July 06, 2008

Custer & His Naked Ladies

Oklahoma is setting for trilogy's ending"Custer & His Naked Ladies" (iUniverse, $15.95), a novel by Janelle Meraz Hooper, is the third book of what she calls her "Turtle Trilogy."

The heroine, Glory, is a marine biologist who has been abandoned by her husband in Washington state. Her biological clock is beating to the sound of an American Indian powwow drum when she returns to her roots near Lawton to discover who she is and to be near her sisters.

In Oklahoma, she finds her tribe in turmoil. Mobsters are attempting to acquire her mother's land for a casino. Glory meets a sexy Comanche lawyer, Soap, who is running for tribal administrator.

The family of sisters gathers to attend a Comanche Nation election and to decide the fate of a proposed Indian casino. All the while, they are worrying about rescuing a missionary cousin who is kidnapped in Mexico.
Comment:  You can find readers' reviews of Custer & His Naked Ladies on Hooper's website.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
When was this written? Weird, as whomever is Janelle Meraz Hooper, a few phone calls could have clarified her story. The Comanches have three casinoes and are building a fourth. All are on tribal lands, not on land owned by any one individual. The Comanches have a Tribal Chairman and tribal councilmen. There only would be a tribal administrator if there was a council dispute that deadlocked their votes and/or powers. Such fact-checking only would have streamlined her fiction, not changing it or making it untenable. But then again, some people never get over term papers in high school or college...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

Can't you ever look something up? ;-)

The Oklahoman wouldn't have posted a review if Custer & His Naked Ladies were old. A glance at Amazon.com reveals that the book was published in Oct. 2007.

I agree that some aspects of the book sound fishy. I didn't say anything about them because the review was too fragmentary to be sure.

Don't the Comanches have a lot of allotted land? Perhaps one privately owned parcel is ideal for a casino, so the tribe wants to buy it and take it into trust.

P.S. You spelled "casinos" wrong. Again.

Rob said...

Gee, I didn't know you were a critic, Russ. If you keep this up, you'll put me out of work. ;-)

Let's see: Your mini-review violates your claim that one should never review something without seeing or reading it first. It also violates your claim that only sales matter. And your related claim that accuracy doesn't matter. That creators can say and do whatever they want in fiction and we shouldn't judge them for it.

What a surprise. When someone falsifies the facts in your neck of the woods, you take umbrage. But when someone falsifies the Maya or Anasazi or Amazon Indian culture, you don't care. Then the only thing that matters is how financially rewarding the fakery is.

In short, I guess you were wrong all those times you said criticism was pointless and a waste of time. From now on, whenever you criticize something, I think I'll point out what a hypocrite you are. Unless you're planning to renounce your previous position, that is.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
The Wichita, Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache reservation in SW Oklahoma Territory and a large portion of NW Texas covered more than 12 million acres. When it was broken up by the Dawes Act in 1901, each WKCA adult man received a 160-acre allotment, each WKCA adult woman received an 80-acre allotment, and male children above the age of 15 also received 80 acres. After such allotments, over 8 million acres remained as 'unassigned lands' that then were opened for settlement by non-Natives. Lands along the Red River and in the riverbed itself were held in reserve for the WKCA tribes. Over time, both the Kiowa and Comanche tribes acquired lands by purchase from tribal members and non-Natives and even from SW Oklahoma communities. Such lands, therefore, became the sites for casinoes and so they remain now. For a period between 1960 and 1996, tribes could claim allotment parcels that had so many heirs attached that per capita yearly income became less than $1.00, but the practice was ended by the BIA and all such lands were returned to their original heirs.
writerfella's point is multiple: asking when the work was written compounds the impact of his statements; if it was recent, then the writer did little homework; if it was older, then the facts as they are had not occurred. He could have looked it up but the questions then could not have been asked. And where's the fun in that? Like spelling casinoes or Barak correctly?
Clarification and accuracy are not one and the same quantities. In ANASAZI The Screenplay, Nathan Bighawk never would have had an Anasazi medicine cane, IF THE CANES DID NOT EXIST IN REALITY. Nathan Bighawk is fictional and so that he has such a cane is fictional, but the canes exist. That is clarification for fictional purposes, not for purposes of accuracy. For purposes of accuracy, a police lieutenant in a story might explain the theories of combustion and ballistics about his 9MM pistol, but instead he just shoots the thing. Explication is for purposes of accuracy, not clarification. And writerfella critiqued the story premise but did not subject the novel to critical scrutiny. writerfella critiques but knows far better than ever to consider himself or to self-appoint same as a 'critic.' That way lies madness...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

The author's first name is Janelle, so you may presume she's a "she," not a "he." Duh.

I didn't question your wish to know when the book was published. I questioned your inability to look up the answer yourself.

Clarity and accuracy aren't the same thing, but your criticisms ("the Comanches have three casinos," "all are on tribal lands," etc.) relate to accuracy, not clarity. You're not saying Hooper has the facts correct but has expressed them unclearly. You're challenging the correctness of her facts.

As for your rationale for criticizing--"the writer did little homework" or "the facts as they are had not occurred"--that's hilarious considering your past statements on historical accuracy. For instance, you wrote:

"Show writerfella a picture of either Larry McMurtry or CBS claiming that COMANCHE MOON was a documentary or a historical treatise or even a docu-drama."

Show us a picture of Janelle Meraz Hooper claiming that Custer & His Naked Ladies is a documentary or a historical treatise or even a docu-drama. Until then, you're a hypocrite.

P.S. I haven't seen any evidence of Anasazi medicine canes in my voluminous reading on the subject. Until you provide such evidence, your claim remains just that...a claim.

Janelle Meraz Hooper said...

Good grief!I was surprised to see so much discussion about my FICTIONAL book. It was just a story, guys, lighten up!
I was aware that the Comanches have casinos. They did not when I started writing the book. At the time,there was some resistance to having casinos. I was one of the ones opposed for too many reasons to list here. I was not alone.
By the way,the review copy of Custer to the Comanche tribe got rave reviews. They got it. It's just a story. Janelle Meraz Hooper, author

Rob said...

Welcome, Janelle!

I believe the Comanche Nation Casino has been open since 2004. Your book was published in 2007. But if it's set in the past, no problem.

Apparently you're unaware that people study works of fiction for what they tell us about ourselves. I.e., what they tell us about the people who read and write them and the society they're set in.

If you didn't know that before, you do now. See "It's Just a [Fill in the Blank]" for more on the subject.

Whether the Comanches appreciated your focus on them is different from whether the portrayal was accurate or the book was good. But if they truly raved about it, great.

I'd guess many tribes would object to the idea of the Mob's plotting to open a casino on their land. The whole idea of linking mobsters and tribal casinos is stereotypical.