The Singing Spirit: Early Short Stories by North American Indians

Bernd C. Peyer, Editor University of Arizona Press $24.95 (175p) ISBN 978-0-8165-1114-3
In this uneven anthology, the 18 short stories written near the turn of the century ``by Indians and about Indians'' exhibit the influence of oral tradition and are of varying literary quality. Among the most dated is the moralizing ``Nedawi,'' written for a juvenile white audience, with constant reminders to the readers that the Indian girl was ``no more perfect than any little white girl.'' Three emotionally powerful stories deal wth the clash between the two cultures and the inevitable destruction of one of them. Pauline Johnson's somewhat idealized ``A Red Girl's Reasoning'' and ``The Soft-Hearted Sioux,'' by Gertrude Bonnin both illustrate their mixed-blood protagonists' bicultural conflicts. John M. Oskinson's melancholy ``The Problem of Old Harjo'' deals with a white missionary's conversion of an old Indian with two wives who is expected to go against tradition and give up one of them before he can be saved. The brief biographical sketches introducing each writer are often of more interest than the stories. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
Paperback - 175 pages - 978-0-8165-1220-1
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