.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780802119711
Author:
Treuer, David
Publisher:
Atlantic Monthly Press
Subject:
Native American
Subject:
Native American-General Native American Studies
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20120231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » General
History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies

Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life New Hardcover
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Product details 368 pages Atlantic Monthly Press - English 9780802119711 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Novelist Treuer (Little) offers an ambitious, impressionistic study of life on Native American reservations. His blending in of the history of his Ojibwe tribe and his own family results in a nuanced view of personal and tribal identity. It's neither definitive nor a work of full personal disclosure, but it is 'the story of the paradoxically least and most American place in the twenty-first century. Welcome to the Rez.' Whether he's describing the central role of fishing walleye, the region's signature fish; the Ojibwe's treaty right fights; or the timeless method for harvesting wild rice, Treuer paints a picture of a vital if economically strained tribal life, deftly supplying historical context to explain how the Mille Lacs, Red Lake, and White Earth reservations came to be and survive. If the stand-alone chapters don't always flow smoothly into one another, the vignettes — of treaty rights fishing activists; of how casinos have changed economic life on the rez; how his mother, a tribal judge, dispensed justice; how an Ojibwe language teacher ensured the viability of the tribal language for another generation; and most powerfully, how Treuer's grandfather's suicide left the family reeling — bring the world and personalities of the rez to vivid, heartrending life." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
Celebrated novelist David Treuer has gained a reputation for writing fiction that expands the horizons of Native American literature. In Rez Life, his first full-length work of nonfiction, Treuer brings a novelists storytelling skill and an eye for detail to a complex and subtle examination of Native American reservation life, past and present.

With authoritative research and reportage, Treuer illuminates misunderstood contemporary issues of sovereignty, treaty rights, and natural-resource conservation. He traces the waves of public policy that have disenfranchised and exploited Native Americans, exposing the tension that has marked the historical relationship between the United States government and the Native American population. Through the eyes of students, teachers, government administrators, lawyers, and tribal court judges, he shows how casinos, tribal government, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have transformed the landscape of Native American life.

A member of the Ojibwe of northern Minnesota, Treuer grew up on Leech Lake Reservation, but was educated in mainstream America. Exploring crime and poverty, casinos and wealth, and the preservation of native language and culture, Rez Life is a strikingly original work of history and reportage, a must read for anyone interested in the Native American story.

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