Author Robert Alexie has
gutsy first novel
In order to understand this story, it is important to know
the People and where they came from and what they
went through. The story begins with the Blue People and
their legends and beliefs in the time before first contact.
From Legends, Beliefs and the Newcomers Porcupines and China Dolls is a powerful story about the effects of residential schools on our communities and the history of that trauma. It is a story about how these traumas tear us apart. It is also a story about healing.
The residential school is a dark hurt inside of us that we
all carry. We all live with this trauma. It affects our lives,
how we act, how we relate to each other. It represents
one of the worst times of our history but our story will not
end with this. It can’t because we are too strong to have
this hurt like this forever, and there will always be new
ways to find light outside of this dark.
Stories like Porcupines and China Dolls
will help us to find a new way, and will help us to remember that
light that comes from understanding ourselves. The
residential school did take away a lot but it could never
take away that light. Porcupines and China Dolls
will forever remind us of that light, and that is a good thing.
If you can find this book, read it and pass it on… There
is medicine in these pages. Robert Alexie is a new writer
that writes with a strong voice. His book is about one of
the hardest subjects from Indian Country and he writes
about it with courage and understanding.
The title refers to the haircuts the children received in
residential schools. Their hair was cut making the boys
look like porcupines and the girls like china dolls.
In a live presentation of CBC’s Dead Dog Café, Robert
Alexie, a guest on the show, and author of Porcupines and
China Dolls, as a part of the First Indigenous International
Authors Tour, was asked what his favorite food was…and
Robert, in a muffled, shy, Indian from Up-North kind of
way said “Caribou and Kraft Dinner…” and to that, we, at
Redwire, wish to say “Awesome!” Robert Alexie is Teetl’it
Gwich’in, from the North West Territories. His second
book, The Pale Indian, will be out in Febuary 2005.