August 15, 2009

Native women's book club

Connecting through books

Women's book club links far-flung readers

By Cindy Yurth
It started as a handful of friends who like to read.

Two years later, the Native American Women's Book Club boasts over 100 members across the country and as far away as Australia.

But the book club isn't just about reading. It's about sharing good food, learning about each other, and gathering in the Native diaspora, said Yolanda Francisco-Nez, the club's founder.

Francisco-Nez, who hails from Fort Defiance but has lived most of her 45 years in Salt Lake City, said she started thinking of ways to bring Natives together when she read somewhere that more than half of American Indians live off their reservations.

"With most of us living away from our land and other Natives, how do we maintain our identity? How do we connect with one another?" Francisco-Nez asked. "Well, one way, of course, is through the Internet."

Members share thoughts through the e-mail list, and meet twice a year in various locations to discuss one fiction and one non-fiction book. So far the meetings have been in the West, where most of the members reside--Salt Lake City, Tucson and Fort Defiance--but when enough eastern Natives join, Nez would love to hold meetings in more far-flung locales.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.

Below:  "Native American Women's Book Club member Charlotte Francis from Fort Defiance looks on as her sister Vivian Yazza pulls out the books she has been reading recently." (Special to the Times--Donovan Quintero)

No comments: