So there's an entire Alternate (Native) History of the United States still waiting to be writing.
Oh yes. So much waiting to be unearthed.
What is your next book about?
I've just completed a novel. It's called Drowning in Fire and it should be out by the end of 2001. There's a collection of novellas I'm working on now, a different kind of Indian story, a piece of historical fiction. There was this Cherokee playwright who wrote a play called The Green Growth of Lilacs which was turned into the musical film Oklahoma. Her name was Lynn Rig and she went on to write screenplays for Hollywood, work with Bette Davis, so it's a really interesting look at the Cherokee mind in a Western environment in that period. There are other stories like that of other realities.
And do you find your Native identity to be an advantage when submitting a manuscript to publishers?
It's a mixed bag, a blessing and a curse. There's often a lot of interest but for all the wrong reasons. Publishers expect the book to be some kind of exoticized Indian fiction, not really a realistic insight.
That sounds very similar to the attitude to Indian writers until very recently. So perhaps there are similarities between the two kinds of 'Indian' writers after all!
I've been very impressed by the depth and amount of interest in Native Literature by Indians I've met on this trip. It's like a great hunger for knowledge about Native writing. I hope it continues.