Indigenous Lit. A New Debut That Solidifies Why Own Voices Is So Important.
Crow Winter by Karen McBride is a great read. And the fidelity that flows from page to page re indigenous life and practices, is exactly why own voices writers are so important.
We are not indigenous and this will be a short review outlining all the feels this read gave us.
The imagery is lush and vivid, as the reader travels alongside Hazel into the Spirit World, through her waking dreams and a sweat ceremony, as she chronicles her story and that of Nanabush. Each description drips with an authenticity of voice that would be so glaring if this novel had come from anyone outside the indigenous/First Nation/Native American community and experience. She depicts the connection to the land, how their beliefs and practices keep them bound to the teachings that govern their being and the duality of the Seven, neither man nor woman.
The stark realities of what her and her people deal with as a result of colonization: stereotypes; alcoholism; trauma from residential schools, suicides and missing indigenous girls and women; disenfranchisement(stolen lands and legacy); the whitewashing of their history(how their stories are used to elevate the status of the white man), could not have been so clearly and intimately written from without the scope.
At its heart, Crow Winter tells the story of a daughter hesitant to face a father's death and the hurt that comes with it, a family willing to skirt around a secret that affects them all and the trickster god, who in the name of reclaiming a life lost, is tasked with securing not only Hazel's future, but the very future of her people and their teachings.
Read this book. Spread and share indigenous stories and voices. They are inextricably linked to us all.