Evolving from an earlier volume of Native American writing, Genocide of the Mind, which documented the assimilation of indigenous people into broader American culture, Sovereign Bones explores how these same groups have nonetheless managed to retain their identities. 

 

Edited by the award-winning author Eric Gansworth, Sovereign Bones focuses on the key role that writers and artists have placed in the struggle of native peoples to hold onto their identities. Through personal essays, memoir, and historical reflections, contributors explore their arrival at their work, revealing their own resilience in the face of assimilation. 

 

Contributors include Sherman Alexie, Heid Erdrich, Louise Erdrich, Gary Farmer, Diane Glancy, Joy Harjo, Allison Hedge Coke, Richard Hill Sr., Maurice Kenny, Scott Lyons, John Mohawk, MariJo Moore, Simon J. Ortiz, Susan Power, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Ted C. Williams.

Reviews:

Publishers Weekly

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.

 

Leap in the Dark: 

Click here to read the review

All Content (C) Eric Gansworth