Wandering Stars by  Tommy Orange

Wandering Stars

Tommy Orange

The blended family of Cheyenne grandmothers, Opal and Jacquie, search for their identity and place in modern society. The brutal history of their people takes its toll on their grandsons – especially Orvil, who was shot after attending a Powwow and is consequently addicted to pills. This is not an easy read – but it is powerful and affecting and all the people this story were of flesh and blood to me.


It was one thing to be grateful for the ancestors, and another thing to know them on the page. I always felt like we didn't do good enough. That our family line was in some way weak. And yes weakened by the effects of history, colonization, historical trauma. But also not strong enough to pass down the traditions or language successfully. Because we lacked something. I hadn't considered everything that had happened. How far back it'd been happening to us. We come from prisoners of a long war that didn't stop even when it stopped. Was still being fought when my mom helped take over Alcatraz. I was part of the fight too. So were my grandchildren. But surviving wasn't enough. To endure or pass through endurance test after endurance test only ever gave you endurance test passing abilities. Simply lasting was great for a wall, for a fortress, but not for a person.

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