Dreaming the Dawn: Conversations with Native Artists and Activists

Dreaming the Dawn: Conversations with Native Artists and Activists

Dreaming the Dawn: Conversations with Native Artists and Activists

Dreaming the Dawn: Conversations with Native Artists and Activists

Synopsis

Fresh, informative, and provocative, this collection of interviews showcases twelve leading Native artists and activists who have challenged and helped reshape prevailing expectations about Native cultures and identities during the late twentieth century: writers Sherman Alexie and James Welch, singer-songwriter and educator Buffy Sainte-Marie, poet Elizabeth Woody, activist and AIM member Dino Butler, musician and activist John Trudell, writer and activist Winona LaDuke, actor and musician Litefoot, the late aids activist Bonnie Blackwolf, and visual artists Rick Bartow, Jesse Hummingbird, and Norman Guardipee. Engaging in their own right and offering substantive insights into individual careers and personalities, these interviews also explore a number of significant and often controversial intellectual, cultural, and political issues affecting Native peoples today. Among the topics discussed are the effects of the New Age movement and other forms of cultural appropriation, current conflicts and disagreements within Native communities, connections to the environment, alcohol and drug addiction, the American Indian Movement, the blood-quantum debate, religious freedom, the value of elders, and obligations to past cultural traditions.

Excerpt

The interviews included here reflect the thoughts and feelings of real native people. There has been and continues to be a romanticization or maligning of who and what the indigenous people of this continent represent. This book doesn’t use the “dog and pony show” concept of keeping people’s attention with tricks of entertainment and illusions of pseudospirituality. The people in this book are real people, living real lives and dealing with the ongoing struggle of being indigenous people in a land that has been overrun with a dominant values system that affects indigenous people as well as whites. The people represented here have come to terms with certain things within themselves, and their words have brought their own kind of understanding to many who have previously read these interviews when they appeared between 1993 and 1997 in News from Indian Country: The Nation’s Native Journal, published in Hayward, Wisconsin. Versions of many of these interviews also were published during the same time period in Inkfish Magazine on the Oregon coast.

I would like to thank all those represented in these pages for taking the time to talk with me and for trusting that their words would be presented as accurately as possible. It has been an honor to do this work.

E. K. Caldwell June 1997 . . .

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