Birding While Indian: A Mixed-Blood Memoir by Thomas C. Gannon

Birding While Indian: A Mixed-Blood Memoir

Birding While Indian: A Mixed-Blood Memoir

  • Paperback
  • Mad Creek Books (2023)
  • SKU: 9780814258729
Regular price $19.95
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"A fascinating search for personal and cultural identity." -- Kirkus

Thomas C.Gannon's Birding While Indian spans more than fifty years of childhood walks and adult road trips to deliver, via a compendium of birds recorded and revered, the author's life as a part-Lakota inhabitant of the Great Plains. Great Horned Owl, Sandhill Crane, Dickcissel: such species form a kind of rosary, a corrective to the rosaries that evoke Gannon's traumatic time in an Indian boarding school in South Dakota, his mother's devastation at racist bullying from coworkers, and the violent erasure colonialism demanded of the people and other animals indigenous to the United States.

Birding has always been Gannon's escape and solace. He later found similar solace in literature, particularly by Native authors. He draws on both throughout this expansive, hilarious, and humane memoir. An acerbic observer--of birds, the environment, the aftershocks of history, and human nature--Gannon navigates his obsession with the ostensibly objective avocation of birding and his own mixed-blood subjectivity, searching for that elusive Snowy Owl and his own identity. The result is a rich reflection not only on one man's life but on the transformative power of building a deeper relationship with the natural world.

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