Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Little Town Tea's Book Corner
Leslie Silko's Gardens in the Dunes is my favorite Native American novel. It is a beautiful and tragic story that follows two sisters who are separated when they are forced into different away schools. I used this novel, along with three other novels, to write my final paper in my senior seminar class that dealt only with Native American literature. As I wrote in my paper, Sister Salt, the older of the sisters, is thought too old to be sent to the same school as her sister, Indigo; “the authorities judged Sister Salt to be too much older than the others to send away to Indian boarding school. There was hope the little ones might be educated away from their blankets. [. . .] Chances were she’d be a troublemaker and might urge the younger students to attempt escape” (67). Realizing that the older the person was the harder it would be to melt away their Native American identity, the authorities separated the two sisters, with neither having any knowledge about the other. While Indigo is taken away to a standard boarding school, Sister Salt is shipped away to somewhere that is loosely referred to as “a school.”
This book continues to follow each sister in her separate life and adventure. Leslie Silko, a Native American herself, does a fantastic job demonstrating the life a Native American girl on her own and what she would have to deal with at the time the story is set. It is an eye opening book with a story anyone would enjoy. I highly recommended picking up Silko's Gardens in the Dunes.