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Book Discussion Series Opens With ‘Fools Crow’

“Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma” book discussion series at Oklahoma City University will open with “Fools Crow” by James Welch at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 in the Walker Center room 151 at N.W. 26th Street and Florida Avenue. The discussion is free to the public.

The series is funded by grants from the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Noted for its use of language, “Fools Crow” is set among the Blackfeet Indians in northwestern Montana. Welch reconstructs customs and a way of life that has been handed down for centuries as the tribe confronts the onslaught of the white man, manifest destiny and smallpox. The title character must go on a vision quest to find his personal powers and become an adult. Along the way, Welch shows the difference between Indian and non-Indian beliefs.

Harbor Winn, director of OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Study through Film and Literature, will facilitate the discussion. At each session in the series, a humanities scholar makes a presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussions follow with experienced discussion leaders. At the end, all participants come together for a brief wrap-up.

Winn explained that the purpose of this season’s series is to explore the true and various cultures of Native American tribes, and perhaps unravel some popular misconceptions.

“In this series, Native American novelists update the stories of tribes that continue to live in their home territories,” Winn said. “Movies like ‘Dances with Wolves’ and ‘Geronimo’ end with bedraggled Indians riding into the sunset. But what really happened to them? This series explores that question.”

All books in the series are written by Native American writers. They describe the struggle to maintain ancient traditions despite the mélange of cultures around them. Family history is set within the context of tribal history. The extended families, clans and tribes all have intricate interactions with the characters.

Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to preregister and borrow the reading selection and theme brochure by calling Winn at (405) 208-5472, e-mailing him at or dropping by the Dulaney-Browne Library room 211 or 207.

The other dates and books in the series are:

* Sept. 25 with “Mean Spirit” by Linda Hogan, discussion facilitated by OCU President Robert Henry

* Oct. 9 with “The Bingo Palace” by Louise Erdrich, discussion facilitated by Tracy Floreani

* Oct. 23 with “Medicine River” by Tomas King, discussion facilitated by Jim Buss

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