“I had mixed feelings about this story. First, I must say that being Native American myself, I naturally look for a writer’s ability to present the characters and their actions and speech as authentic. And for the most part, I found it in this story. The relaxed, almost lacksidaisical nature many natives display amongst themselves is evident in the dialogue and scenes.
The writing style was somewhat choppy in places, but I understood this to be evidence of a young voice narrating the tale. There are plenty of terms and descriptions of skateboarding which I found a little distracting. For me they were unnecessary but they were within descriptive scenes displaying more about the character’s personality, attachments, and were at a key point in story development.
I work with Native American children and teens in the community I’m in and will certainly recommend they read “Riders on the Rez”. I would greatly like to know their impression of this somewhat “coming of age” story, and hopefully it may prompt them to write their own stories.
As a whole, I found “Riders on the Rez” to be a noteworthy story even though Native spirituality isn’t an easy concept for many people to understand, as most either over-complicate it or alternatively see it as primitive. It simply is what it is.”
Blurb: When Billy Tsosie meets his relatives on the Navajo Reservation he does not quite know how to fit in. His Mom has never told him anything at all about about Dine traditions and he is sure that his older cousin Danny looks down on him because of it. But when Billy gets into a fight at the Kayenta Skateboard Park, it is Danny who comes to his rescue.
Extended Description: Young skateboarder Billie Tsosie is quick to take on kids who tease him about his Native American heritage, and equally quick to jump into a fight with the kid who kicks his little cousin, Shawna.
When his mother takes him to visit the Navajo reservation and he interacts with his “rellies” for the first time in his short life, he finds out that he has a heritage to be proud of. Through the teaching of his older cousins, his uncles, and Spiderwoman, he comes to understand the meaning of hozho, the Navajo term for walking in consciousness and beauty.
Published: Jan. 02, 2011
Category: Fiction » Children’s Books » Fiction
Words: 6173 (approximate)
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