Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge, Viet Cong at Wounded KneeMay 15th, 2005 | By cclark | Category: 16-4: International Indigenous Education, Media Reviews
Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge
by Vic Glover
Native Voices, Summertown, TN (2004)
Viet Cong at Wounded Knee
by Woody Kipp
University of Nebraska Press (2004)
Reviews by Chip Clark
Vic Glover and Woody Kipp grew up on Northern Plains reservations (Pine Ridge and Blackfeet), spent time in Viet Nam during their military service, and found their way to careers that include teaching and writing. These two books, while in some ways quite different, give voice to their similar life stories.
Viet Cong at Wounded Knee, the Trail of a Blackfeet Activist is a biography laced with keen observation and opinion. Kipp’s style is clear and direct with no punches pulled, as he recounts his life’s journey through critical turning points and encounters with racism and alcoholism.
He chronicles a pivotal time in Native American history, including his participation in the 1972 occupation of Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Washington, DC, and the stand-off at Wounded Knee. Kipp is an English instructor at Blackfeet Community College.
Keeping Heart On Pine Ridge is a collection of Vic Glover’s essays depicting aspects of reservation life with warmth and wonderfully understated humor. Rez dogs, rez cars, rez death, rez roads: They are all illuminated here. While many of the essays are autobiographical, the focus is not so much on Glover’s life as on the details of contemporary reservation life.
For non-Indian readers these books provide a quick, sometimes painfully accurate insight into contemporary Indian life and issues. For Indian readers they describe familiar territory. For Indian students they provide examples of two very different writing styles and, perhaps, the inspiration to find their own voices.
Chip Clark is an organization development consultant who has worked with TCJ, AIHEC, and Diné College.