Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Calling For A Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah


This novel introduces the reader to the Geimausaddle family and focuses on one member, Ever Geimausaddle.  The family is Native American, both Cherokee and  Kiowa and Mexican.  Family is everything although the members of the family encounter many issues.  There is poverty, addiction, divorce, issues with the police and government and gangs that try to woo the children away from the parents.  Jobs are hard to come by and easy to lose.  

But there is much that is good.  Children are prized and the adults sacrifice much in order to attempt to make their children's lives better than their own.  The tribe holds dances to teach the culture and to strengthen the ties between the families.  The title phrase, calling for a blanket dance, is a reference to when a blanket is spread, someone with a need stands on the blanket and starts a dance and everyone there throws what money they can spare on the blanket to help a family in need.  Ever fights through a childhood of anger to two marriages, both of which end in divorce.  But he has his three children plus a young man he adopts.  Ever does what he can to give back, working with the young people he sees in trouble.

This is a debut novel and it is exceptional.  The story is told through the stories of individual members of the Geimausaddle family, Ever's parents and aunts and uncles, cousins.  It is a story that will touch the hearts of readers and give insight into the lives of Native Americans in our country.  Ever is an interesting character and seems to be autobiographical as the author's life follows much the same path.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and those interested in other cultures.

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