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Dance Boots

Linda LeGarde Grover

Publication Year: 2010

In this stirring collection of linked stories, Linda LeGarde Grover portrays an Ojibwe community struggling to follow traditional ways of life in the face of a relentlessly changing world.
 
In the title story an aunt recounts the harsh legacy of Indian boarding schools that tried to break the indigenous culture. In doing so she passes on to her niece the Ojibwe tradition of honoring elders through their stories. In “Refugees Living and Dying in the West End of Duluth,” this same niece comes of age in the 1970s against the backdrop of her forcibly dispersed family. A cycle of boarding schools, alcoholism, and violence haunts these stories even as the characters find beauty and solace in their large extended families.
 
With its attention to the Ojibwe language, customs, and history, this unique collection of riveting stories illuminates the very nature of storytelling. The Dance Boots narrates a century’s evolution of Native Americans making choices and compromises, often dictated by a white majority, as they try to balance survival, tribal traditions, and obligations to future generations.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

"The mythical Mozhay Point Indian Reservation and allotment lands of the Ojibwe extended families in these stories are in the heart of the six reservations of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, a few hours' drive north of Duluth, Minnesota, which is a hill city on the shores of Lake Superior."

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The Dance Boots

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pp. 1-19

"We Ojibwe believe that God the Creator has put each of us in the living world with a gift or talent, something that we are supposed to search for in ourselves, thank Him for, and contribute to those we share the world with. We are each born for a purpose, each with..."

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Three Seasons

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pp. 20-41

"When Maggie fled her family home on the Mozhay Point Indian Reservation headed for the railroad tracks that led to Duluth, it was without her husband, who was because of her lying unconscious on the floor next to the woodstove, or her three oldest children, who in..."

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Maggie and Louis, 1914

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pp. 42-58

"The first time Maggie saw Louis she was sitting at the work table in the laundry building, next to the window for the light, mending stockings. She sat erect on the wooden chair, her body held inches away from the back in order to demonstrate proper posture to the..."

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Refugees Living and Dying in the West End of Duluth

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pp. 59-76

"We wouldn't be back at Aunt Babe's house until two years later, the afternoon in 1970 after Louis's funeral, which would be in most ways but not all a different type of gathering. After the funeral, the dining room would look bare, the chairs moved back against the walls..."

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Shonnud's Girl

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pp. 77-99

"The horses lived on the other side of the wooden fence at the edge of Mr. McCuskey's farm, in their own horse paradise of woods and meadow and barn. Violet and I secretly rode them from time to time both summers we lived there, in the meadow that like the..."

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Ojibwe Boys

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pp. 100-121

"Setting pins at the Palace Bowl was repetitious work. To do it took rhythm, but not the kind of rhythm that let you forget about what you were doing and think of other things-that was Punk's advice. A lot of guys had gotten hurt that way, he told us that first night."

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Four Indians in the Mirror

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pp. 122-128

"Joe Washington watched the three of them in the mirror. Him, Mickey, and Louis. Three Indians sitting at the bar in the Viking, their faces reflected in a blemished mirror through moving clouds of cigarette smoke."

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Bingo Night

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pp. 129-152

"Good girl. She's a good old girl, Bineshii. Gets us where we want to go.' Earl's car, a green Falcon, was coated with red taconite dust from the road to Mesabi, where he had driven Alice earlier in the day to buy new winter boots, a Harlequin romance,..."


E-ISBN-13: 9780820337487
E-ISBN-10: 082033748X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820335803
Print-ISBN-10: 0820335800

Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

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Subject Headings

  • Ojibwa Indians -- Fiction.
  • Minnesota -- Fiction.
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