WE ARE PROUD TO INTRODUCE: Warren Petoskey and his American Indian memoir, “Dancing My Dream.” Click Here to jump to Amazon and order “Dancing My Dream” now.
For more than a year, ReadTheSpirit has worked with Warren Petoskey—a wise teacher, artist and writer—and a respected elder in the Lakotah and Odawa (or Ottawa) nations.
Only a few contemporary Indian writers have crossed over into the mainstream of American arts and letters. Among them is novelist and filmmaker Sherman Alexie, best known for “Smoke Signals.” Many widely available Native American books are either memoirs from the distant past or are produced by non-Indian writers.
Warren Petoskey is an important new voice, charting his own family’s dramatic experience of survival in American life. “Petoskey” now appears on U.S. maps as the name of a popular tourist destination along Lake Michigan. However, the Great Great Grandfather who tried to peacefully outwit encroaching Europeans did not fare as well as the successful city that now marks the family’s ancestral home. Warren now lives even farther north in an Indian community along the rugged and beautiful shores of Lake Superior.
This is a voice that will inspire anyone trying to survive trauma. In his memoir, Warren writes about combating the scourge of alcoholism and physical abuse within Indian families—much of it a legacy of the U.S.-government-run system of boarding schools that locked away Indian children and tried to remove all traces of their culture.
But this is not a depressing book! That’s because Warren’s spirit soars as he reclaims his family’s heritage and learns to overcome the wounds in his past.
Now an elder himself, Warren’s passion is to teach others—Indian and non-Indian—what it means to find spiritual power in the natural world and an awareness of God’s creative, renewing light in each generation.
“In the history of the world, we’ve seen the worst that Caligulas, Hitlers and Stalins can do to people. We know that there always will be those who choose violence in their greed and thirst for power. But I think we are called to stand together with people whose stories shine above this trauma and violence.
“As a part of the Odawa and Lakotah nations, I feel connected to men and women around the world who understand this vision. I feel connected with people like Stephen Biko, whose story was told in the movie ‘Cry Freedom.’ He stood against Apartheid and all the historical trauma in South Africa. He was killed, but his spirit still speaks to the whole world.
“I am Odawa and Lakotah, but I stand with the Navaho, the Chocktaw, the Cree and all the other nations still living among us in America.
“We live in a world now that is so loud and angry that we can no longer hear the call of our Creator. We have suppressed our spirituality and creativity. But, these gifts of the Creator still are there—waiting for us to reclaim them.
“I teach that we are all connected. We need each other. Those of us who have survived trauma must help others still hoping to survive. We must share our dreams from one generation to the next.
“And sometimes to clear our minds and our hearts, we also need to go off alone. This is our Indian way. Sometimes we need to stop and return to nature.
“Where can we find peace? When I am alone in the woods, walking carefully among the trees, I find peace as I become quiet enough—as I am, once again, listening closely enough—so that I can hear the mouse playing in the leaves around my feet. Then I know I am reconnected with our Creator.”
PLEASE, right now: Take a moment and visit the new “Dancing My Dream” Web site.
AND, STAY TUNED to ReadTheSpirit all this week for more stories and wisdom from Warren Petoskey! We’ll feature a full Conversation With Warren on Wednesday. And, right now, you can read more of his wise words at “Dancing My Dream.”
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(Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)