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 This glimpse inside the reality of life for current Native Americans will intrigue but also appall in its depiction of their plight. Monroe, a Lakota and Cheyenne, offers his autobiography with the help of Reyer (English and Women's Studies/West Virginia Univ.; Cante Ohitka, not reviewed). He shares childhood memories of his grandfather, who toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and of his many other relations. Monroe was born on the reservation in South Dakota but raised off it, and educated in Catholic mission schools, as his father moved frequently to find work. In the early 1940s, Monroe enlisted in the Army to get away from the racism he experienced in Alliance, Nebr. In the service, he felt an acceptance he had never known before, and Monroe says that had he not been wounded in Korea, he probably would have made a career in the military. Instead, he wound up back in Alliance, where he couldn't even get a drink in the American Legion hall. Drinking, in fact, a problem that afflicted other members of his family as well, began to occupy much of his life. Later, a recovering alcoholic, Monroe worked with other Native alcoholics; he also fought back against racism, first by running for public office and later by founding the American Indian Council, an organization that provides a variety of social and professional services to the Native community. At a time when most Americans don't realize that over 66% of Indians live off the reservation, this book is a powerful witness. Written in simple, direct language and told at a sometimes slow, methodical, pace, it will reward patient readers with an illuminating look into what it means to be a member of America's Native minority.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-56639-234-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Temple Univ. Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994