February 15, 2008

The other Erdrichs

Erdrich sisters:  They're authors, Indians and 'real people living in a complex world'Lise Erdrich and her sister, Heid Erdrich, are authors of fiction and poetry, known for their humor as well as their prose. They are the sisters of Louise Erdrich, author of "Love Medicine," "The Antelope Wife" and others.

Heid and Lise were scheduled to speak this week at the University of Minnesota Duluth as part of the university's "American Indians in Minnesota: Personal Histories" series. The event, held as part of the University of Minnesota's celebration of the state's sesquicentennial, is meant to honor Minnesota's American Indian heritage.

Lise, 49, and Heid, 44, are members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, but they didn't grow up on the north-central North Dakota reservation.
Writers get stereotyped too:The sisters balk at the notion they are representative of the American Indian voice.

"Not that I would ever say I'm not Indian . . . I would say 'OK, I represent the American Indian-off-reservation- mixed-blood-half-German-grew-up-in-North-Dakota-got- educated-elsewhere-Indian voice,' " Heid said. "I don't mind being categorized as an Ojibwe writer. What I don't like is when . . . people come and expect us to be in cultural dress or tell traditional stories. We're real people today living in a complex world."
Comment:  For more on the subject of Native authors, see The Best Indian Books.

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