Keeping Slug Woman Alive: A Holistic Approach to American Indian Texts

Greg Sarris, Author University of California Press $45 (214p) ISBN 978-0-520-08006-5
Sarris, the chairman (i.e., chief) of the Coast Miwok tribe of Indians and teacher of Native American studies at UCLA, offers eight essays on Native American literature. The first two essays deal with oral tradition as embodied by Mabel McKay, the Native woman who raised him. She is the last surviving member of her particular band of the Pomo and the last of the Bole Maru, a revivalist, isolationist religious cult that began in the 1870s. Only two articles deal with written literature. One is an analysis of a collection of autobiographies by Pomo women, which he reads in light of his own insecurity about being of mixed blood (his mother was Jewish). He turns an essay on Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine into a reflection on the meaning of ``Indianness.'' The best essays (including the title piece) deal with the use of oral tradition and storytelling in the classroom. Sarris does a good job of detailing the differences in the ways Natives and European-Americans view the world. The entire volume is best seen as a study in the encounter and clash between cultures. It is an interesting addition to the growing body of literature about America's indigenous peoples, their cultures and their literatures--written and otherwise. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 214 pages - 978-0-520-08007-2
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 214 pages - 978-0-520-91306-6
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