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American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings
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American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  193 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Zitkala-Sa wrestled with the conflicting influences of American Indian and white culture throughout her life. Raised on a Sioux reservation, she was educated at boarding schools that enforced assimilation and was witness to major events in white-Indian relations in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Tapping her troubled personal history, Zitkala-Sa created stories that illumi ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published February 25th 2003 by Penguin Classics
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Zitkala-Sa knows (knew if you really want to get literal) what she's doin'. The first trickster book I picked up was rather stark, and unloving in storytelling. If anything, it was jammed with information, narrative seemed to be going extinct (like Doritos seem to be on a Friday night).

I started with hair of all things. It's something I have been feeling guilty about, and what is left is just a symbol of an antagonistic rebellion (long story). But instead of death "taking" her hair, it was a pi
I found the selections of stories and essays and poems from Zitkala-Sa to be very interesting and informative. Her ideas on her own culture and how it can adapt to the white culture without need of violence or brute aggression I think is also well worth noting, as education is the key to everything. The folklore stories were interesting because it seemed like they were parter of a larger story (and most likely are), without having to directly reference to such an idea, and like many stories of i ...more
I feel deeply ambivalent about this book, and with good reason. My facility with indigenous worldview is what I perceive to be "highly lacking". My experience with indigenous story, methodology and decolonization practice comes to me entirely second-hand through my partner (who, himself, does not claim facility - in spite of working in the area for the past five years.) The reason for this is simple - we are white colonials and will never fully understand the violence that continues to occur to ...more
While the first two sections of legends and fictional stories were fascinating, the editorials, articles, and speeches which comprised the second half of the book became redundant and dry very quickly.
I love Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Bonin). She writes simply, but with deep meaning, the sort of stories you find more in each time you read them. She is a contradictory person, one whom many Natives place on the wrong side of various political issues, yet I think her heart was always in the right place. Her trilogy (Impressions of an Indian Childhood, The School Days of an Indian Girl and An Indian Teacher Among Indians) present a close look at Indian Boarding Schools and the push towards assimilation ...more
Oct 31, 2007 Wildflower_girl rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Native American writing
I found this book whilst perusing the shelves in a college textbook shop. (I do that a lot... looking for interesting books even if I'm not taking the class.) It is a combination of some folk-tales and also a "fictional" (though really autobiographical) story of Zitkala-Sa's experiences as a a First Nations person who is forced into typical "american" education. Very cool book... read it.
In some ways, the best writer I've ever read. Zitkala-Sa voices skepticism for the "white man's education" (literacy, epistemology). She navigates between two cultures, ultimately finding herself "a cold bare pole...planted in a strange earth"--uprooted from her culture. She questions whether this strange earth--"this semblance of civilization"-- brings everlasting life or death.
Erin Rother
So pleased to have discovered her writing and can't help wishing I had read "Impressions of an Indian Childhood" and "The School Days of an Indian Girl" when I was eleven or so and immersed in Laura Ingalls Wilder--a different (for me) perspective on a young woman's coming of age in 19th Century Western America.
Well written stories and legends, the poetry was not my thing but it seemed well done too. The narratives were interesting looks into the native american culture specifically the dakota tribes and also a good representation of the assimilation process and its wrongs as well.
Rachel Lewis
I adore Zitkala-Sa. Absolutely and completely. The honesty in this book is baffling, as she does not hide anger or hatred. The prose is beautiful, and the organization of the book (a mixture of legend and life stories) makes for a unique read. Definitely pick this one up.
A great historical document on early American/Indian relations, especially our attempts to "americanize" them by ripping them from their homes as children. I read this to research a story I'm writing. Very interesting.
this book might be best appreciated for the essays on native conflicts with the u.s. government. i was a little disappointed with her re-telling of native american legends and myths.
American Indian Stories gives very nice perspective to the realist/naturalist genre. Very good read. The more you put in the more you get out.
very insightful into the westernisation of the native american told from a native's point of view.
I loved these stories of American Indian lore.
I think of her words so often.
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Zitkala-Ša (Dakota: pronounced zitkála-ša, which translates to "Red Bird") also known by the missionary-given name Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a Sioux writer, editor, musician, teacher and political activist. She wrote several works chronicling her struggles in her youth as she was pulled back and forth between the influences of dominant American culture and her own Native American heritage, as w ...more
More about Zitkala-Ša...
American Indian Stories Impressions of an Indian Childhood Old Indian Legends The School Days of an Indian Girl Dance in a Buffalo Skull

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