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On the Rez (2000)

de Ian Frazier

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574832,331 (3.82)24
A great writer's journey of exploration in an American place that is both strange and deeply familiar. In Ian Frazier's bestselling Great Plains, he described meeting a man in New York City named Le War Lance, "an Oglala Sioux Indian from Oglala, South Dakota." In On the Rez, Frazier returns to the plains and focuses on a place at their center-the Pine Ridge Reservation in the prairie and badlands of South Dakota, home of the Oglala Sioux. Frazier drives around "the rez" with Le War Lance and other Oglalas as they tell stories, visit relatives, go to powwows and rodeos and package stores, and try to find parts to fix one or another of their on-the-verge-of-working cars. On the Rez considers Indian ideas of freedom and community and equality that are basic to how we view ourselves. Most of all, he examines the Indian idea of heroism-its suffering and its pulse-quickening, public-spirited glory. On the Rez portrays the survival, through toughness and humor, of a great people whose culture has shaped our American identity.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 8 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Another one of those "3 or 4?" reviews. Frazier is engaging and sympathetic, and the prose is excellent, but the book has some real flaws. The structure of the book feels loose; while it very roughly follows a chronological path of his own experiences (using them as a trunk from which to branch off) it has a tendency to feel meandering as it goes off onto the branches. Frazier is honest in showing that this is a portrait of the Oglala through his own eyes--he doesn't make a pretense of it being purely objective. Again, the flip side is that at times his own experiences and biases are too present, obscuring the reader from a view of what he's trying to portray. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
Some parts are totally engrossing, others are not. I'd like to finish this one day...so far I'm only at a chunk a year rate. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
On the Rez details the author's experiences on the Pine Ridge reservation.
  yellerreads | Jul 10, 2018 |
Sitting in a safe suburban envelope, people would be surprised to find a third world country existed just a short drive from their haven of ease and prosperity. In an age when the biggest concern for many is what the Kardashian’s posted, or capturing their most recent meal with a phone picture, it’s beyond comprehension that people would be living with dirt floors, no indoor plumbing, no running water, and no electricity. But such places exist. In some cases, what they lack in socio-economic status, they make up for in cultural or natural beauty. Though nothing can completely make up for the poverty and educational wasteland that is the modern-day Indian reservation – the rez.

If you’re liberal sensitivities bristle at the term “Indian” above, Ian Frazier’s [On the Rez] will set you straight. His experience is the same as mine – Native American or Indigenous People are not terms people on the rez use to refer to themselves. Indian is the proud label of choice, if you’re looking for one. And while Frazier focuses on the Pine Ridge rez, where the Oglala live – you know them as Sioux – he could be writing about any rez. The alcohol addiction and poverty and death rate is the same in South Dakota as it is in Nevada or New Mexico or New York. So is the cultural pride and gritty survival instinct and fierce family loyalty.

Frazier, as an outsider, can’t help but be struck by the incongruity of having an entire race relegated to confined tracks of land in a country known for being the “Home of the Free.” Free, yes, in theory, even if lacking in the things that modern civilizations now assume are part of that freedom. His rez, and most you’d visit, have more in common with the tribal lands in Afghanistan or Pakistan than the country where they exist. But Frazier, because of his own openness in developing and maintaining friendships, is granted a level of inclusion. And from this inside perspective, he documents the nobility of the people he finds on the rez, and the tragedy that often infects the life there.

[On the Rez] will give you a primer on history and US government relations in Indian Country, the nature of social unrest in the turbulent 1960’s, and changes on the rez with the advent of Indian gaming operations. Given the book’s date of publication, 2000, the latter could do with an update, as casinos were only just starting to affect the cultural and economic lives of most tribes at the time. But the most important thing Frazier does with the book is to put a deeply human face to places that most people only have stereotypical ideas about.

Bottom Line: Accurate and moving depiction of places that no one really knows about in America. Surprising in its humanity.

4 ½ bones!!!!! ( )
3 vota blackdogbooks | Aug 10, 2017 |
An outsider's view of insiders. Difficult to do. ( )
  pilarflores | Dec 22, 2010 |
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A great writer's journey of exploration in an American place that is both strange and deeply familiar. In Ian Frazier's bestselling Great Plains, he described meeting a man in New York City named Le War Lance, "an Oglala Sioux Indian from Oglala, South Dakota." In On the Rez, Frazier returns to the plains and focuses on a place at their center-the Pine Ridge Reservation in the prairie and badlands of South Dakota, home of the Oglala Sioux. Frazier drives around "the rez" with Le War Lance and other Oglalas as they tell stories, visit relatives, go to powwows and rodeos and package stores, and try to find parts to fix one or another of their on-the-verge-of-working cars. On the Rez considers Indian ideas of freedom and community and equality that are basic to how we view ourselves. Most of all, he examines the Indian idea of heroism-its suffering and its pulse-quickening, public-spirited glory. On the Rez portrays the survival, through toughness and humor, of a great people whose culture has shaped our American identity.

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Mitjana: (3.82)
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