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Crazy Dave
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Minnesota Historical Society Press
Pub Date: 2002
ISBN: 9780873514231
Basil Johnston
Crazy Dave
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Crazy Dave

by Basil Johnston

Through the story of his Uncle David and grandmother Rosa, native writer and storyteller Basil Johnston offers an unforgettable portrait of reservation life and pays loving tribute to his family, community, and culture. David, the last of Rosa's five sons, was born with Down syndrome. Unable to care for himself, he and the indomitable Rosa were to be forever bound together, joined by love and necessity in a life already defined by harsh, sometimes tragic circumstances. And yet, David was remarkable. Strong, stubborn, and utterly determined, he aspired to learn, to be a part of a world in which he would never entirely belong. In that regard, he was and remains a poignant and unsettling reflection of his people, who had fled Wisconsin in the 1830s to seek sanctuary with the Ojibway farther north in what became Canada. With great resourcefulness and integrity, they struggled to sustain and preserve families, a language, and a way of life, while accommodating the increasingly intrusive demands of white society.