Stories of Cultural Conflict
GROWING UP NATIVE AMERICAN: AN ANTHOLOGY Edited by Patricia Riley William Morrow & Co., 333 pp., $23
EARTH SONG, SKY SPIRIT: SHORT STORIES OF THE CONTEMPORARY NATIVE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Edited by Clifford E. Trafzer Doubleday, 495 pp., $25
`IN the books available to me as a child,'' writes editor Patricia Riley in the introduction to ``Growing Up Native American: An Anthology,'' ``Native Americans were usually exotic, cultural artifacts from the past, the stereotypical `Vanishing Americans,' sometimes portrayed as romantic or noble, but always backward savages on their way out, and soon to be no more.''
Riley's book and another, ``Earth Song, Sky Spirit: Short Stories of the Contemporary Native American Experience,'' shatter this long-held belief. Both collections offer diverse selections of short stories by native-American writers who explore the issues, traditions, and culture that have shaped the native-American experience.
Although the stories touch on some of the same themes and several authors appear in both works, each book offers something different.
``Growing Up Native American'' is the shorter of the two, with 22 pieces by native Americans from 15 different Indian nations across the United States and Canada. The most interesting aspect of this book is its autobiographical accounts from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Several native-American writers tell haunting tales of how they were plucked from their families and forced by the US government to attend boarding schools where they were often treated brutally.