Back To The Blanket: A Native Narrative Of Discovery

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Author House, May 17, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 720 pages
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     Not since Alex Haley’s Roots has a story probed so deeply into the intimate details of an indigenous American family. Inspired by the events of this Native American author’s descendants, Back to the Blanket chronicles seven generations of his Ojibwe “roots.” But just as importantly, it places the events within the context of a tumultuous time in American History – a time when Western European Civilization was gaining enormous inroads in the Americas and leaving in its wake a devastating clash of cultures.

     But this story is not about typical Indian-White confrontations – bloody, violent, avaricious Indian battles. It reveals a more subtle, yet just as deleterious, subjugation of a people through the proliferation of White trade goods, overzealous missionaries, diseases for which there were no cures, and the most contemptible allurement of all – alcohol.                    

     Back to the Blanket is a story of tragedy, guilt, pride, perseverance, hope and survival which begins in 1988 when the author undergoes a life-threatening bone marrow transplant for leukemia, a deadly blood disease. During the rigorous transplant procedures, he receives a powerful Native Vision, which begins to weave together the stories he has heard as a boy and his curiosity regarding his father’s tumultuous past. But it isn’t until six years later when he and his father are on a train trip bound for the White Earth Reservation in Northern Minnesota that the Vision returns to reveal his legacy and the Red Trade Blanket that has been handed down through the generations.

 

 

 

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Contents

The Spirit Cries
10
Three Strangers
27
Four Days of Gathering
43
We Winter Together
61
The Forest Tells of
80
Changing
96
He Joins the Midewiwin Society
116
The Circle of Life Is Complete
134
Birds of A Feather
353
Flock Together
373
Revelations
393
The Bear Walks at Night
413
White Earth Circa 1887
430
Reaching
446
On the Other Side
462
Taking Stock
477

Stories in the Woods
149
Exchanging
163
Eternal Gifts
178
Going Home
205
Beyond the River Circa 1820
223
The Councils Decision
236
Rituals of Revenge
255
Justice
269
and Sorrow
283
Cannibals in the Woods Circa 1856
299
The Letter
316
Struggles Within
333
Illusions Deceptions
490
What Goes Around
505
Comes Around
525
Horseshoes Horseplay and Horse Sense
550
Black Devils and Petes Hole
569
That Day at the Fair
586
Bitsy and the Boarding School Boys
617
Breaking Bread
634
The Kingbird Takes Flight
648
End of the Line 1994
663
Postscript
683
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

For the past 36 years, James A. Starkey, Jr. has been a successful English and Social Sciences teacher in Washington State. He is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and has written two plays: The Spirit: An American Tragedy and Mourning Comes at Dawn, which earned for him the Valley Forge Teacher's Medal. He has two adult children and lives in a suburb of Seattle with Janie, his wife of 39 years.

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