- Texas … To Get Horses by Kimberly G. Wieser
Kimberly G. Wieser is a representative (expatriate? survivor? captive? escapee? diplomat?) of literally millions of people of multiple cultural, racial, and tribal backgrounds from the world of Texas, a world continually influenced by the neighboring regions of Tamaulipas, Sonora, Chiapas, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon, and vice [End Page 462] versa. Aside from the present-day federal stupidity regarding "the Border," people have been coming and going across the vast ravines and semidesert landscape and rivers and mountains that comprise the border regions of Texas and Mexico, as well as New Mexico, Arizona, and California, for untold generations. This is apparent in the author herself—a Texas woman of mixed Cherokee, Choctaw, and Creek descent, who was born and raised in the small city of Rosebud—as well as in the authors of the book's foreword and introductory note and the cover artist.
This is supposed to be a review, but allow me to carry on for a moment before we get to the work at hand. I'm doing this because el libro en mano—Texas … To Get Horses—prompts me in a variety of ways to do so. These days, as I continue to explore that broad world of Native American literature—particularly with regard to the American Southwest—I am constantly amazed by the depth and breadth of this ever-growing subject; principally, as many of us who are Indigenous writers and scholars—and Kimberly G. Wieser is among the top notch of them—attempt in various ways to break down the border between Native American literature and Chicana/o literature. For myself, I have been maintaining now for more than three decades that they are both Indigenous. (I did a bit of this in The Remembered Earth, the anthology I edited in the 1970s, when I included the work of Refugio Savala, a Yaqui Indian from Sonora who came across the border into Arizona during the Yaqui Wars of the early twentieth century, and Rudy M. Bantista, a Kiowa who spent his early years in Coahuila). This, of course, was continued and deepened by those of us sponsoring the first Returning the Gift (RTG) festival of Indigenous writers at the University of Oklahoma in 1992, when we had, along with approximately two hundred USborn Indigenous writers in attendance, many Indigenous writers from Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Peru, and Panama, as well as sixty to seventy from Canada. I would imagine that if there were to be another large-scale RTG, with a similar goal of all-inclusiveness, the number of Indigenous writers of whatever definition would be well over a thousand. This is border busting.
Texas is well worth the reader's time and attention—and it is a border-breaker and a masterful work of art. Kimberly G. Wieser, a [End Page 463] professor of English and Native American studies at the University of Oklahoma, is the epitome of border-busting authors. The titles of each of the four sections clearly bespeak this: 1) "El Rio de los Brazos de Dios—The River of the Arm of God"; 2) "Spanglish Is the Language of the 21st Century"; 3) "Crossing the River"; 4) "Mi Vida en Comancheria." It shouldn't come as a surprise that for the author, Spanglish—the mixture of English, Spanish, French, Comanche, Cheyenne, and Cherokee—is the tongue she speaks and writes. And while the poems work ever so much in fragmenting boundaries, they also highlight childhood memories and the acknowledgment of familial connections, a necessary down-to-earthness that is highly welcomed:
What I would give, today,for a town that still had horses and chickens,stores that children could safely walk to …what I wouldn't give … for just one taste of home.(14)
(from "Moon Cookie Summer—Rosebud, Texas, circa 1970s")
A short series of Comanche Captive poems—in honor of the poet's significant other, Rance Weryackwe, a Comanche of the Penateka Band—likewise honors all of the many who are now, as well as all back in...