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NIGHT WATCHMAN
Bibliophile price: £4.50
Based on the author's own grandfather, the character of Thomas Wazhushk lovingly hops off the page in a story with beautifully crafted characters against the backdrop of an impoverished reservation. It is 1953 and Thomas is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an 'Emancipation Bill', but it isn't about freedom, it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal? Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Pixie 'Patrice' Paranteau has no desire to wear herself down on a husband and kids. She works at the factory, earning barely enough to support her mother and brother, let alone her alcoholic father who sometimes returns home to bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny she can get if she's ever going to get to Minnesota to find her missing sister Vera. The author's restless eye captures the reservation's hard scrabble life and rich traditions with plenty about their lore and superstitions used by the tribe as they gradually acquire education. Handsome large softback, 451pp.

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