Discussion:
Mysteries featuring indigenous people
(too old to reply)
Carol Dickinson
2017-06-29 10:19:49 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I just finished a book by an author I had read before but this one featuring indigenous people in the first in a series. I've had it laying around forever. I had to wade through it.

And I realized that every book I read that features indigenous people is a wade. I think it is because I can't relate to them as they are written. They just don't seem real or authentic. And yet I come from a very racially diverse family with several different indigenous populations represented. Living in Alaska I've lived with persons from various tribal groups at school, at work, in my neighborhood, my religious community, just everywhere.

In my whole life, I've only read one book featuring indigenous people that I liked. It was so good I kept it to read again. And it was made into a so so TV movie. It was also the only one written by an indian.

I'm wondering if its just me or if there is something about these books that is just too "fake". And if it is because they've all been written by caucasians.

Does anybody else have experience with this disconnect?
Bill Gill
2017-06-29 13:14:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Carol Dickinson
I just finished a book by an author I had read before but this one featuring indigenous people in the first in a series. I've had it laying around forever. I had to wade through it.
And I realized that every book I read that features indigenous people is a wade. I think it is because I can't relate to them as they are written. They just don't seem real or authentic. And yet I come from a very racially diverse family with several different indigenous populations represented. Living in Alaska I've lived with persons from various tribal groups at school, at work, in my neighborhood, my religious community, just everywhere.
In my whole life, I've only read one book featuring indigenous people that I liked. It was so good I kept it to read again. And it was made into a so so TV movie. It was also the only one written by an indian.
I'm wondering if its just me or if there is something about these books that is just too "fake". And if it is because they've all been written by caucasians.
Does anybody else have experience with this disconnect?
The first author who comes to mind is Tony Hillerman with his
stories set among the southwestern indians. I haven't read any
of them recently, I think they were the Navajo.

Then of course there were Arthur Upfield's Boney books. I'm not
sure they reflected actual Aborigine culture. I did notice that
as time passed they became less biased.

Bill
Mike Burke
2017-06-29 13:45:18 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Carol Dickinson
I just finished a book by an author I had read before but this one
featuring indigenous people in the first in a series. I've had it laying
around forever. I had to wade through it.
And I realized that every book I read that features indigenous people is
a wade. I think it is because I can't relate to them as they are
written. They just don't seem real or authentic. And yet I come from a
very racially diverse family with several different indigenous
populations represented. Living in Alaska I've lived with persons from
various tribal groups at school, at work, in my neighborhood, my
religious community, just everywhere.
In my whole life, I've only read one book featuring indigenous people
that I liked. It was so good I kept it to read again. And it was made
into a so so TV movie. It was also the only one written by an indian.
I'm wondering if its just me or if there is something about these books
that is just too "fake". And if it is because they've all been written by caucasians.
Does anybody else have experience with this disconnect?
The first author who comes to mind is Tony Hillerman with his
stories set among the southwestern indians. I haven't read any
of them recently, I think they were the Navajo.
Then of course there were Arthur Upfield's Boney books. I'm not
sure they reflected actual Aborigine culture. I did notice that
as time passed they became less biased.
I haven't seen an Upfield book on sale here in Canberra, ACT where I live
for decades. In the current political climate, I suspect that any
publisher who tried to reissue them would be lynched. The PC left is as
vicious as it is ignorant, here as well as there.
--
Mique
Francis A. Miniter
2017-07-04 15:53:40 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Mike Burke
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Carol Dickinson
I just finished a book by an author I had read before but this one
featuring indigenous people in the first in a series. I've had it laying
around forever. I had to wade through it.
And I realized that every book I read that features indigenous people is
a wade. I think it is because I can't relate to them as they are
written. They just don't seem real or authentic. And yet I come from a
very racially diverse family with several different indigenous
populations represented. Living in Alaska I've lived with persons from
various tribal groups at school, at work, in my neighborhood, my
religious community, just everywhere.
In my whole life, I've only read one book featuring indigenous people
that I liked. It was so good I kept it to read again. And it was made
into a so so TV movie. It was also the only one written by an indian.
I'm wondering if its just me or if there is something about these books
that is just too "fake". And if it is because they've all been written by caucasians.
Does anybody else have experience with this disconnect?
The first author who comes to mind is Tony Hillerman with his
stories set among the southwestern indians. I haven't read any
of them recently, I think they were the Navajo.
Then of course there were Arthur Upfield's Boney books. I'm not
sure they reflected actual Aborigine culture. I did notice that
as time passed they became less biased.
I haven't seen an Upfield book on sale here in Canberra, ACT where I live
for decades. In the current political climate, I suspect that any
publisher who tried to reissue them would be lynched. The PC left is as
vicious as it is ignorant, here as well as there.
I always considered Upfield to be ahead of his time, advocating, through
the person of Bony, a mixed-race detective, for acceptance of both
cultures by both cultures. Also, he was a strong advocate for
protection of the environment. Why would Upfield's books not be popular
now?


Francis A. Miniter
Mike Burke
2017-07-05 02:12:10 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
<snipt>
Post by Francis A. Miniter
Post by Mike Burke
I haven't seen an Upfield book on sale here in Canberra, ACT where I live
for decades. In the current political climate, I suspect that any
publisher who tried to reissue them would be lynched. The PC left is as
vicious as it is ignorant, here as well as there.
I always considered Upfield to be ahead of his time, advocating, through
the person of Bony, a mixed-race detective, for acceptance of both
cultures by both cultures. Also, he was a strong advocate for
protection of the environment. Why would Upfield's books not be popular
now?
Francis A. Miniter
I agree with you that Upfield was ahead of his time, but times have
changed. My mother's mother, NZ born and a very enlightened and
well-informed, widely read person despite having barely a sixth grade
formal education, introduced me to Upfield's books which I enjoyed very
much as a teenager and young adult. It's more than 50 years since I've
read any of his books, so my recall is very limited, but my recollection is
that Bony was raised and educated by a white woman, and that his Aboriginal
culture (whichever of hundreds it was) was quite attenuated. IIRC, he was
not an initiated tribal man so, had he been a real person, he'd not have
known much if anything more about Aboriginal culture and custom than your
average white man living in the Australian Outback, and Upfield's knowledge
would have been similarly limited.

One of the developments since Upfield's day has been the rise of the
so-called Stolen Generation ideas and its associated political activism,
far too complicated to detail here, but as a child adopted by a white woman
and raised in white culture, Bony would probably be seen by the PC left
these days as the archetypal member of that "generation" and, as such, a
victim rather than as a gloriously successful role model showing what might
be possible for such people. As he was successful, I doubt he's the sort
of role model the political activists would want to exploit, which might
explain why I haven't seen anything about Upfield in years.

But I will go looking at the next opportunity.

Mique
--
Mique
Bill Gill
2017-07-05 13:51:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Mike Burke
<snipt>
Post by Francis A. Miniter
Post by Mike Burke
I haven't seen an Upfield book on sale here in Canberra, ACT where I live
for decades. In the current political climate, I suspect that any
publisher who tried to reissue them would be lynched. The PC left is as
vicious as it is ignorant, here as well as there.
I always considered Upfield to be ahead of his time, advocating, through
the person of Bony, a mixed-race detective, for acceptance of both
cultures by both cultures. Also, he was a strong advocate for
protection of the environment. Why would Upfield's books not be popular
now?
Francis A. Miniter
I agree with you that Upfield was ahead of his time, but times have
changed. My mother's mother, NZ born and a very enlightened and
well-informed, widely read person despite having barely a sixth grade
formal education, introduced me to Upfield's books which I enjoyed very
much as a teenager and young adult. It's more than 50 years since I've
read any of his books, so my recall is very limited, but my recollection is
that Bony was raised and educated by a white woman, and that his Aboriginal
culture (whichever of hundreds it was) was quite attenuated. IIRC, he was
not an initiated tribal man so, had he been a real person, he'd not have
known much if anything more about Aboriginal culture and custom than your
average white man living in the Australian Outback, and Upfield's knowledge
would have been similarly limited.
One of the developments since Upfield's day has been the rise of the
so-called Stolen Generation ideas and its associated political activism,
far too complicated to detail here, but as a child adopted by a white woman
and raised in white culture, Bony would probably be seen by the PC left
these days as the archetypal member of that "generation" and, as such, a
victim rather than as a gloriously successful role model showing what might
be possible for such people. As he was successful, I doubt he's the sort
of role model the political activists would want to exploit, which might
explain why I haven't seen anything about Upfield in years.
But I will go looking at the next opportunity.
Mique
Actually Boney was inducted into an Aboriginal tribe. I'm not sure
it was his mothers tribe, but he was familiar with aboriginal culture.
Of course his aboriginal culture was filtered through the mind of
a white man, but still Upfield was sympathetic to the Aborigines.

Bill
Carol Dickinson
2017-06-30 09:54:43 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Carol Dickinson
I just finished a book by an author I had read before but this one featuring indigenous people in the first in a series. I've had it laying around forever. I had to wade through it.
And I realized that every book I read that features indigenous people is a wade. I think it is because I can't relate to them as they are written. They just don't seem real or authentic. And yet I come from a very racially diverse family with several different indigenous populations represented. Living in Alaska I've lived with persons from various tribal groups at school, at work, in my neighborhood, my religious community, just everywhere.
In my whole life, I've only read one book featuring indigenous people that I liked. It was so good I kept it to read again. And it was made into a so so TV movie. It was also the only one written by an indian.
I'm wondering if its just me or if there is something about these books that is just too "fake". And if it is because they've all been written by caucasians.
Does anybody else have experience with this disconnect?
The first author who comes to mind is Tony Hillerman with his
stories set among the southwestern indians. I haven't read any
of them recently, I think they were the Navajo.
Then of course there were Arthur Upfield's Boney books. I'm not
sure they reflected actual Aborigine culture. I did notice that
as time passed they became less biased.
Bill
So are you saying you experienced a disconnect in the Hillerman stories. I read one a long time ago and didn't care for it. But folks on Ram said I should try another because he was such a good writer, but I never have.

I just have the feeling no matter what writer I'm reading that they don't know the indian culture they are writing about.
Bill Gill
2017-06-30 13:12:24 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Carol Dickinson
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Carol Dickinson
I just finished a book by an author I had read before but this one featuring indigenous people in the first in a series. I've had it laying around forever. I had to wade through it.
And I realized that every book I read that features indigenous people is a wade. I think it is because I can't relate to them as they are written. They just don't seem real or authentic. And yet I come from a very racially diverse family with several different indigenous populations represented. Living in Alaska I've lived with persons from various tribal groups at school, at work, in my neighborhood, my religious community, just everywhere.
In my whole life, I've only read one book featuring indigenous people that I liked. It was so good I kept it to read again. And it was made into a so so TV movie. It was also the only one written by an indian.
I'm wondering if its just me or if there is something about these books that is just too "fake". And if it is because they've all been written by caucasians.
Does anybody else have experience with this disconnect?
The first author who comes to mind is Tony Hillerman with his
stories set among the southwestern indians. I haven't read any
of them recently, I think they were the Navajo.
Then of course there were Arthur Upfield's Boney books. I'm not
sure they reflected actual Aborigine culture. I did notice that
as time passed they became less biased.
Bill
So are you saying you experienced a disconnect in the Hillerman stories. I read one a long time ago and didn't care for it. But folks on Ram said I should try another because he was such a good writer, but I never have.
I just have the feeling no matter what writer I'm reading that they don't know the indian culture they are writing about.
I read the Hillerman stories for a while, then I got to one where
it just didn't work for me and I quit. All through I had some
problems with them and I'm not real sure what the problems were
now. Mostly I guess it was the author's attitude.

Bill
Chris F.A. Johnson
2017-07-04 06:01:54 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2017-06-30, Bill Gill wrote:
...
Post by Bill Gill
I read the Hillerman stories for a while, then I got to one where
it just didn't work for me and I quit. All through I had some
problems with them and I'm not real sure what the problems were
now. Mostly I guess it was the author's attitude.
I've just been re-reading some of Hillerman's books
(http://localhost/cfajohnson.com/books/jfr/?search=tony+Hillerman).

There are times when he accords the Navajo myths and legends a little
too much truth, but that seems to have lessened in his later novels.

I enjoy them partly because I spent three years in New Mexico when I
was in my teens (even though I lived a good distance away from Navajo
reservation) and enjoy books set in New Mexixo and Arizona because of
that.
--
Chris F.A. Johnson
Carol Harkness
2017-07-05 23:50:15 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On the topic of Hillerman's portrayal of Navajo culture, I've
encountered two opinions from people who knew the culture well, and they
agree: For an outsider, he does pretty well, but he doesn't really get
it. One of them, a white man who grew up and went to school on the
Navajo reservation through eighth grade, came back to run a trading post
for a year as an adult, and eventually became a professional
archaeologist, described Leaphorn as (paraphrasing) Hillerman in Navajo
dress, or a white man with a Navajo surface (my interpretation). He
said Chee came closer to real Navajos he had known but wasn't quite all
of the way there.

Another white man with a lot of Navajo background wrote an introduction
to one of Hillerman's books and said something similar. However, as I
recall, he finished with an observation about the popularity of the
novels on the reservation that matches this quote from the New York
Times' obituary for Hillerman:

For all the recognition he received, Mr. Hillerman once said, he was
most gladdened by the status of Special Friend of the Dineh (the Navajo
people) conferred on him in 1987 by the Navajo Nation. He was also proud
that his books were taught at reservation schools and colleges.

“Good reviews delight me when I get them,” he said. “But I am far more
delighted by being voted the most popular author by the students of St.
Catherine Indian school, and even more by middle-aged Navajos who tell
me that reading my mysteries revived their children’s interest in the
Navajo Way.”

I think popularity of the novels among the Navajos says more about their
authenticity than anything else.
Post by Carol Dickinson
Post by Bill Gill
Post by Carol Dickinson
I just finished a book by an author I had read before but this one featuring indigenous people in the first in a series. I've had it laying around forever. I had to wade through it.
And I realized that every book I read that features indigenous people is a wade. I think it is because I can't relate to them as they are written. They just don't seem real or authentic. And yet I come from a very racially diverse family with several different indigenous populations represented. Living in Alaska I've lived with persons from various tribal groups at school, at work, in my neighborhood, my religious community, just everywhere.
In my whole life, I've only read one book featuring indigenous people that I liked. It was so good I kept it to read again. And it was made into a so so TV movie. It was also the only one written by an indian.
I'm wondering if its just me or if there is something about these books that is just too "fake". And if it is because they've all been written by caucasians.
Does anybody else have experience with this disconnect?
The first author who comes to mind is Tony Hillerman with his
stories set among the southwestern indians. I haven't read any
of them recently, I think they were the Navajo.
Then of course there were Arthur Upfield's Boney books. I'm not
sure they reflected actual Aborigine culture. I did notice that
as time passed they became less biased.
Bill
So are you saying you experienced a disconnect in the Hillerman stories. I read one a long time ago and didn't care for it. But folks on Ram said I should try another because he was such a good writer, but I never have.
I just have the feeling no matter what writer I'm reading that they don't know the indian culture they are writing about.
Chris F.A. Johnson
2017-07-06 02:30:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Carol Harkness
On the topic of Hillerman's portrayal of Navajo culture, I've
encountered two opinions from people who knew the culture well, and they
agree: For an outsider, he does pretty well, but he doesn't really get
it. One of them, a white man who grew up and went to school on the
Navajo reservation through eighth grade, came back to run a trading post
for a year as an adult, and eventually became a professional
archaeologist, described Leaphorn as (paraphrasing) Hillerman in Navajo
dress, or a white man with a Navajo surface (my interpretation).
Or a Navajo who recognizes their myths and legends for what they are.
--
Chris F.A. Johnson
NewtLove
2017-07-05 23:30:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Hi Fellow RAMmers!
I've been a member of Rec.Arts.Mystery for a long time.

My breakthrough novel, thriller, How the Strong Survive, features Ben Pace, a Lakhota Indian who is living off-Rez in Maryland. It's available from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/How-Strong-Survive-Newton-Love-ebook/dp/B00DV2Q2LA/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Here is the blurb (written by my publisher):
When four rape victims come to Ben Pace — a Lakhota healer — Ben is given the task to help these women seek justice while, at the same time, aid them in their healing process. Only at the beginning of his spiritual development as a healer, Ben isn't sure how to help these women. After all, they are all white, and Ben is a Lakhota Sioux.

After much thought and spiritual preparation, Ben comes up with a plan to help the women take back the power that the serial rapist stole from them. The action they take, however, does not work as Ben had expected it to. Some of the women seem better, some worse, but none of them is completely healed. Is it because they are white and Ben was using Lakhota ways?

Though the women have suffered the same violation at the hands of the same perpetrator, the women have not reacted as Ben thought they would. And the serial rapist, despite Ben's carefully planned strategy, is still at large, protected by his family's tremendous wealth and political power.

Is the difference in cultures the problem? Are Ben's and the women's cultural and spiritual beliefs at such odds with each other that no healing can occur? Is the conflict between the cultures too great for Ben and the victims to cross the chasm and reach what they all seek: justice and healing.

In powerful writing and vivid descriptions that allow us a glimpse into the world of Lakhota beliefs and spirituality, Newton Love has given us a twist on the detective novel. Ben Pace is not Sherlock Holmes. Ben is a detective who is Lakhota, human, imperfect, but, according to Lakhota ways, honorable.

With memorable characters, an exciting plot, and stimulating dialogue, Love has created a new kind of detective while exploring the conflict between the Lakhota Way and other cultures' Ways.

It's a $2.99 e-book / $9.99 paperback.
Many people have enjoyed it. I'm very proud of the writing quality and lack of plot holes that I read in other novels.

Thank you for considering my novel.
Loading...