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by D.D.A

A SELECTION OF PIECES -- essays, speeches, poems, letters, and songs -- comprises Songs for the People: Teachings on the Native Way (NC Press, 192 pages, $14.95 paper) by Arthur Solomon, a Nishnawbe (Ojibwa) elder. The book documents a life full of economic, political, and spiritual activism on behalf of Native people. Solomon has seen the workings of the Department of Indian Affairs and prison, churches, and capitalism, and has worked to make them less oppressive, less racist, and more humane, at least where Native people are involved. He has also been a husband and father, although the book, in its selection and introductions to chapters, gives us too little of this human context. The book gives LIS too much of the spiritual teacher ranting against the Great Evil One that rules mainstream Society, and not enough of the preacher r or by (only the pieces clarified by anger or by apocalyptic vision are compelling as writing: despite the format, there is really not much poetry here) or the trickster who says: "I don`t believe that life was given for us to ... celebrate together in a final orgy of death; / After all, I`m only seventy one years old and much / Too young and good looking to die yet." So are we all.

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