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Zitkala-Ša (1876–1938)

Forfatter af American Indian Stories

19+ Works 903 Members 34 Reviews 2 Favorited

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Image credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-119349)

Værker af Zitkala-Ša

Associated Works

Women's America: Refocusing the Past (1982) — Bidragyder, nogle udgaver333 eksemplarer
The Big Book of Classic Fantasy (2019) — Bidragyder — 164 eksemplarer
Voice of the Turtle: American Indian Literature, 1900-1970 (1994) — Bidragyder — 127 eksemplarer
Masterpieces of American Indian Literature (1993) — Bidragyder — 115 eksemplarer
Classic American Autobiographies (1992) — Bidragyder — 91 eksemplarer
The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition (2003) — Bidragyder — 68 eksemplarer
The Vintage Book of American Women Writers (2011) — Bidragyder — 56 eksemplarer
Rediscoveries: American Short Stories by Women, 1832-1916 (1994) — Bidragyder — 32 eksemplarer
Graphic Classics: Native American Classics (2013) — Bidragyder — 23 eksemplarer

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American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings is a collection of works by Zitkála-Šá, including legends she wrote down, semi-autobiographical stories, allegories, speeches, essays, and more. It's split into sections that group similar content together and includes a long introduction and a few explanatory notes.

Overall, the writing quality is good. It's also easy to understand for modern readers. The legends in particular reminded me very much of the fairytales I was told as I child, and it didn't surprise me to learn that the author had herself been told them as a child. I could easily imagine parents choosing to read these to their own children or teachers including them in a school curriculum even today. The other sections clearly have an adult audience in mind, and the style becomes a bit more sophisticated as a result, but overall I would describe it as being very straight-forward.

My favorite parts were the legends and the semi-autobiographical stories. The latter in particular were extremely powerful and incredibly interesting given the time period in which the author lived. These stretch from early childhood through her life as a teacher and her ultimate decision to resign that position, but it does not go far beyond that. My biggest disappointment was that there were no more sections continuing her story. My second biggest was that some of her decision making is not explained in greater depth. If she had written a full memoir, I can only imagine how enlightening it would have been.

As for the other selections, I definitely liked some more than others. In general, I wished that a short section of context would have been given as an introduction to each rather than one giant introduction being given at the beginning of the book. I didn't read that introduction until the end, at which point I couldn't decide whether that had been a good decision or not. On one hand, it contained some spoilers I wouldn't have appreciated, and it drags on so long before the book has given you any stories that make you care to learn more about their author. On the other hand, it would have given me some of that context I was craving when I got to the essays and articles and other miscellaneous pieces. Either way, I would have appreciated even more historical context for some of the pieces, but perhaps this book was intended to be read in a more academic manner by people already studying the history.

I can't give my opinion of this book as a scholar or as an expert on the pertinent history or as anything more than what I am, but as a reader near the beginning of my learning process, I can say this book contributed a lot. Modern readers should be aware that Zitkála-Šá uses the terminology that was in use during her time, and at some points I felt as if she was unintentionally expressing some degree of internalized racism, but I do believe it's incredibly valuable when viewed in the proper historical context. I don't see this as the one book you should read to gain an understanding but rather one step on a journey that should include modern voices also. Learning history from those who lived through it can help us understand how situations evolved over time to create the world in which modern people live and modern authors write from, so I'm looking forward to building on the knowledge I've gained by reading this book. I would recommend it (or at least the autobiographical stories) to anyone who wants the same experience.
… (mere)
dste | 1 anden anmeldelse | Nov 18, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A mix of autobiographical sketches, traditional myths, no so traditional myths and an essay about the place of the Indians in the country make this book a bit weird. I enjoy all of those topics but the book does not differentiate between them - you do not know what exactly you are reading until you had started the essays/story.

It starts as expected - Zitkála-Šá recalls her early years and education - an almost common story of Native American children being carried away to be "civilized" in boarding schools. Or at least it is a pretty common one for this reader, more than 100 years after this book was first published. Despite its almost banality, it is still heartbreaking - writing later in life and after having taught in the schools herself, Zitkála-Šá manages to add a perspective while still keeping some of the innocence of the childhood memories and her early days as a teacher.

And then this memoir abruptly stops and she switches to tales and myths. These are all told from different perspectives and in different styles, drawing on the long oral traditions. In some ways they make the first part of the collection even more stark - for all the children like Zitkála-Šá who managed to preserve their own history and mythology, a lot of the kids who went to the boarding schools (and survived) ended up assimilated into the white culture - after all, that was what the education was all about.

The collection ends with a short essay about the interactions between the native population and the Spanish and English settlers which ends in an appeal for everyone to educate themselves about the Bureau of Indian Affairs and a report about it (which was not included - my guess is that it was widely available at the time - or foundable anyway).

Mint Editions had added a very short note about the author - I wish that they had commissioned a proper one. It helps understanding who Zitkála-Šá was and her work to appreciate some of what she has to say. So I looked elsewhere - the Wikipedia article is actually decent.
… (mere)
AnnieMod | 10 andre anmeldelser | Jun 6, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Both heart breaking and uplifting, Zitkala Su tells the story of her life with exquisite candor. From her days in a Sioux village, to her wider experience as an First Nations woman in a unfriendly world, Su give hers readers a chance to live her life with her. This is an invaluable collection of stories, perserveing for us the a time and a life and a nation long gone. Highly recommend.
empress8411 | 10 andre anmeldelser | Oct 5, 2022 |
This is a very moving collection of autobiographical stories and pieces that could be fictional or passed along from others. The beginning section of the book tells the author's story, and then it shifts into stories featuring others. There was no explanation for the change that I saw, so I'm not sure if these are stories that are biographical in nature, or more along the lines of fable. Regardless, the collection was a very enjoyable (and often poignant) read, with some eye-opening glimpses into what life was like in the Indian Schools.… (mere)
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ca.bookwyrm | 10 andre anmeldelser | Jun 16, 2022 |



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