I don’t know where I picked this book up. Probably from my Little Free Library. I cannot praise and recommend it enough. Set in North Dakota in the early 1950s, it takes us into the lives of Native Americans struggling to survive and preserve their traditional beliefs and way of living, while fighting the U.S. government to retain their right to live on the land that has been their home for as long as they know.
Thomas is the night watchman at a factory that manufactures jewel bearings for use by the Defense Department and in the manufacture of watches. In the long hours of the night, he writes letters to authorities in support of the rights of his people, especially against the policy of “termination,” a resolution before Congress which would essentially end the reservation system and any government protection of native peoples.
Thomas’s niece is Pixie, who wants now to be called “Patrice.” Patrice is on her own path, valuing the ways of her family and ancestors, while struggling to improve their lives at the same time.
This book is beautifully written, pulling you into the cold North Dakota nights with a sky full of stars. The story vividly tells the story of two cultures in opposition to each other in so many ways: spiritually, materially, linguistically, and just the ways of looking at life.
I came away wanting to know more. We cannot undo the past, but we can always learn from it.