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154 Western American Literature piece by piece putting together of the puzzle, the study of the evidence, the searches of government documents, police records, and old photographs are recounted by a man of wit, intelligence, and perseverance. The book reads like a first-rate detective novel. Wyatt is convinced that he has dis­ covered by hard work and (he will also admit) by extreme good luck the true identity of the man who used the pen name, B. Traven. Accompanied by a fine selection of photographs and quotes from Traven’s letters, notes, and fiction, the book is impressive. The line of Wyatt’s final proofs is difficult to refute. It does seem that Will W'yatt has discovered most of the “secrets of the Sierra Madre.” B. Traven was born Otto Wienecke, then became Otto Feige, then Ret Marut, then B. Traven, and used in the course of his life these other names-. Arnolds, Baker, Hal Croves, Traven Torsvan, and Fred Maruth, to name only a few. Why? Read The Secret of the Sierra Madre. You will not be disappointed byWill Wyatt. ROBERT B. OLAFSON Eastern Washington University This Song Remembers. Edited by Jane B. Katz. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1980. 207 pages, $8.95.) Judging from its subtitle — Self Portraits of Native Americans in the Arts — This Song Remembers professes itself to be a collection of selfportraits by North American Indian painters, dancers, singers, writers, and other artists. However, the news release refers to the volume as a “documen­ tary history,” and its editor further categorizes it as “a medley of personal experiences and perceptions that document a people’s migration from yester­ day to today.” In fact, This Song Remembers is a modest collection of transcribed “interviews” with much to be modest about. To begin with, Katz’s introduction to the volume seems forever poised between cliches and indiscretions, aimed at readers who, like Katz herself, take a patronizing approach to “Indian artists.” Although she would never say so outright, even the division of her text makes clear that Katz regards art by Indian artists as “ethnic art” and “regional art” and perhaps even “primitive art,” or, in other words, as second-rate art. What’s more, Katz’s own writing is trite and vacuous, full of references to “Mother Earth, Father Sky, the Sacred Blue Lake,” and “the people’s way.” While such terms carry meaning in the mouths of Native American speakers and in the context of religion and ritual, Katz tosses them off baldly. For her, “The Pueblo child makes pots and jewelry; the Navajo learns weaving, basketry, and silversmithing,” and the Great Spirit help any Hopi or Navajo kid who fails to conform to the stereotype. Reviews 155 Katz’s method has been to take a standard question-and-answer inter­ view of her own recording and “rearrange” it to read as an uninterrupted narrative, as if the artist were speaking an extemporaneous monologue. In her introduction, she claims to have “traveled to various parts of this country and to Canada” with a tape recorder and conducted “in-depth inter­ views” with the artists whose works the book presents. She then goes on to say that she “rearranged the material and edited when necessary to insure clarity and logical flow of ideas.” However, the absence of such prominent artists as painter Fritz Scholder, singer Buffy Saint-Marie, and writers like James Welch and Ray Youngbear suggest that Katz did not always have the cooperation of her subjects, a suspicion the “Literature” section of her book would seem to confirm. For example, no Scott Momaday interview ever took place. Instead, we find excerpts from Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain, a fact Katz acknowledges in her introductory remarks to the piece and in her footnote. However, in the case of the “interview” with novelist Leslie Silko, Katz makes no such acknowledgment. In fact, the Silko interview dates back to 1975 when Larry Evers and Dennis Carr recorded the novelist at her Laguna, New Mexico, home and then published their conversation the fol­ lowing year in Sun Tracks. While copyright convention requires by law that Katz formally acknowledge this prior publication, readers will note...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 154-155
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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