The Light People

Gordon Henry, Jr., Author
Gordon Henry, Jr., Author University of Oklahoma Press $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2586-2
Paperback - 978-0-8061-2735-4
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Henry, a professor of languages and literature at Ferris State University in Michigan, draws inspiration from his own Anishinabe heritage for this imaginative and entertaining novel. It is more precisely a progression of stories in which the young Anishinabe, Oskinaway, tries to learn the whereabouts of his mother, who had disappeared with a trader on the powwow trail some years earlier, leaving him with his grandparents. He seeks advice of a tribal elder, Jake Seed, which in turn leads to a consultation with Arthur Boozhoo, a young medicine man who also performs as a magician at children's parties. This in turn leads to a recitation by Seed's daughter Rose, who mysteriously turns up one day when her father (who never spoke of her existence) is sick. And so it goes in this delightful, gentle, comic piece. Prose, poetry and drama share pages with court transcripts as the author weaves his tale. Anthropologists are lampooned in the account of Moses Four Bears, whose severed leg winds up in a museum and becomes a subject for repatriation. The mixed-blood Bombarto Rose considers Indian identity as he tries to make his way between Native and white cultures. This seventh volume in the American Indian Literature and Critical Studies series edited by Gerald Vizenor is a touching and slyly humorous read. (Mar.)
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