From Sand Creek


Author:
Simon J. Ortiz
Grade Levels:
Twelve, College, University
Nation:
Pueblo, Southwest
Book Type:
Paperback
Pages:
93
Publisher:
University of Arizona Press

Price:
Sale price$20.50

Description

From Sand Creek is a cycle of poems by Acoma Pueblo poet and storyteller Simon J. Ortiz. This collection first published in 1981 is based on Ortiz's personal sense of American history as it relates to Native Americans. Inspired to write about a horrendous event from 1864 when US military massacred Cheyenne and Arapaho women and children who had gathered at Sand Creek under a US flag this poetry collection pays tribute to their memory. Ortiz was a US military veteran who recuperated during the 1970s in a Veterans hospital located in Fort Lyons, Colorado on the site where these US troops under Colonel John Chivington were headquartered. This atrocity from past American Indian history resonated in Ortiz as he contemplated American injustices performed under the ideal of Manifest Destiny to Native People and others including those from Vietnam. Ortiz accompanies each poem with an epigraph often a single sentence headline that sets the mood and context for each poem. Poems reflect this historical connection to Black Kettle's band and their losses to his personal experiences as a Native American man trying to live his life in contemporary America. One poem draws an interesting picture familiar to many Native People, that of shopping in a Salvation Army store and being suspected of shoplifting by store security. Native Americans are not the only victims in Ortiz's view. American society is also victimized by their political masters and beliefs and all people are in need of healing so that we can assume our shared responsibility for our collective future. Some may find the poems bleak and grim but Ortiz sees hope for the future. This hope can be fueled by compassion. This collection of poems takes an historical tragedy from America's collective past to make comment on contemporary Native People and their future.

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