REINVENTING THE ENEMY'S LANGUAGE

An anthology of stories and songs by and of Native American women

Edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY, 1997

"REINVENTING THE ENEMY'S LANGUAGE" represents a tone in the universe that has been silenced for far too long. It is the harmony of diverse native women's intellectual, creative, and emotional genius that has always been alive, only our access to it has been limited (by Americas's mythology of itself) or diffused (by male privilege and Eurocentrism). It is a tribute to the Indian mothers who raised these women, and, in turn, their mothers back to antiquity, and from this moment on, it is for the daughters to come who will carry on in a world where, as I have been told, 'Indian work' is the hardest." - Gloria Bird

"This collection of contemporary native women's writings includes eighty-seven writers from many and varied tribes and backgrounds, from the Tohono O'odham people born at the southern border of the United States to the Athabascan near the Arctic Circle.

"We are coming out of one or two centuries of war, a war that hasn't ended. Many of us at the end of the century are using the 'enemy language' with which to tell our truths, to sing, to remember ourselves during these troubled times." - Joy Harjo

"As women writers, we should note how native women's 'voice' has been shaped by the people who have control over the narrative production, and have functioned as editors. Often, the voice of tribal, land-based women writers with ties to community, history, and language has been marginalized and silenced by those who control what is published. Native writers have not been well served by this process." - Gloria Bird

"The literature of the aboriginal people of North America defines America. It is not exotic. The concerns are particular, yet often universal. Anyone of these lands shares in the making of this literature, this history, these connections, these songs. It is a connection taken in with our mother's blood and milk, constructed of the very earth on which we stand." - Joy Harjo

This book popped out at me while I galloped through the Internet looking for poetry, first in a women's page and more completely in the publisher's page. Within the pages I found stories of courage and heartbreak, loving and dying, despair and empowerment, pregnant with poignant descriptions laced with irony, laughter, conviction and anger. True stories. Read them and weep and laugh and sympathize and hate the history that was romanticized so brutally. Buy one copy for yourself and get your library to buy one for readers who haven't the desire to hunt for themselves. -