Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices

Lisa Charleyboy
Mary Beth Leatherdale
Target Age

“There is a lot of pressure on youth right now, everyone is telling you what you should be doing. Telling your own stories is empowering because self-expression is freedom – a way to find your own voice.”

-Danis Goulet (Cree/Métis) Filmmaker

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices is about voice. A compilation of personal stories from indigenous youth, the collection includes writers, artists, dancers, filmmakers, photographers and creative thinkers who are trying to make sense of their lives. Their experiences will resonate with both Native and Non-Native readers, because the act of hearing the struggles of one person gives insight into the struggles of all.

Editors, Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale, bring strong literary and cultural credentials to the work. They have selected and organized the entries well, resulting in a cohesive and flowing narrative. The book is divided into four sections: Roots, Battles, Medicines and Dreamcatchers. In Roots one senses strength, but in the dark pages of the Battles section the stories become angrier. The swirling picture collages of designer Inti Amaterasu are atmospheric, suggesting the alienation Native youth feel. But the book ends with hopes that are nothing less than heroic. The stories shared by Aboriginal superstars such as Olympic athlete Waneek Horn-Miller, acclaimed author Joseph Boyden and business entrepreneur Louie Gong are illuminating and inspiring.

Beautifully produced, this is a powerful book. Each reader will hear a different voice; one hopes that close listening will result in a choir of voices, each unique but singing a complementary melody.