Rosen, K., Ed. (1975). The man to send rain clouds: contemporary stories by American Indians. New York, Vintage Books.
Works of contemporary fiction by American Indians are apparently a rarity. This anthology edited by Rosen of nineteen works by seven authors from different tribes should provide a rich exposure to young and old alike.
Leslie Silko http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Marmon_Silko is well represented in this collection with seven of her works, all of which are written beautifully.
1) Uncle Tony’s Goat, in particular, is highly relevant to young readers, with a protagonist who is seven years old. The close bond Uncle Tony has with his goat and his reaction to his goat’s misbehavior and escape is interesting and heartwarming.
2) The Man to Send Rain Clouds talks about the death of an old grandfather and how his kinsmen go about burying him the Indian way without the service of a Catholic priest, except for the sprinkling of holy water, but for a reason that serves the Indian culture.
3) Yellow Woman weaves aspects of an old Indian legend into a real life event, giving it a surreal quality that can be disconcerting but challenging for a growing mind.
4) Tony’s Story by Silko ...and The Killing of a State Cop by Simon J. Ortiz http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_J._Ortiz ... are about the problematic tension caused by prejudice and unfair treatment of the Indians by the U.S. government officials.
5) A Geronimo Story should interest all who are eager to read a work produced by an Indian writer on this famous historic Indian chief.
6) Bravura by Silko contains a hint of anti-Semitism in a remark made by the narrator but it is the only example in the entire collection.
7) An extract from Humaweepi, the Warrior Priest, also by Silko, exhibits a lyrical treatment of Indian spirituality.
Ortiz’s The San Franciso Indians and Kaiser and the War both treat as their subject the tragic outcome of Indians caught between two worlds, their own and that of the United States.
Zuma Chowt’s Cave by Opal Lee Opkes is a curious and humorous treatment of the same theme, with a military deserter taken captive by Indian women who live in a cave as recluse.
Overall, these different stories weave together a world that is highly representative of the Native American state of mind, making this book worthy of attention.
Due to the unfamiliar multicultural content, this collection is suited for mature 9th graders and up, however, it should be accessible to an 8th grader of Native American ethnicity or someone with an exposure to the old world culture, Asian, Mid-Eastern, African, or European.