A Reading List: Native History and Literature

This time last year, my older son and I were working though some Native history and literature. It’s beautiful and devastating. The books here are a small selection of what’s available. A beginning.

If these perspectives are unfamiliar to you, please take some time and read. It’s so worth it. These words are gifts.

Here’s what we read:

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This is essential.  

Life of Black Hawk, by Black Hawk. A Native view of the conflict resulting from the US push west in the 1800s , as well as what life was like.

The Journey of Crazy Horse, by Joseph M. Marshall III. The story of Crazy Horse’s life. It will haunt you. 

American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings, by Zitkala-Sa. The ‘other writings’ are letters, articles, and speeches about Native issues of the day. She will open your eyes.

The Soul of the Indian, by Charles Alexander Eastman. For insight into a culture.

Two Old Women, by Velma Wallis. Written for a younger reader, it takes place in Alaska. A legend about two old women who are left by their people to die, and what happens next.

Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann. I did my best to use books written by Native people, but I ended up using this because the story sucked me in, it was written well, and if you want an idea of the suffocating injustice faced by Natives, this book will help. 

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I think the next two books are particularly compelling read one after the other. It doesn’t matter the order. They are not the same story, and the conflicts are not handled the same way, but, well, you’ll see. There are similarities, and it’s interesting to compare and contrast the two. My son preferred one, and I preferred the other.

Winter in the Blood, by James Welch. It’s a classic, and it’s beautiful. My son liked this one better.

Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko. This. It’s lodged in my heart. If I had to choose one favorite book from the whole list, it would be Ceremony. 

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Blonde Indian, by Ernestine Hayes. Life as a Tlingit (I hope I have that right). This is more contemporary. I needed to take deep breaths and settle down for the storytelling aspect of the book, and, once I did, I found it to be a rich and captivating memoir. 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. Another one written for a younger audience, while remaining equally interesting to an adult. It will kick you right in the stomach, and you should read it.

There, There, by Tommy Orange. A relatively newly-released work of fiction. It’s got a hard edge but it’s the softness that hurts. If you read through the whole list, by the time you get to this one, you’ll recognize the themes. You will be sad, horrified, sick, and hopefully  more aware. Compassionate. Just do it. Read the list, and read this book.

 

Knotty but Nice Ugh

I didn’t even want to tell you the name of the pattern because I hate puns just that much, but it didn’t seem fair to the designer. Plus, it wouldn’t be consistent with my usual style of post, which would drive me nuts.

More nuts than a pun? I couldn’t decide with certainty. Provisionally, yes, so I have told you the name.

Here’s the link: click here

I found it difficult to get a good photo. Here are my two best efforts, one lit by a lamp, and one lit by the sun:

The pattern was well-written, the result is exactly as advertised, and I hate the fit. I can kind of make it look okay if I turn the front up and wear it a bit like a cloche. And, yes, I know it’s a men’s hat, which may well be why it doesn’t fit my non-man-sized head, but I didn’t originally make it for myself so I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. None of the men in the house wanted it, you see. It’s not a bad hat, just not their style.

Anyway, there it is, and it’s done in Madelinetosh Tosh DK. The shade is Thunderstorm.

Oak Knot

Here’s another hat I finished a while ago. I know I posted it before, but I must have removed the post, so here it is again.

Oak Knot, by Juju Vail and Susan Cropper, originally published in Juju’s Loops, one of my very favorite knitting books.

I love this hat. I made it from Cascade 220. The shade is called Galaxy. I want to make at least one more in a softer yarn, but even this slightly itchy version is the hat I wear most often.

A pile of minutes

Here is my first attempt at Junko Okamoto’s Teru pattern. I finished it some time ago, and I’ve worn it a bunch. It’s massive and cozy, and, I think, beautiful.

It was my first attempt at color work, as well. I think it went alright.

Truly, it’s difficult to overstate the largeness of this garment. It could be a dress. In the cold of winter, it is such a wonderful sweater to own. Highly recommend.

Yet another 3 Min. dress. Perhaps you’re wondering if I intend to turn every bit of fabric I own into one. I wonder that, too. I’ve done, um, six? I think? They’re just the easiest thing to grab and wear.

and everything was sweeter

My older son finished high school! He’s been so busy this summer we just got around to celebrating. A few friends came over one Sunday evening and my son wanted pie, so we had pie. Well, also tarts, because I don’t know how to make that many kinds of pie.

Here’s a photo I snapped at the beginning:

We had:

Cherry pie, with the usual canned filling.

Apple pie from Costco, easy enough

A cherry tart with what is, I guess, a frangipane or at least frangipane-esque filling. I’ve been fiddling with the recipe, and I’m still not completely satisfied, but I love the concept so I have three more changes I want to try. It’s a Martha Stewart one from Long Ago:

Tarte composée, this one was cookie crust filled with pastry cream and topped with sliced strawberries. Again, ancient Martha, from the archives:

The cookie crust recipe makes two tart shells, so I needed to fill the second with something. Therefore,

Lemony tart, which was a cookie crust filled with lemon semolina pudding and topped with lemon curd. The pudding recipe is from Jacques Pépin. I think, as a stand-alone food, it’s possibly the best dessert in the world. It performed nicely in the tart, but, truth be told, I still prefer it on its own. Here’s the recipe for the pudding; it’s very rich, something to keep in mind when you’re serving it:

Blueberry galette, just a butter crust with blueberries, sugar, and a little cornstarch to thicken.

Chocolate pie, done in the lazy way with boxed filling, because that’s how the day went.

I’m glad my son had this idea! It was fun, and I’d do it again.

Also, I finished this small boat recently. It’s one of Ann Wood’s templates; you can see this one and others on her website. I copied the colors of her boat because I thought they were so pretty. For the paper mache, I used some recipes for potatoes and lines of Sappho’s, because potatoes are delicious, and who writes more perfectly about love and longing?