For my AIS (American Indian Studies) class we have to read a lot of books. I just finished the last one today and wanted to talk a little about it. The book is:
In Search of April Raintree.
This was the only work of fiction out of the books we read. It’s about two sisters who are half-Metis, which is a group of Indians who lived in the sub-arctic. The story takes place in Canada and the two children are separated when they are taken from their alcoholic parents and placed in different foster homes. It follows their lives and how they each come to a time in their life when they make a choice to either embrace their ancestry or disown it. April, the narrator of the book, was born with fair skin and was therefore never identified as being an Indian when she was with white friends. Ashamed of her background, she assumes the life of a white person and marries into a rich white family.
The other sister, Cheryl, was born with darker skin and has much more Indian features. She grows up to embrace her Indian heritage and takes up the fight for improving the public image of her people. She tries to convince April of the worth of the Metis and that they are not a bad people, but she never believes what Cheryl has to say. Living on opposite ends of the spectrum, the two sisters eventually are reunited and move in together when they grow up. However, conflict between the two soon intensifies and leads to tragedy.
I thought this was a pretty good book and read it all in about three days. I’d recommend this for anyone looking for an interesting read. It has some good info about the Metis Indians also, although it doesn’t go into great detail about how their ancestors lived. Mostly the book shows what it is like to grow up as a “half-breed,”: half Indian, half white; receiving the shortcomings of both races while receiving the benefits of neither. Racism and discrimination are powerful issues dealt with in this book, so it’s probably not a “light” read, although it is an exciting one.
One more thing, not book related: I got an effect board from my guitar teacher on Saturday! I asked if he had a delay pedal I could borrow for week and instead he gave me this: