Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book Review: Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir




2013 by Deborah A. Miranda
Paperback, 6 x 9, 240 pagesISBN: 978-1-59714-201-4


Author Deborah Miranda writes in the introduction to this book: “Human beings have no other way of knowing that we exist, or what we have survived, except through the vehicle of story.” She also states, “My ancestors, collectively, are the story-bridge that allows me to be here. I am honored to be one of the bridges back to them, to their words and experiences.”

I love how Deborah Miranda has taken all the pieces she has of her family history and woven them together in this story. Using old government documents, BIA forms, field notes, diaries of explorers and priests, photographs, family stories and genealogy work her mother had done, she created a beautiful tribute to her ancestors and allowed their voices to be heard along with her own voice in the form of poems and commentary that are insightful and moving. It’s not always pretty and some parts may be disturbing, but she tells the truth of her personal history and is able to hold in her hands the bad and the good of a person with dignity and honor.

Every family has a story no matter what form it may take. And every family has someone who seems destined to tell it. I believe Deborah Miranda knew that she was the one.

I have always felt strongly that I was called in some way to be one who tells the story as well and the bridge image or metaphor resonates with me personally. I wrote in the preface of my chronicle of the Hardy family: “…I am happy knowing that I played a part in bridging the gap between the future and the past.”

For those of you with an interest in Native American history, read this book. For those of you with an interest in genealogy, read this book. For those of you with an interest in historical trauma, read this book. For those of you who can relate to being the family story-teller, read this book. For those of you who can relate to a past that includes domestic violence, read this book. For those of you who can relate to being human in an imperfect world, read this book. 

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