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170 Western American Literature The best poems, however, are in the first and last sections where Bless­ ing has himself as his subject. These are not confessional poems in that easy 1960s’ way, but rather carefully shaped and moving meditations upon one’s own life. Too, these are the ones that most clearly do give form to the book. But oddly it is difficult to find quotations, since the individual lines may not seem what the whole poem makes them. “Keeping a Roof over Your head” is filled with loss, as is “What I Know by Heart,” but a line like “You haven’t needed me for a year and a month” is dead out of context. Yet in context it is a real cry, a passionate cry. And “Winter Stories” needs the double “narrative,” the stories the two lovers tell in bed and which come together in the speaker’s “dream,” to make the affirmative “We/ are the mir­ aculous space, the welcome stable in the winter fields” a marvellous sentence. This is, then, a book to read whole, not just by isolated image, line, or, even, poem. Even the weaker poems contribute to that wholeness. A good book, satisfying, disturbing, full. L. L. LEE, Western Washington University Let My People Know: American Indian Journalism, 1828-1978. By James E. Murphy and Sharon M. Murphy. (Norman, Oklahoma: The University of Oklahoma Press, 1981. 230 pages, $14.95.) Let My People Know is a valuable book for several reasons. First, it is a survey of American Indian journalism (including not only newspapers, but magazines and specialized publications and radio and television as well) during a crucial 150-year period; secondly, it is a remarkably astute assess­ ment of journalistic, practices and trends within present-day Indian com­ munities; third, it is an invaluable source of current addresses of Indian newspapers and Indian-oriented television and radio stations (Appendix C, entitled “American Indian Media — A Directory,” is twenty-two pages long) that are to be found nationwide; and fourth, it is an important prog­ nosis for future journalistic endeavors by American Indians. In the minds of most Americans, the technology involved in Indian news media probably consists of tom-toms, those “distant drums” presaging a full-scale attack on some hapless settler’s cabin, or smoke signals that appear over the hill to tell of a herd of buffalo six miles to the east or a wagon train slowly making its way into the next valley. However, as the Murphys show, it may come as a surprise to learn that American Indian newspapers, Indian owned and oper­ ated, date as far back as the 1820s and that in Indian Territory (now Okla­ homa) alone there were “about 250 newspapers established (there) before 1900 and 320 established in the first decade of the twentieth century.” Let My People Know is a welcome corrective to certain old and tiresome stereo­ types about Indian people as ignorant savages still holding onto a pre­ Reviews 171 industrial mind-set hopelessly binding them to the nineteenth century and earlier. The book’s title is taken from the slogan of Wassaja, a contemporary Indian newspaper published in San Francisco with a circulation of approxi­ mately eighty thousand. Wassaja is one of two Indian newspapers that is national, and even international, in scope. The other is Akwesasne Notes, a bimonthly publication of the Mohawk Nation of New York and Ontario. An earlier Wassaja was the newspaper published in the early years of the twentieth century by Dr. Carlos Montezuma, a Mohave-Apache medical doctor and Indian rights activist who is generally credited with the winning of Indian suffrage in 1924. The first Wassaja carried the slogan “Let My People Go” and it is from this that Rupert Costo, publisher of the current Wassaja, gets the phrase “Let My People Know,” though he has written in an editorial that it should perhaps be modified to “Let My People Speak.” All these slogans — actual and proposed — bespeak an overriding emphasis in not only these newspapers, but to almost all newspapers in Indian country past and present, and this concern is advocacy. Advocacy, according to the Murphys, has been omnipresent in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 170-172
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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