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AN INTERVIEW WITH LINDA HOGAN Linda Hogan Linda Hogan is a prize-winning Native American poet, short story writer and novelist Uving in Colorado. Her books include Seeing Through the Sun, which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; the highly acclaimed novel, Mean Spirit; and most recently The Book of Medicines. She has a forthcoming novel. Solar Storm, a chapter from which originally appeared in 77ie Missouri Review and wül be reprinted in the upcoming Pushcart Prizes. This interview was conducted in January of 1992 in Columbia, Missouri, by the staff of The Missouri Review. An Interview with Linda Hogan Interviewer: Can we begin by talking about your background— where you grew up and the things that you did? Hogan: My fanuly is from Oklahoma, near Ardmore. My father had a job driving a woman to Denver and he ended up staying there. He met my mother and they got married and I was born in Denver. At that time my father was a carpenter. He later went into the miUtary to feed us, so we did some travelling around. Interviewer: When you were growing up, did you think of yourself as Native American? Hogan: I reaUy did. There are so many Indian miUtary people that having a miUtary fanuly did not in any way diminish that. Td forgotten how many minority people were in the mUitary until my father was in the Army hospital last year. Among others, an Aztec woman was working there: In some very strange way the military became an equal opportunity employer. The only way that many people could buy a pair of shoes or eat was to go into the Army. Interviewer: Did you grow up in a tribal community? Hogan: I was part of diverse communities. Most of my fanuly stül Uves in Oklahoma. I try to maintain my connection with my relatives there, but we did spend much of our time travelUng. My Uncle Wesley had moved to Denver before my father, and was working in the Indian community there. The community in Denver was mixed—there were some Navajo, but it was predominantly Lakota. During the 1950s Relocation Act a lot of Indians were moved into Denver and other urban areas like San Francisco, Chicago The Missouri Review · 111 and L.A. In fact, WiUa ManKüler grew up in San Frandsco. She's the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. During relocation her fanuly had been moved out of Oklahoma to San Frandsco. They moved people to the strangest places; the logic was reaUy beyond me. There's a Choctaw community in Chicago for that reason— they were moved there in the fifties. It seemed that the intent was to break connections of the native people to their homelands and communities. Interviewer: So we're stiU Uving with the various relocation acts of the thirties and fifties. Any thoughts on the connections among them? Hogan: What the United States thinks about tribal nations is a problem, a conflict. Tm not a historian, so I couldn't reaUy talk about the connections. Tm sure they are different in the case of each community. Ifs a compücated, large thing. Any attempt I would make to speak about it would be to minimize it, Tm sure. There is still an ongoing clash; now ifs even come down to Bingo, which is, interestingly enough, one of the few ways tribes have to make a Uving. Even where tribes are oU-rich or rich in other kinds of resources, like the Navajo people, the land and the coal mining has been leased out for pennies a year by crooked people. This is an ongoing problem that is stall with us, in every aspect. Interviewer: I know you've had quite a varied work experience. What are some of the things that you've done? Hogan: I began working full time when I was fifteen. I've been a nurse's aide, a teacher's aide, a cocktaü waitress—I've done just about anything I had to do to earn a Uving. I worked my way 112 · The Missouri Review Linda Hogan "At last in my life I...


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