This volume seeks to enrich teachers' and students' understanding of the fictional world Louise Erdrich creates and to address the challenges of teaching her novels and poetry. The first part of the book provides background readings that establish a context for teaching Erdrich and acquaint teachers with Native American traditions, history, customs, and culture--especially those of the Ojibwe, or Chippewa. In the second section, experienced teachers of Erdrich discuss the strategies they use to engage students in a sometimes unfamiliar world. Essays provide information on Erdrich's tribe, the Turtle Mountain Chippewa of North Dakota, and an overview of tribal history for the past 150 years; sort through Erdrich's large cast of fictional characters, with their complicated family ties and clan relationships; examine her collaborative relationship with her late husband, Michael Dorris; and offer analysis, cultural references, and approaches to teaching Erdrich's most widely anthologized poems.
About the Author
Greg Sarris is author of an award-winning collection of short stories, Grand Avenue (1994), which he adapted and acted as co-executive producer with Robert Redford for the HBO miniseries of the same name. He currently is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Writing and Literature at Loyola Marymont University and is serving his sixth elected term as chairman of his tribe, the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria Connie A. Jacobs teaches composition, American and southwest literature, and cultural studies at San Juan College, where she is associate professor. Her publications include articles on Louise Erdrich and Esther Belin and a book, The Novels of Louise Erdrich: Stories of Her People (2001). She is currently working on a collaborative project that examines images of Native Americans in children's literature. James R. Giles is professor of English at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb. He is the author Violence in the Contemporary American Novel: An End of Innocence (2000); The Naturalistic Inner-City Novel in American: Encounters with the Fat Man (1995); Understanding Hubert Selby, Jr. (1998); Confronting the Horror: The Novels of Nelson Algren (1989); and Irwin Shaw: A Study of the Short Fiction (1983). He is also the author of the Twayne Authors series volumes on Claude McKay, James Jones, and Irwin Shaw.