Dancing My Dream
By Warren Petoskey
David Crumm Media, LLC | 164 pp | $14.95
Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Entertainment. Discussion »
Throughout history American Indians have been known as storytellers. For centuries American Indians passed their history to one generation to the next through oral communication.
In recent years more American Indians have been willing to share their stories in writing so that their life stories can be passed down in their own words for this and future generations.
Fortunately, Warren Petoskey, Odawa/Lakotah, is one such American Indian who was willing to tell his story by writing a book called "Dancing My Dream." Petoskey lives in Michigan and is a tribal citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, based in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
Published by David Crumm Media, llc and available through Amazon, "Dancing My Dream" is a poignant story of Petoskey's journey of self-discovery. The many life challenges many American Indians face in modern times are peppered throughout the short and concise book. While Petoskey writes candidly about his life challenges as a modern Indian man, one gets the sense he was able to survive and even thrive because of the challenges.
Adversity can be a character builder. "Dancing My Dream" is not a book of victimization, but one of triumph over adversity.
His story is poignant because of the challenges he faced growing up with a father who was an alcoholic. Petoskey writes about the physical abuse he endured and rejection of his alcoholic father.
Several chapters are devoted to the sordid tales of boarding schools when the federal government purposely adopted a policy to "kill the Indian in him, but save the man "
Though Petoskey was not part of the boarding school system, he discusses the ramifications American Indian families have suffered as the result of being separated from their familial homes and placed in boarding schools.
Petoskey makes a convincing argument that his father, as well as many American Indians, turned to alcohol as a means to deal with the historical trauma as the result of boarding schools. Several members of his father's family were taken from their homes and put into boarding schools.
For Petoskey his journey to find himself involved becoming a Christian. He was baptized in Jesus name in a Pentecostal church, a church where his wife already was a member. Petoskey merged his Christian faith with practicing the traditional American Indian practices. He also has gained much strength from his wife of over forty years.
"Dancing My Dream" was a great read and should be read by those who want to know about modern struggles of American Indians and how to overcome.
From "Dancing My Dream"
Peace is a baby's breath on your cheek while she sleeps nestled against your chest.
Peace is the warm memories of those who touched your life and went on in their journey.
Peace is knowing who you are and where you come from.
Peace is knowing that it is okay to be who you are.
Peace is the soft breezes that drift by while you are listening to the thrushes sing their evening song.
Peace is an Elder's voice offering words of wisdom.
Peace is knowing the truth.
Peace is family around you.
Peace is your children celebrating life with you.
Peace is the sound of the drums and the rhythm bells of the dancers in the dance.
Peace is spending the day with your wife and drinking coffee.
Peace is praying near the council fires in honor of a memory of a time long ago.
Peace is having the memory and dancing in honor of it.
Peace is corn soup and frybread with friends.
Peace is the snow and the rain.
Peace is hearing the loving voices of grandchildren calling, as only they can, "Grandpa!"
Peace is standing in the presence of the Creator without fear.
Peace is having a grandson come and ask you to help him with his regailia because he wants to dance.
Peace is having the opportunity to hug your mother and father in their old age and say one more time, "I love you!"
Peace is having friends like you to share feelings with and to heart the beautiful words from your hearts.
I am humbled today by all that I have encountered here.
posted September 22, 2012 7:00 am edt
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