Louise Erdrich

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Louise Erdrich in 2015

Louise Erdrich (born Karen Louise Erdrich June 7, 1964) is an American author, novelist, poet, and children's author who features Native American themes in her writings.


  • Nothing. I was a model child. It was the teacher’s mistake I am sure. The box was drawn on the blackboard and the names of misbehaving children were written in it. As I adored my teacher, Miss Smith, I was destroyed to see my name appear. This was just the first of the many humiliations of my youth that I’ve tried to revenge through my writing. I have never fully exorcised shames that struck me to the heart as a child except through written violence, shadowy caricature, and dark jokes.
  • I started Future Home of the Living God sometime after the 2000 U.S. election. I was furious and worried. I saw the results of electing George W. Bush as a disaster for reproductive rights. Sure enough, he began by reinstating the global gag rule, which cuts international funding for contraceptives if abortion is mentioned. This, when we face overpopulation.

Interview with NPR (2020)[edit]

  • these treaties had been made since the beginning of our country on a nation-to-nation basis with every tribe. And they all contain these words, as long as the grass grows, as long as the rivers flow.
  • I'm a very mixed person. And yet, being a citizen of a nation within our nation gives one a certain sense of - it changes your life. It means that I care deeply about my people, my mother's people.
  • the reasoning behind the best schools being far away was to assimilate native children, to train them to live in a culture that was very different from their parents. So that when they came home, often children couldn't speak the language that their parents were speaking. I have to say right here that boarding schools are often characterized in sort of a lump definition, but they were all very different. And the government had secular boarding schools which underwent a real sea change in the 1930s and became much more supportive of native culture, while many of the boarding schools which were run by religious groups did not and remained hostile to native religion and native culture.
  • I've been asked by people, well, why wasn't that great? Why didn't people just want to move away from their reservation and become like everybody else? You know, I've been asked that question. It's a fair question. And the answer is because native people aren't like everybody else, and native people want to stay who we are, right? And that's because the government made a very firm decision not to put money into the infrastructure on reservations, not to keep the treaties. The treaties stated that they would provide for health, education and the general welfare of native people as they struggled into this new form of existence. And that was basically rent for all that the rest of the country enjoys; all of the lands, all of the rivers, all of the places that no longer belonged to Native Americans.
  • now there is a lot more awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women. And it hasn't - of course, it hasn't stopped. It's probably gotten worse.

If you should ever doubt that a series of dry words in a government document can shatter spirits and demolish lives, let this book (The Night Watchman) erase that doubt. Conversely, if you should be of the conviction that we are powerless to change those dry words, let this book give you heart.

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