by Oscar Hokeah
A moving and deeply engaging novel about a young Native American man as he learns to find strength in his familial identity.
Told in a series of voices, Calling for a Blanket Dance takes us into the life of Ever Geimausaddle through the multigenerational perspectives of his family as they face myriad obstacles. His father's injury at the hands of corrupt police, his mother's struggle to hold on to her job and care for her husband, the constant resettlement of the family, and the legacy of centuries of injustice all intensify Ever's bottled-up rage. Meanwhile, all of Ever's relatives have ideas about who he is and who he should be. His Cherokee grandmother urges the family to move across Oklahoma to find security; his grandfather hopes to reunite him with his heritage through traditional gourd dances; his Kiowa cousin reminds him that he's connected to an ancestral past. And once an adult, Ever must take the strength given to him by his relatives to save not only himself but also the next generation of family.
How will this young man visualize a place for himself when the world hasn't given him a place to start with? Honest, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, Calling for a Blanket Dance is the story of how Ever Geimausaddle found his way to home.
"With intricate prose and unflinching vernacular, Oscar Hokeah chronicles a family and a community. We learn trials and aspirations for each generation, and witness what is woven into complicated arrival. We need these characters and their testimonies. But more than that, we crave -I crave--this kind of honest storytelling. These rhythms. These dances. This beauty. This welcoming to a place where the people speak and are unafraid." -- Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, author of The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
"Hokeah's prose is punchy and descriptive, filled with Native American words and phrases that come naturally to the characters. This blending of languages is still uncommon in contemporary fiction, but the current Indigenous literary and cultural renaissance promises that more voices will grow this singularity into a rich multitude. But of course, renaissance is the wrong word to use here. Hokeah, who is of Mexican heritage as well as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, shows that this tradition has been here the whole time, evolving and surviving." -- BookPage
"The characters that populate Calling for a Blanket Dance are real, amazing, vulnerable and beautiful in their flaws and, even despair--Oscar Hokeah unveils their suffering and joy, their struggle to live with honor, care for family, walk right. What an accomplishment. Few writers have the courage or craft to pull this off. Oscar Hokeah beats the drum and stomps, announcing his power is back, the people have returned with powerful stories. He weaves a tale that is unforgettable and fortifying. I couldn't put the book down." -- Jimmy Santiago Baca, author of A Place to Stand
About the Author:
Oscar Hokeah is a citizen of Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma from his mother's side and has Mexican heritage through his father. He holds an MA in English with a concentration in Native American Literature from the University of Oklahoma, as well as a BFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), with a minor in Indigenous Liberal Studies. He is a recipient of the Truman Capote Scholarship Award through IAIA and is also a winner of the Native Writer Award through the Taos Summer Writers Conference. His short stories have been published in South Dakota Review, American Short Fiction, Yellow Medicine Review, Surreal South, and Red Ink Magazine. He works with Indian Child Welfare in Tahlequah.