David Treuer’s Rez Life is a memoir in some paragraphs, a databank in others, a history of Native Americans in America throughout, whether personal or big picture. David is an Ojibwe, from northern Minnesota.
His eye for detail, his ear, his ability to paint pictures, are all at play in this brilliant book. He shows us how we have kept Native Americans separate, and have tried to create divisions within and among the tribes. He also shows us the beauty and tragedy of reservation life today.
This comes as I have been re-immersed in the ongoing tragedy of Lakota / Sioux Leonard Peltier’s continuing imprisonment at nearly 70, after being found guilty of murder in a trial that is a travesty, and where other evidence and new confusions have emerged repeatedly since. Peter Mattheissen, who just recently left the planet after an incredible life, documented all this in his great book In The Spirit of Crazy Horse.
It is interesting, if not horrifying, how we as humans treat fellow beings as Other, and then persecute and vilify them. And blame those Others for it.
Rez Life is a good and not particularly blaming look at today’s reality in the Ojibwe reservations, and across the span of the lives of Native Americans today.
And I continue to see Chief Black Eagle, Barack Obama so named by the Crow nation before his presidency, freeing our brother Leonard Peltier, allowing him to live in peace with his family for as many years as Great Spirit gives him.