"Just Talking About Ourselves": Voices of Our Youth, Vol. 3


110 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919441-82-3
DDC C810.8'09283





Edited by Marlena Dolan
Illustrations by Marlena Dolan
Reviewed by John Steckley

John Steckley teaches human studies at Hunter College in Toronto.


This anthology of short prose and poetry by more than 100 B.C. Native
writers between the ages of 7 and 20 offers a frighteningly clear window
into a world of prejudice, abuse, and parental and peer involvement with
alcohol and drugs. Many of the contributors write in mourning for those
who have died, often way too young. Even the small section entitled
“Love” contains a story, “The Raven,” in which a young man
laments the death of a girlfriend. It is not all gloom, however, and the
reader can take great hope in the young authors’ insights and their
determination to break the multigenerational chain of social ills that
plagues their people.

The quality of the writing is predictably uneven, and the editing is
amateurish. Notwithstanding these weaknesses, there are contributors of
extraordinary power. Two stories come immediately to mind. In “The Cry
of the Eagle,” a true story written by a Saulteaux youth, the writer
interweaves his discovery of some of the traditional strengths of his
people with the tragic, prejudice-caused death of his 7-year-old cousin.
“Slippy Stones,” written by a 13-year-old Gitksan girl, portrays a
girl’s entrapment in a world of abuse, drugs, teenage pregnancy, and
AIDS. Recommended.


“"Just Talking About Ourselves": Voices of Our Youth, Vol. 3,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/19083.