When Courage is Like a Wild Horse: The World of an Indian Orphanage

Sharon Skolnick, Author, Manny Skolnick, With University of Nebraska Press $40 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8032-4263-0
In the mid-1950s an Apache family was breaking apart. The Oklahoma child-welfare system saw fit to take the children of Richard and Amelia Lakoe (changed from the inherited family name of Geronimo's compatriot Loco) and make them wards of the state. After enduring a string of cruel and exploitative foster homes, the two youngest daughters landed at the Murrow Indian Orphanage. With the help of her husband, Skolnick remembers her time in this dismal world of orphans, with the element of racism thrown in to augment the heartache. It's a testament to the writing here that in recalling such obdurate conditions, she still manages to create a sweet memoir. The lack of privacy was coupled with ceaseless (at least in the telling it seems so) beatings by fellow orphan girls from other tribes and mistreatment at the hands of whites for being Native American. It's a dark picture that leaves one wondering how the author managed to grow into a successful woman with a family of her own. In an afterward that is simply a quick sketch of her adolescent years the author glosses over many details, ending with, ""But all that really is another story."" And that's too bad, because it would have made for a more satisfying memoir had Skolnick spent time explaining how she managed, with the help of her adoptive family, to leave the painful months at Murrow behind and grow into an accomplished woman and artist. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable read about a miserable year in the life of one little girl. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 148 pages - 978-0-8032-9288-8
Ebook - 159 pages - 978-0-585-28106-3
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