Chief: The Life History of Eugene Delorme, Imprisoned Santee Sioux

Inez Cardozo-Freeman, Author, Eugene P. Delorme, Author University of Nebraska Press $45 (218p) ISBN 978-0-8032-1469-9
Delorme was imprisoned in Washington State Penitentiary when Cardozo-Freeman (currently a humanities faculty member at Ohio State) met him in 1978. They subsequently collaborated on The Joint: Language and Culture in a Maximum Security Prison (1984). This addition to the Univ. of Nebraska's ``American Indian Lives'' series presents Delorme's oral autobiography. Not only did he have to face anti-Indian prejudice while growing up in Aberdeen, Wash., but his father was an alcoholic, and his mother, who worked two jobs to support the family, followed the Indian tradition of exerting no discipline on her sons. Delorme was sent to a reformatory at age 10 and spent most of the next 30 years in prison for theft or parole violation. A keen observer and an extremely articulate man, he is at his most gripping when explaining the prison code and showing how it represents society's code inverted. Because he is suicidal and often drunk Delorme is now, at age 54, again institutionalized, this time in a psychiatric hospital. Photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
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