Celebrated novelist David Treuer has gained a reputation for writing fiction that expands the horizons of Native American literature. In Rez Life, his first full-length work of nonfiction, Treuer brings a novelist's storytelling skill and an eye for detail to a complex and subtle examination of Native American reservation life, past and present.
With authoritative research and reportage, Treuer illuminates misunderstood contemporary issues of sovereignty, treaty rights, and natural-resource conservation. He traces the waves of public policy that have disenfranchised and exploited Native Americans, exposing the tension that has marked the historical relationship between the United States government and the Native American population. Through the eyes of students, teachers, government administrators, lawyers, and tribal court judges, he shows how casinos, tribal government, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have transformed the landscape of Native American life.
A member of the Ojibwe of northern Minnesota, Treuer grew up on Leech Lake Reservation, but was educated in mainstream America. Exploring crime and poverty, casinos and wealth, and the preservation of native language and culture, Rez Life is a strikingly original work of history and reportage, a must listen for anyone interested in the Native American story.
©2012 David Treuer (P)2012 Tantor
"Treuer's account reads like a novel, brimming with characters, living and dead, who bring his tribe's history to life." (Booklist)
...I'm not talking a Rez'd out voice "ayyye Cuz, init?!" But at least an urban Ndn? I was trapped driving 20 hours with nothing else to listen to so I had to stop at a Starbucks and download a Sedaris book. This may seem petty but there are so few Ndn books on audible (besides the White Indian Expert books) I had high hopes for Rez Life.
-This narrator sounds so white and so grating I had a hard time listening sadly, as the themes are ones white america needs to hear especially after all the hype from shows like Diane Sawyers' expose on reservation poverty and the current trend again, of taking children away from parents because they are poor- POVERTY DOES NOT EQUEL NEGLECT. Init.
Become an Ndn audio book narrator.
More books by American Indian authors narrated by American Indians. NOT pandering pap poet Sherman Alexie.
This book was great, very informative and entertaining. The other reviewer is correct in pointing out that the reader doesn't sound Ojibwe, which in some portions of the book is fine - and then you get to the repeated mispronounciation of "Anishinaabe" as drawn-out "Anishi-knob," or any other moment where he has to read Ojibwe language, and it sounds like he's been hit on the head all of a sudden. For readers who are familiar with the sounds of Ojibwe it's jarring and insensitive; for those who have never heard it before It's teaching them incorrectly. It's also unintentionally funny, because the author might be talking about how beautiful the language is or how fluent someone is, and then the reader performs it like his mouth is full of rocks. For those who haven't heard Ojibwe being spoken, disregard how it sounds here - it really is a beautiful language when spoken knowledgeably.
That aside, I'm from the same area and this book taught me a lot. I'm so much better informed about tribal law, treaties, and Native history now. And not just Ojibwe; while that tribe is the focus, we hear a lot about many other tribes, nationally and into Canada as well. And on top of that, it's good, engrossing writing. Highly recommended!
A really gripping read. At once didactic and personal, it increased my understanding of the ambiguous position of Native Americans in US culture and warmed my soul with its portraits of individual experience.
Interesting story, but the narrator was so announcer-y I kept expected to be sold a discount mattress rather than invest in an important memoir. I couldn't finish the book due to the awful narration.
Very forced, unnatural.
READ this story; don't listen to the dreadful audio version.
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