Silko's book is a provocative and telling recount of the author's family experiences and her impressions of life in the Native American culture in New Mexico and Arizona.
Here's a paragraph from her book that made a strong impression on me:
I learned about racism firsthand when I started school. We were punished if we spoke the Laguna language once we crossed onto the school grounds. Every fall, all of us were lined up and herded like cattle to the girls' and boys' bathrooms, where our heads were drenched with smelly insecticide regardless of whether we had lice or not. We were vaccinated in both arms without regard to our individual immunization records.
And here's a poem that Silko features in the book. The poem is written inside a mural, referred to as the Stone Avenue Murual, that's painted at 930 North Stone Avenue in Tuscon, Arizona.
La gente tiene hambre. La gente tiene frío.
Los ricos han robado la tierra.
Los ricos han robado la libertad.
La gente exige justicia. De otra manera, Revolución.
The people are hungry. The people are cold.
The rich have stolen the land.
The rich have stolen freedom.
The people demand justice. Otherwise, Revolution.
(This really speaks to our situation today, doesn't it?)
Silko, born in Albuquerque, N.M., is a former professor of English and creative writing, and author of novels, short stories, essays, poetry, and screenplays. She has won prizes, fellowships and grants from such sources as the National Endowment for the Arts and The Boston Globe. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her family.