Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: Essays on Native American Life Today

Leslie Marmon Silko, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-81153-6
In her title essay, famed novelist, short story writer and poet Silko recalls her encounters with racism while growing up on a Laguna Pueblo reservation in New Mexico (she is of mixed Indian, Mexican and white ancestry), then goes on to explore sexually uninhibited Laguna society before the arrival of Christian missionaries, when women took lovers as freely as men, and hunted and went to war along with the men. That provocative piece sets the tone for an outspoken collection of original essays in which Silko criticizes tribal councils as puppets of the U.S. government and blames President Clinton for what she considers racist immigration policies and for abetting the white and mestizo ruling classes of El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. She writes beautifully of Maya, Aztec and Mixtec codices, or folding books, relating their visual language to frescoes on pyramids and ancient dwellings. Her explorations of Pueblo myths and oral narratives emphasize the inextricable links between human identity, imagination and Mother Earth, a theme that resonates in an evocative essay, augmented by photographs, on the exotic rock formations around her home in Tucson's hills. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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