Kuhtôqatun/Our Story: On Being a Native Writer
Our story breathes within the rocks, trees and hills of New England. It is a living story, told in the colors of blood and sky, earth and sun. It runs through woodlands; swims through rivers, flies to the clouds, touches the boundless starry lights of the celestial ancestors. Our story is ours, and only ours, to write with pen, keyboard, shell, quill, splint, root, bark, twine, paint, song, dance, drum, flute or dream. Our story is a supernova of love and a black hole of despair. It has no beginning and no end. It cannot be lost. If you misplace it, reach out and grab onto Grandmother Moon as she circles Mother Earth, and she will return you to your path.
Autobiography of a Wolf
Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel
Translation by Stephanie Fielding
Nunik muks. I am born a wolf.
My grandmother calls me Morning Star
Because I dance into the dawn
With a smiling false face
That seems to love the morning
When I should prefer the night
Like the other wolf children
Yo kisk wuski kisusq tohkit. One day a new Sun awakens.
I wince at its brightness
Growling with bared teeth
Along with the rest
of the young wolves
Because it challenges
The old familiar sky
Nuwáhtám. I am concerned.
I tell my grandmother
I am afraid our world
Will never be the same
But the elder shrugs and says
Things may turn out fine
We must wait and see
Nupáhô. I wait.
Many moons pass
And my old grandmother
Passes on her final gifts
Including giving me
The new name of Ôsowunáw
Which means the flower on the corn plant
Numisôtam nuwisuwôk wáskák. I consider my new name.
Yet I can only guess at its full meaning
Until I find an old text
That says Ôsowunáw
Is also the word for Change
And I recall my grandmother’s words
On the day that new Sun first appeared
Iyo Nutáputôtam wuci nuwisuwôk. Now, I am thankful for my name.
I raise my arms to the sky and say
Thank you for the things that are forever
Thank you for the things that change
Thank you for the chance to greet each day
Thank you for the strength of our wolf family
Which continues to howl and sing with one voice
Nutáh yumwáyi. My heart is full.
Until another new Sun appears and then another
And the sky becomes crowded
Causing the wolves to growl
And one young wolf tells me
I am afraid our world will never be the same
I am afraid we will lose ourselves
Numako nihtowôk wuci nucáyhs. I offer my elder’s lesson.
Things may turn out fine.
We must wait and see
But the young wolf growls at the bright sky
And others snarl and snap at one another
Until the spirits of the ancestors enter their dreams
To remind them that they have seen all this before
Muks kucáhsháyuwôkun mucimáhtiyá. Our wolf family endures forever.
This piece was written in honor of the 20thanniversary of Mohegan Sun in October, 2016. It is dedicated to the Mohegan Tribe.
The New York Times Can Do Better:
Book Reviews of Native American Literature
In the late twentieth century, The New York Times’s inclusion of book reviews by Vine Deloria, Jr., N Scott Momaday and Leslie Marmon Silko suggested that the paper was moving towards more Native American participation in its literary discussions. Yet during the first decade of the new millennium, the only Native literary works reviewed were those of Sherman Alexie and Louise Erdrich. A look at the paper’s peculiar reviewers and dicey relationship to Native contributors suggests institutional racism and a fear of Native American activism are to blame for this paucity of discussion regarding Native American Literature.
Trouble began brewing on July 4, 1976─America’s bicentennial─when The New York Times published an article by Deloria, titled “A Last Word from the First Americans.” Deloria tells readers that the U.S. Constitution traces its roots to the Iroquois Constitution, that the use of Indian names for sports teams is racist, that the feds’ assault on Wounded Knee is akin to the My Lai massacre, and that America is stolen land (“A Last Word”). This is the last time Deloria’s writing appears in The New York Times. After his banishment, Deloria writes some of his greatest works. Yet, The New York Times ignores them in its book review section.
After his exit, Kiowa-Cherokee novelist N. Scott Momaday continues to write for the paper on various American Indian topics, including literature, until 1997. However, he suffers racialized bylines, unlike his non-Native peers. At the end of two 1967 reviews, The New York Times describes Momaday as “the son of a full-blooded Indian” (“Non-Vanishing Americans” and “Western Odyssey”). Later, his byline acknowledges in a somewhat astonished way that “Mr. Momaday teaches English at the University of California at Santa Barbara,” (“Strange Landscape”). After he wins the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1971, the paper calls him “a Pulitzer-prize winning novelist.” The newspaper thus begins by racializing Momaday’s qualifications and then moving to more academic and laudatory descriptions. This is noteworthy because it doesn’t happen to white writers. In fact, The New York Times often shows no compunction to reveal whether or not the Non-Indians reviewing its books have any academic or other credentials to review anything.
Another insulting strategy employed by The New York Times is their use of a patronizing, colonialist tone regarding Native American writing. Nowhere is this latter problem more evident than in the newspaper’s choice of Ursula Kroeber Le Guin to review Paula Gunn Allen’s masterwork, Spider Woman’s Granddaughters in 1989. While Le Guin is a famous author in literary circles, her family name of Kroeber is equally infamous in Indian Country. In the early twentieth century, Le Guin’s father, famed anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, travelled around the country showcasing a Yahi Indian known as Ishi. Called the “last of his tribe,” Ishi became a side show for American genocide. Le Guin’s background, as Kroeber’s daughter, imbues her review of Gunn Allen’s book with a grotesquely inappropriate ethnographic feel. She even uses Kroeber-esque phrases, such as “Native American esthetic principle,” “use of the war-warrior metaphor,” and “honoring the propriety of kinship” (“Above All”).
Yet, Le Guin is not a unique offender. Colonialist anthropological language about Indians and Indian books has long been rampant in The New York Times, especially in the late twentieth century. Take the patronizing title of Dinitia Smith’s 1997 piece on the state of American Indian Literature, “The Indian in Literature is Growing Up.” Unbelievably, even that abominable language is a step up from Edward Abbey’s 1969 review of Vine Deloria’s Custer Died for Your Sins, in which he says, “Even our Indians our turning against us now” (“Americans Should”). The paper lets it all hang out with Christopher Lehmann-Haupt’s 1971 review of The Memoirs of Chief Red Fox which starts with the garish words, “Oh yes. The American Indian. Ho Hum. Our guilt boxes are so full these days that there is hardly room for the biggest load…” (“A Red Fox”).
Such open denigration of Indians lingers throughout most of the twentieth century. And times have not changed all that much. In 2011, I asked Joyce Carol Oates to share her views on Sherman Alexie and Native American Literature, generally, and she wrote, “I don’t differentiate that much between types / categories of writers” (Oates “Message” 1). I received similarly dismissive feedback from Dinitia Smith, a one-time regular reviewer for The New York Times, who has also written articles on Native American Literature. “I tend not to review novelists as ‘Native American’ or ‘Italian American’ or ‘African-American.’ The story of assimilation, cultural dichotomy, is certainly common to all groups in the society” (Smith “Message” 1).
Unlike our better-informed colonial cousins in Canada and Australia who recognize the uniqueness of their indigenous population, American literary elites tend to view the Natives of their own land as no different from immigrant Americans. The New York Times’s book reviews reflect this attitude, neglecting the unique influences of colonial subjugation and indigeneity on Native American writing. Consequently, they often disregard many good Native American novels.
The best reviews of Native Literature by The New York Times’s critics come from Michiko Kakutani, who has reviewed the most American Indian books of any reviewer. Kakutani ranks as a superstar among literary reviewers and has clearly made an effort to understand Native American Literature. Since the 1980’s, Kakutani has reviewed eight books by Louise Erdrich for The New York Times, half of them between 2000-2010: The Master Butcher’s Singing Club, The Plague of Doves, Four Souls and The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse. One can clearly see that Kakutani’s familiarity with this genre has bred wisdom. Her reviews are concise and pointed, zeroing in on many of the same issues highlighted by scholars of Native American Literature.
In Kakutani’s 2001 review of The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse, she frequently mentions Erdrich’s references to the loss of Ojibwe land, an issue overlooked by many mainstream reviewers because of its prickly, activist overtones. Kakautani hits this topic hard and fast three times. “the Little No Horse Reservation…a place where time-honored traditions are dying, land is being stolen by greedy outsiders,” “the enigmatic Fleur, who abandons her daughter to avenge herself on the man who cheated herself out of her land,” “There is the story of the boy who used his penmanship to avenge the loss of his family’s land” (“Saintliness”).
Contrarily, Verlyn Klinkenborg’s 2001 New York Times review of the same book fully misses the mark. According to the paper’s own description, Klinkenborg is a writer on “agriculture, the environment and culture.” Given that description, one would think that he, too, might at least focus on the land. However, Kinkenborg misses this central Native American theme. Titling his piece “Woman of the Cloth,” he emphasizes the fact that the main character disguises herself as a male priest. By zooming in on this issue, he hurtles over the central point of the story, that the land is all that matters. He also misinterprets the author’s Christian metaphors. Even when she writes of priests and nuns, Erdrich wraps them in a Native American cocoon out of which they emerge, not as angels, but as sacred eagles with Ojibwe wings.
Karen Joy Fowler’s review of Erdrich’s book Four Souls feigns objectivity and insight by concentrating on the author’s glittering prose. “This shifting of voices and stories, ranging back and forth in time and place, may sound dauntingly complicated; luckily, it doesn't read that way. In fact, the progression of events feels natural and unforced, full of satisfying yet unexpected twists. The book begins with clean, spare prose, but finishes in gorgeous incantation and poetry” (Fowler). Fowler only makes passing reference to the novel’s land resistance themes, by way of a quote, which is not fleshed out with explanation. “‘Now we are different. We print ourselves deeply on the earth. We build roads…where we go it is easy to follow. I have left my own tracks, too. I have left behind these words. But even as I write them down I know they are merely footsteps in snow”’ (Fowler). This featherlike allusion is so delicate that most readers surely miss it. Yet Erdrich says so much in this passage, about Native American writing, about the land, about change, about humanity, that it would have been better for Fowler to have begun her review with this quote and elaborate on its enormous meaning, rather than leave it dangling, midway and unattended.
Michiko Kakutani and Karen Joy Fowler’s very different reviews of Four Souls appear in The New York Times two days apart. This seems odd, until you examine the contents of the two reviews and find they aim at two different audiences. Fowler’s words read like an upscale book report in which the reader learns key snippets of the storyline and its general tone, whereas Kakutani’s review represents a true literary critique. In all fairness however, Fowler says that she did not pick this book herself; it was picked for her, which she claims is typical for The New York Times (Fowler “Message” 1). Contrarily, Kakutani’s strength as a veteran Erdrich aficionado yields a much more sophisticated, albeit negative, review of this same book. Keenly outmatching Fowler, she catches the well-wrought connection between the character, Fleur, and her land, even remarking on its echoes of Erdrich’s earlier novel, Tracks. On the flip side, she also finds this story a bit too “melodramatic” and “predictable” (“A Mystic”). Kakutani thus makes a viable literary assessment based on her informed and ever-growing understanding of Native American Literature.
Michiko Kakutani’s review of The Plague of Doves in 2008 appears to have benefitted from the time she spent writing on Four Souls in 2004 and The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse in 2001. This last review suggests an even deeper appreciation of the Native American worldview. Hear Kakutani’s indigenized language regarding land and resistance, as well as her shift in focus, as she reviews this more recent book: “Eveline Harp realizes that the loss of their land was lodged inside them forever (“Unearthing”).”’ Better still, Kakutani expresses the circular, multigenerational, timeless quality of Erdrich’s work, calling it “an elliptical jigsaw puzzle of a narrative that italicizes the hold that time past exerts over time present, and the startling changes that have swept through the reservation and the small towns nearby in the space of a couple of generations” (“Unearthing”). Given the complexity of Native American Literature, it is not surprising that Kakutani’s years of quality time spent with Erdrich’s work prompted her to fairly judge this later book “her most deeply affecting work yet” (“Unearthing”).
The New York Times’s second review of The Plague of Doves was written by Bruce Barcott. He is the only New York Times reviewer credited with reviewing more than one Native American author in the first decade of the twenty first century, having reviewed books by both Erdrich and Alexie. He is, by trade, a non-fiction writer on the environment who has worked with Native Americans on environmental issues, related to artifact poaching and animal protection. I could find nothing to indicate that he has any background in Native American Literature. Still, Barcott does a respectable job reviewing both Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. His time spent working with Native Americans explains why he appears comfortable with the darkly comic tone of Native thought and humor. He says of the characters in the novel, “These folks don’t need closets to hold their skeletons, they need storage units.” (“Rough Justice”).
It is fortunate that the paper chose Barcott to review Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Tale of a Part-Time Indian, as that story contains a Mayflower-boatload of dark Indian humor. While Erdrich focuses on the connection between Indian women and the land, this book, like most by Alexie, touts contemporary Native American male loners making light of the societal darkness cloaking their world. This is not to say that the common Native American themes of land and timelessness are not powerfully evident in Alexie’s work, but he addresses dire social issues in round-about, funny ways, designed to shake us lose from our daily oblivion. Particularly, Barcott zeros in on the one line in the book─spoken by main character Arnold Spirit─a line that makes many Indians nod and smile, “I’m fourteen years old, and I’ve been to 42 funerals. . .that’s really the biggest difference between Indian and white people” (“Off the Rez”). Barcott also selects passages that show the cringing guts of Alexie’s character, such as “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods…and my cartoons are little lifeboats” (“Off the Rez”).
Certainly Barcott’s review is well done. But The Absolutely True Tale of a Part-Time Indian is one of the greatest young adult novels ever written. It won the National Book Award and yet it merits only one review in The New York Times. Shortly after the review, the Times did publish a quasi-interview with Alexie, in which he offers the interviewer a gorgeous turquoise gem, saying “We all know the Indians were colonized by the Europeans . . . but every colonized Indian has been colonized by the Indian reaction to colonization (“In His Own”). At last, the all-important “c” word emerges. Alexie hand-carries it to his interviewer with his usual snark, offering up the silver key to understanding Native American literature, and the reviewer drops the ball.
Such a missed opportunity. Colonialism is a dicey subject, and Alexie’s tendency to attack the issue head-on may explain why his books receive fewer reviews than those of Erdrich. Alexie stomps on the maintream’s colonized views of the American Indian, while Erdrich floats above them. To Non-Indians, her words feel safer, more surreal, less in-your-face, less fisticuffs.
In this book and many others, Alexie harps on the fact that there is nothing romantic about being a modern-day Indian. In the first short story in his book Ten Little Indians, titled “The Search Engine,” the main character, Corliss, says, “White people, no matter how smart, were too romantic about Indians. White people looked at the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the full moon, newborn babies, and Indians with the same goofy sentimentalism” (“Ten Little” 11). Alexie thus fights romantic Injun hogwash with every keystroke.
Ten Little Indians is a collection of short stories by Alexie, which is twice reviewed in The New York Times. Anthology reviews, like these, offer us the opportunity to see what sorts of stories the reviewers like and which they ignore. Reviewer Eric Weinberger storms in with an obvious agenda, claiming that Indians are only hyphenated Americans and therefore deserve no special consideration outside that of their immigrant peers, à la Smith and Oates. He emphasizes that this is not “just an Indian book,” as if that might be somehow bad. He further says, “The most successful stories in ‘Ten Little Indians’ do not traffic in their Indianness.” (Can’t you just hear Joyce Carol Oates and Karen Joy Fowler cheering wildly in the background?) He even goes so far as to state that the less Indian the content of the story, the better it is, i.e. the stories where “the Indian seems merely incidental, in other words, not integral.” Here, Weinberger takes genocide to a whole new level. Let this Indian write, but make sure he covers topics that have nothing to do with Indians! Uglier still, Weinberger writes this article for a recurring book column in the Times labeled with the stereotypical nickname “Off the Reservation” (also known variously in other issues as “Off the Res” and “Off the Rez”).
In The New York Times’s review of the same book a few weeks earlier, Janet Maslin, a one-time math major turned critic, cites both the Non-Indian and Indian-focused pieces in Ten Little Indians as equally funny and darkly ironic (“Where”). Nice, but Ten Little Indians has a much bigger point to make, beyond simple, dark irony, and transcending what Weinberger views as the low-brow monikor of “Indian book.”
Maslin and Weinberger both miss the central point of the whole anthology. This book is a commentary on the urban Indian. Native Literature scholar Jennifer K. Ladino emphasizes the importance of this collection in the exploration of the identity of that complex group. Urban Indians are a tricky subject and one that Weinberger and Maslin might have at least mentioned, had they any knowledge of Indian Country. Ladino further explains that Ten Little Indians also highlights an epiphanic moment in Alexie’s writing career. The stories in this collection suggest that, in a post 9/11 world, all tribally-minded people must carefully examine their parochial behavior, i.e. if you consider only your own tribe, you may become an enemy of humanity (Ladino 36-38). She also says that this shift resulted from Alexie’s visceral reaction to 9/11 as, problematically, “the end game of tribalism (Ladino 38).”
The fact that Weinberger misses this book’s story that exudes post-9/11 philosophy is particularly funny, because he comes so close to catching it, beginning his review by noting 9/11 references in the stories “Flight Patterns” and “Can I get a Witness?” Plus, Alexie presents him with a thick trail of breadcrumbs in his very first story, “The Search Engine,” by talking the reader through the conflicted thoughts of a young American Indian woman’s journey through post 9/11 urbanity. Yet Weinberger probably blows off this tale because it contains too much Indian theming. Ten Little Indians is a clever and thematically holistic story collection, yet neither of its two New York Times reviewers catches its meaning. Weinberger calls the collection one of “middling tales lacking, again, a theme” (“Off the Reservation”). Here again, if one does not bother to learn anything about a culture, one naturally misses its themes, and one should therefore not write reviews about its literature.
In general, The New York Times’s reviewers tend to review fondly Alexie’s stories containing young protagonists, probably because the complex Native American political themes are more subdued. For instance, Tom Barbash and S. Kirk Walsh (both lacking any particular qualifications to review Native American Literature) reviewed his novel, Flight positively. The story’s main character, named Zits, is a teen psycho who speaks with a turbulent young adult, first person, voice. Through this unappealing hero, Alexie successfully knocks the American Indian romanticism he so loathes right in the teeth. Oddly, that is not what the reviewers notice. They focus instead on the book’s razzle dazzle violence and miss the big reveal. As is typical of Alexie’s complex post-9/11 stories, the plot is going somewhere huge. In this case, the main character is not merely a disgruntled American teen; he is America itself. Barbash almost catches this when he says “Zits is by turns a hero, a coward, a killer, an adulterer─and always a boy I search of his father” (“Native Son”). Here again, we see the anguish of America seeking its tangled roots. Walsh comes close to seeing the story’s red white and blue focus, when he points out its less-than-subtle homage to the great American novel, Moby Dick, in its opening line “Call me Zits.” Yet, that is as far as he goes.
No reviewers from the paper mention this Americanness in Alexie’s stories. Yet they do reference the obvious Americanism of Louise Erdrich’s writing. The New York Times reviewer Liesl Schillinger titled her piece on Erdrich’s short story collection, The Red Convertible, “All American,” saying “Americanness needs no apology. It’s the strength of our letters. And few of our contemporary writers exemplify its adaptive vitality better than Louise Erdrich, herself descended from the first Americans” (“All”).
Erdrich also calls on her “All American” label in the book Shadow Tag, naming her Native main character “Irene America.” With this ostentatious ploy, she alludes to the notion of Indians as the progenitors of American Literature, rather than its shadowy stepchildren −an interesting idea, boldly toyed with by Schillinger. To give Shadow Tag its due thus requires serious consideration of its Americanness.
The New York Times review of Shadow Tag, written by Ben Markovits, misses the star- spangled focus entirely. When asked how he chose to review Erdrich, Markovits replied, “I had never read her work before . . . but to prepare for the review I read a few of her other books” (Markovits “Message” 1). Not good enough. It takes time for the colonized mind to cultivate a sensibility for Native American Literature, and Markovits clearly fails to do so. He states that, “Assimilation, in its liveliest form, is the subject of her fiction” (“The Painted Drum”). That statement is at best misleading. Like most American Indian writers, Erdrich’s writing belies the myth of Native American assimilation. That is one of the main reasons why she writes! In an NPR interview on The Painted Drum, she says of the book’s main character, “Faye considers herself perfectly assimilated into ‘white culture.’ But when Faye hears the quiet beatings of the drum, her desire to reconnect with her own Indian heritage awakens.” Listen to the author. Erdrich writes about those who resist assimilation.
In The Master Butcher’s Singing Club, Erdrich returns to this whole notion of Americanness and resisting assimilation, by writing about German immigrants, a people who are also a part of her heritage. At first, this book appears to be a deviation from her usual, Native-themed writing, a jarring break from the accustomed characters of her Ojibwe pantheon. But if one remembers that the essence of Native American Literature is the land, one realizes she has not strayed at all. Erdrich stays put regionally, even though this tale features people from across the sea. She looks again at the land and “returns …once more to the now familiar question of just what happens when Native American and European cultures share the same desolate desperate place (Gephart 67). In this truly American exploration, Erdrich thoroughly considers the new sojourners on her Native land, and the story of their journey to that place. She shows how the land-based perspective of Native American Literature can also be important to non-Native Americans who love and inhabit the same space.
Brooke Allen’s New York Times book review considers this book with upfront ideological distaste, saying, “because her celebration of the indigenous and the feminine has coincided with a surge of popular approval for these qualities, she has enjoyed a degree of adulation that her talents may not warrant.”
My, my my. One could guess there’s some personal vitriol here. But there’s no need to guess. In an interview Allen boasts, “I got a PhD in English at Columbia University in the 1980s, and was appalled at the sort of mind control efforts that went on there. My major interests were not in the "race-class-gender" area that monopolized debate, and having lived in Africa for some time I was very conscious of the speciousness of so-called "post-colonial" studies”(Allen “Interview”1). The fact that Erdrich writes post-colonial, feminist books thus means that her writing never stood a chance with Allen. Like Markovits, Barbash, Walsh, Klinkenborg, Weinberger and Fowler, Allen grazes the surface but misses the author’s intent, which in this case is focusing on a Non-Indian group within the same region as her other novels, thus enriching the readership with a broader perspective on a particular place. Instead, she sees the strong suit of this book as offering city folks a glimpse of the countryside, like some cheesy travelogue, thus damning Erdrich with faint praise. “Part of her success is due to her ability, over the course of the years, to bring a little-known part of the country redolently to life....The result is a vivid glimpse of a way of life that is alien to many urban dwellers yet familiar in odd particulars” (“Her Own Private North Dakota”).
How did The New York Times book reviews of Native American literature get so off-track?
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (Crow Creek Sioux) suggests that the introduction of post-colonial methodologies in the late twentieth century prompted fear and loathing of Native American writing among some mainstream intellectuals, like Allen. The decision of The New York Times to review only ten Native American books in the last decade suggests that Cook-Lynn may be right. Never mind that those reviewers are by and large unqualified to review Native American Literature.
While it is true that Michiko Kakutani and Bruce Barcott present admirable reviews, the majority of New York Times reviewers miss far too much in their assigned material. Readers of The New York Times Book Review missed hearing about Sherman Alexie’s post-9/11, transition to a broader trans-tribal perspective, or his cutting edge portrayal of urban Indians in Ten Little Indians. Neither did they hear about the broad Americanism and anti-assimilationist message of Erdrich’s Shadow Tag. More important, they did not receive informed, unbiased reviews.
This twisted void is unnecessary. Native American Literature may be complex but it is not unfathomable. The New York Times needs to exercise more discretion in selecting competent reviewers for works of Native American Literature. If reviewers present reasonable, knowledgeable critiques of Native American Literature, its hard-to-grasp themes will slip more comfortably into the mainstream knowledge base, and there will be more well-reviewed indigenous literature for people to appreciate. The unacceptable alternative is to place an invisibility cloak over America’s indigenous people, thus further edging them toward oblivion.
As a Mohegan Indian from the misnamed, misplaced, now-thriving tribe that James Fenimore Cooper famously exterminated in his fictional The Last of the Mohicans, I know all too well that the myth of Native American extinction. If The New York Times chooses to review hardly any Native American books and, worse, does a poor job with those few reviews, they are contributing to American Indian genocide. The New York Times can and should do better.
Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. New York: Little, Brown Books, 2007. Print.
---. Flight. New York: Grove Press, 2007. Print.
---. Ten Little Indians. New York: Grove Press, 2004. Print.
---. The Toughest Indian in the World. New York: Grove Press, 2000. Print.
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---“Rough Justice.” The New York Times 11 May 2008. Web. 7 Jan. 2011.
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---“Bootleggers, Kneewalkers and Acrobatic Dolls.” The New York Times 1 June 1986. Web. 15 Jan.2011.
--- Four Souls. New York: Harper Collins, 2005. Print.
--- “Gypsies of the World.” The New York Times 25 Dec 1988. Web. 15 Jan. 2011.
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Mohegan Medicine Woman Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel / Ôsowunáw was trained by her predecessor, Mohegan Medicine Woman Gladys Tantaquidgeon and Chief Harold Tantaquidgeon. She grew up giving tours of Tantaquidgeon Museum on Mohegan Hill. Her outside education includes a B.S.F.S from Georgetown in History/Diplomacy, an M.A. from the University of Connecticut in History, and an M.F.A. from Fairfield University in Creative Writing. Her book publications include Wabanaki Blues (Poisoned Pen Press, 2015), Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon (University of Arizona Press, 2000) and Oracles: A Novel (University of New Mexico Press, 2004). She has worked for the Mohegan Tribe in the areas of tribal history and culture for twenty-five years. Melissa is married to her high school sweetheart, Randy Zobel, and has three adult offspring—Rachel, Madeline and David Sayet.