This week our federal government settled a number of Indian tribal lawsuits for $1.023 billion because the Interior and Treasury Departments mismanaged and abused tribal assets, proving what most of us know, Indian rights, Indian reservations, and Indian identity are profoundly troubling history for the United States. When we do something right it is an exceptional wonder. We would all be helped, Indians and non-Indians, if we understood more about the past and most importantly the present.
As luck would have it, I just finished reading a great primer, Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life, by David Treuer. Treuer is a novelist, although in this book he blends personal and family biography with Indian history and contemporary Indian culture to explain life on the Indian reservations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The early pages are slow going until the narrative becomes more personal for the author, by then the reader knows his family, his friends, and their individual and common struggles. Nothing past or present is sugar-coated or excused for anyone, non-Indian or Indian.
This is non-fiction written with the narrative flair of a novelist, enjoyable and informative. Even the rez pictures are candid. Charles Marlin