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Genocide of the Mind

 
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 06:42 am
Genocide of the Mind
New Native American Writing
Edited by Marijo Moore (Various Contributors)
ISBN: 1-56025-511-0
Publisher: Nation Books

OVERVIEW: This is a compilation of short stories, related experiences, poems and more. It is a well-considered, thought-out attempt to try and capture the mental and emotional state of Native Americans and the influences on their sense of self. Torn between worlds and bearers of a hard history, you'll find enlightening insights into Reservation Mindset -vs- City and the conflicts this brings. This book isn't boring - it keeps moving. Flip open the pages and on one hand you'll find a long treatise on how Native Americans are treated (both good and bad) - flip again and you'll get an old-timer's insights on events we all know. Now, if you're thinking this is yet another P.C. propaganda tool, think again. Read it and you'll see what I mean - most excellent and stimulating reading.

PRO'S:

  • Diverse: Many different views succinctly stated from varying opinions
  • Insightful: Wanna get a good overview of how these people feel? Read
  • Emotionally Compelling: Yep, I choked out a tear or two while in other places couldn't stop giggling
  • Succinct: Straight to the point and no punches pulled
  • Educational: Suicide rates and reasons, substance abuse, the diversity of Native American Traditions, life today on the reservations, and much more. I learned a lot

CONS:

  • Much of the unstructured poetry feels arcane (probably owing to my own lack of cooth) made this section hard to read
  • A realization of just how much mental, emotional and culture damage the immigrants have wrought on these people (although this point could just as well have gone in the "PRO'S" Section). If you're given to bitterness at realizing what we immigrants have done, you're going to get mad.
  • What seems conspicuously absent are insights into genetic/physical factors that so many ethnocentrists believe play into the picture. Given the bigoted view so many have, I'd like to have seen this addressed (its absence may in itself express how much relevance this carries).

HIGHTLIGHTS:

  • Unable to connect to our earth (pp 7)
  • Trying to understand "Why live in a city?" (pp 33)
  • Proliferation of alcohol reliance (pp 35)
  • Pursuing contemporary "success" by living in a box, why? (pp 35)
  • Living with white-folk myths of Native Americans (pp 55)
  • Cultural Genocide at the hands of imposed Christianity (pp 66)
  • Immigrants and Coping with guilt of past crimes (pp 68)
  • The allure of the big city - caught between value-sets (pp 94)
  • The pain and embarrassment of "Indian" stereotypes and media icons (pp 96)
  • ".. my place in creation" - one man's experience (pp 180)
  • "Indians as Mascots" - the tables turned, understanding (pp 189)
  • Atrocities; abbreviated examples (pp 190)
  • The cycle of perceptions, ignorance and pain (pp 195)
  • Political Correctness; yet the Native American is "still game", why? (pp 198)
  • Native American Philosophy overviews; juxtaposed contemporary culture (pp 232)
  • Losing the "sense of self" through media projections (pp 307)
  • Cultural decimation ignored; consumerism run amuck (pp 318)

Rating (1 to 10): 8.0
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