the dance boots

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The Dance Boots

The book The Dance Boots, by Linda LeGarde Grover, is a compilation of stories told by various members of an Ojibwa family who continuously struggles with the challenges that many native American people face due to the white mans ever-changing world. The story starts with a elderly woman recounting the horrible events she witnessed and experienced at a native American boarding school, which was designed to break traditional Ojibwa beliefs and culture. She then passes the story on to her niece by the age old Ojibwa tradition of storytelling, and putting in her the importance of passing her stories on to her descendants, so that the history of the native American people does not go untold. Though this is technically a fictional story it portrays many issues that are completely realistic. Later in the book there is the story of a married couple who struggle with raising a family in poverty. Like we see many times a father working a full time job and the mother raising the family to produce an income that keeps their family living in a one room house doesn't always turn out to be good. With poverty taking hold on these people many of them turn to alcoholism and abuse to take out their frustrations with their financial situation. Alcoholism isn't the worst that is happening to the native American people due to extreme poverty levels. Teen suicide among native people is at an all time high and is the second leading cause of death for that age group alone, and is three times higher than any other minority group.

If this book showed me one thing its that if there is any one reason to blame for the terrible situations of these indigenous people, the blame lies solely on our ancestors. Granted it started long ago when Columbus first discovered this beautiful land and got greedy, but everyone after him holds their own share of blame themselves. People wonder why native people struggle with issues like alcoholism and...