Finally Available! — To Walk the Red Road

Finally — for those of you who have asked over the years — I have gotten permission to reprint TO WALK THE RED ROAD: MEMORIES OF THE RED LAKE OJIBWE PEOPLE. This is the book of oral history and historical photographs that the students at Red Lake high school collected as part of a project that I directed on the reservation in the late 1980’s. It is the book that brought me to Dan’s attention and became the impetus for the journey that resulted in Neither Wolf nor Dog.

Immediately after the publication of Neither Wolf nor Dog I began receiving inquiries about To Walk the Red Road because of the fact that Dan made mention of it in Neither Wolf nor Dog. I would direct people to Red Lake High School or the tribal archives at Red Lake, since the school held the copyright. But since we had printed so few of them and they had become so popular around the reservation and throughout Indian country, there were none to be had.

School districts are not notoriously wealthy entities, and those on reservations are especially poor. So there has been no money to reprint the book. But now, the school district has granted me permission to reprint a limited number on my own.

I am making them available to you through my sisters’ website, http://wolfnordog.com/. Go there and click on What’s New and follow your way down the text to the place where you can order To Walk the Red Road.

What you will find in this book is the voices of ordinary folks talking about their upbringing and their memories of what their elders told them. There are stories that range from one man’s memory of his grandfather being brought home on a travois after a battle with the Sioux to a woman’s recollection of making a joke to a white woman in a store that had the white woman believing that the Red Lakers made soup out of dogfood.

What makes these stories so wonderful is that they were told to the young people. These were not people talking to an anthropologist or professional interviewer. These are the parents’ and grandparents’ memories and teachings that they want their own children and grandchildren to hear.

I want this book to get out to the general public, so I will probably reprint this post several times in the future. If I don’t, it will simply scroll into obscurity, and new visitors to the website will not be aware of this wonderful treasure that is finally available to them.

I will also post a bit more about the book in the next few weeks. I’d like to share a few stories about its creation with all of you.

So, if you’re interested, go to http://wolfnordog.com/ and order your copy. You can, of course, order it as part of a gift box or basket or with Neither Wolf nor Dog if you know someone to whom you’d like to give Neither Wolf nor Dog and the book that helped bring it into being.

And to all of you who have waited — thanks for your patience.

2 comments

  1. Karen says:

    Hi There Nerb…
    I still remember when we were working on putting these books together. We all had no clue as to what we were doing but it sure came off alright! It was fun to be able to dig through all those archives and read all the stories, trying to figure out where to put it in the book… I am so glad that it is now able to be reprinted so everyone can can get a real taste of “the rez life”. All too often the only things people hear from Red Lake are negative, media ‘enriched’ stories of tragedy and hardship – releasing this book to those who have only seen that side of Red Lake will be such a refreshing change. We here have a wonderful sense of humor and a strong sense of perserverance in the face of adversity – this book shows that side of Red Lake wonderfully.

    I found an old newspaper article from 4/90 with our pictures and the headline “Red Lake High School Students Write Second Book” and it brought back a lot of memories… I am so glad that the first book is being released so it can be shared with those who missed it the first time – I still have my copies and read through them quite often.

    Congratulations!!

  2. John LeBlanc says:

    Hello, I just wanted to say that I am very excited to have found a way to obtain this book! I have been searching for it ever since my wife Willow told me about it. Willow is very excited as well because she hasn’t seen the book in so many years. She told me some of the stories she had which were included in the book. I am so anxious to read hers as well as all of the other stories. I read a copy of “We Choose to Remember” last year but have yet to read “To Walk the Red Road”. Thank you for providing a way to purchase the book and thank you for providing at least one good and memorable high school experience for Willow!

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