cover image Sovereign Bones: New Native American Writing, Volume II

Sovereign Bones: New Native American Writing, Volume II

, . . Nation, $16.99 (331pp) ISBN 978-1-56858-357-0

Emphasizing strategies for maintaining an indigenous cultural identity within the dominant society's constant assault on tradition and memory, this anthology of contemporary Native American writing is a sequel to 2003's Genocide of the Mind , which emphasized the assimilation of indigenous peoples. In more than 30 autobiographical essays and personal reflections, writers, educators and artists representing a wide variety of tribal affiliations address such battlegrounds as history, poverty, language and image-making in contemporary struggles for indigenous identity and self-representation. The volume also includes a selection of artwork that echoes the ideas advanced by these writers. In a spirit of resolve that Simon J. Ortiz describes as “resistance against disappearance,” the pieces invariably emphasize intergenerational dependence, as in Scott Richard Lyons's charming firsthand appreciation of the life and career of the late Vine Deloria. Also shown is the individual's need to reconfigure tradition within the present, as in Annabel Wong's reflections on photography and self-portraiture or Sherman Alexie's episodic “unauthorized autobiography.” As Alexie notes, “So much has been taken from us that we hold onto the smallest things left with all the strength we have.” And yet, as this illuminating volume amply demonstrates, there remain sovereign worlds to discover, reconfigure and repossess. (Nov.)