Book of the Month: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich


So much life happens in Louise urges latest book the night watchman this Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians author takes readers to the termination era. Were the threat of losing. Land in a tight. Something important is firing up. One of the characters was inspired by the life of this author's beloved grandfather in the book we follow this character named Thomas as ams up to share his words in Congress on the pages we also meet a cast of characters which includes strong indigenous women who define resilience of their time although set some generations. Back this story. Informs Present Day indigenous struggles including exploitation of our women racism and attacks on sovereignty and the land that are native nations connect to. I look forward to hearing how you're gelling to the story. And we invite you to join the discussion with their march book of the month. Author Louise and thanks to harpercollins publishers. The first ten p the first ten people who make it on air with a question or comment. We'll a copy of the night watchman. Our phone lines are open now so go ahead and dial in. We're at one eight hundred nine six two eight four eight. It's also one eight hundred nine nine native and today joining us from Washington. Dc is Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa author Louis Surgery. She is a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award Winner and she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of the small independent bookstore. Birchbark books my pleasure to have her here. Louise Welcome thank you so much. It's my pleasure. Tehran I'm delighted to be here into Louise. I really appreciate when our authors teach us about our own history and sometimes that history includes troubling times until this book takes us right to the heart of what termination the threat of termination losing the ability to say that we are a sovereign nation. Your characters take us to this moment in so I'm set the scene for us a little on just how much it's impacted not only the characters in the book but of course your own tribal nation. What would you like to say about termination? Well first of all I. I BELIEVE. Termination was a long time in preparation. You know when you look back through the history of what was happening just before you see that there was a big housing Bob. Postwar housing boom so termination came out of The the narrative of dispossession The government really wanted some very large stands of timber and those were on the cliff and the menominee reservations and they were among the first terminated. So there was five that were on the first light and turn on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Band of Chippewa was one of them. So it didn't come out of nowhere. There had been some plans in the making and they got the perfect interface with two houses of Congress under Republican control and also the President Eisenhower Republicans so they had a sort of a clear shot termination at that point and the person who is the commissioner of Indian affairs at the time was a guy named Dillon s Myer and he had presided over the incarceration of Japanese American people. Right right during the war. So we have this Guy Dylan Myers. Who's all set up knowing exactly how to he? He was going to relocate everybody right that was the plan. That's that went hand in hand with relocation and then there's Arthur v Watkins who who was Passionately for termination. He had grown up on Allotment land that went into tax forfeiture and his family. Got It so he. He's the other person the main person and then Then there's the people who suddenly got this notice that your tribe is going to be terminated or emancipated. The word was you. Get your freedom. That's how it was couched. Those are the phrases. Did that make you feel it? Being compared to this that you are now mandated. You no longer have to be a native. It's it's so it's so it's so of all of our times I mean this is the language that is used when Dispossession is the real motive. flowed out some high-sounding kyw principled words and let people think I mean. They thought they were going to pull this over a native people right and not. My grandfather had an eighth grade government boarding school education but he got it immediately and he and I think most people did but the the the kind of shock is that this kind of rhetoric would come out with the expectation that native people would not even understand that there was nothing to emancipate that freedom meant freedom to lose all of their their land and their their treaty guaranteed privileges as long as the grass grows and the river. Shell slow you know that those words would be would be meaningless because Both houses of Congress had voted to abrogate treaties that have been established since the very beginning of this country

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