March 26, 2007

New codetalker novel

Author says code talkers a `great irony' of American historyIn his young-adult novel, Bruchac, who will speak about his work Tuesday at the Air Zoo and the Kalamazoo Public Library, tells the fictional story of 16-year-old Native American Ned Begay. Caught in a nonfictional crossfire of words, during a time when thousands of Native American children were stripped of their language and forced to speak English, Ned later uses these banned words to help create a unique and indecipherable code for transmitting and receiving military messages.The biggest writing challenge:Bruchac said the Native American response to the book has been extremely positive because it tells the story from a Native point of view “and shows our culture and traditions can play a role in the modern world and don't have to be left behind.”

The biggest challenge for Bruchac was keeping the “voice” of his novel's characters true to themselves.

“To write it from a Navajo perspective when I'm not a Navajo was a big risk,” he said. “Fortunately, many Navajo people who read the book prior to publication said they thought I had the voice right and that I told the story respectfully. ...

“People often write about others without really knowing them. They base everything on their own imaginations and presumptions. That's why it's so important to me that I stay as true as possible to whatever culture I'm writing about.”

4 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Sorry, Mr. Gumby, but Joseph Bruchac claims to be Mohawk and he resembles about as much Mohawk as does writerfella's Siamese cat, DeeDee. writerfella met Bruchac in 1990 at the first Red Earth Writers Conference held at Oklahoma University. And Bruchac was whiter than 3o0's Xerxes: balding but clothed in Mexican shawls. Therefore, Bruchac's claim to be Native is even less than would be Rob Schmidt's. writerfella believes that, when Rob Schmidt eventually meets Bruchac, he will find that they almost are mirror-images of each other. What will they say when they make such an acquaintance? Hello, brother, where have you been? We may or may not hear of such a meeting...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I'll let you know if I ever meet Bruchac. If I do, I'll note--as the tribes themselves do--that being Indian is a political trait, not a racial one. If a tribe chooses to acknowledge someone who has more white than Indian blood, it's the tribe's decision.

Really, Russ, it's funny watching you dance around the question of who's an Indian. Apparently your standard goes no deeper than "If he looks like one, he is one." You must love Iron Eyes Cody, since he looks more Indian than Bruchac.

So when a child is born with only 1/8th or 1/16th or 1/32nd Indian blood and no longer looks like an Indian, he isn't one, according to you. The same applies to John Herrington, as you told us yourself. Of course, this doesn't explain why you dissed Arigon Starr, who looks as Indian as you do, but you're not known for your consistency.

Anyway, since you can't define the dividing line, I've helped you narrow it down. Clearly it's somewhere in this vicinity. Maybe a 1/8th baby is Indian but a 1/16th isn't, or a 1/16th baby is but a 1/32nd isn't.

No need to thank me for my assistance. I provide it to anyone who can't articulate his views. Let me know if there are any other Indian matters I can help you with.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Now writerfella understands! Rob Schmidt truly believes that Native American existence today is political and not actual! A Laotian could claim to be Native American, and Rob would autograph his fake CDIB card. A Harbin person could claim to be Aleutian, and Rob would teach him the secret Native handshake. Then Rob would search for the South Orkney Islands and pronounce thusly, "Domini, Domini, Domini. You're all Catholics now!"
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

It's difficult to distinguish your "understanding" from your ignorance. If someone claims to be Indian, I weight the facts and evidence of his case. If he has a legitimate CDIB, he's an Indian by definition. Although you clearly can't address the issue, every tribe recognizes him as such. If he has a fake CDIB, I don't give him any more credence than you do.

Really, do you have the slightest clue where I stand on people like Ward Churchill or David Yeagley? Do you like my pointing out how ignorant you are of my views? Because I can keep doing it all day long.

In short, if you're too dense to understand my position, just let me know. I'll try to explain it in baby words that even a kindergartner could grasp.