Synopses & Reviews
This first collection, in prose memoir and poetry, of the work of a Navajo poet and teacher describes attending a government school for Indian children and the challenge it presented to her socially, culturally, and expressively. Laura Tohe says this of her experience:
"I was born in Fort Defiance, Arizona, and raised on the Diné (Navajo) Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. I grew up speaking Diné as my primary language. For a while we lived near Coyote Canyon with my grandparents while my parents operated the Tohe Coal Mine, a family business. After the mine closed, my mother moved us to Crystal, New Mexico, where she worked at the boarding school. I grew up without television in the beautiful Chuska Mountains, where only a dirt road connected us to the rest of the world.
"While growing up I heard stories all around me. As we drove down the dusty reservation road, my mother told many Diné stories. I liked to listen to her and Grandma gossip. Sometimes she would catch me eavesdropping and make me leave. My first publication originates from a story given to my mother by her great-grandmother."
In prose and poetry, Tohe describes attending a government school for Indian children and the challenge it presented to her socially, culturally, and expressively.
Poetry and Memoir. In her first collection of poetry and prose memoir, Dine (Navajo) writer Laura Tohe describes her childhood on the reservation in Arizona and New Mexico, the joys and sorrows of boarding school life, and growing up to a wiser maturity, still capable of radiating things of beauty despite the memory of brutality and loss. When the moon died/ she reminded us of/ the earth ripping apart/ violent tremors,/ greasy oceans,/ the panic of steel winds,/ whipping shorelines and/ thirsty fields. I know of no other book that deals more directly with the Indian School experience or does it better. Tohe mourns the losses, yet never loses herself in bitterness ... this (is) a minor classic that should be in every library -- Joseph Bruchac.