Top positive review
The best book I have read in years; highly recommended!
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2019
A superb "nonfiction novel" (based on real events) about the spiritual nature and way of teaching/learning by the people of the Lakota reservation. The author, Kent Nerburn, becomes part of the story, as he visits his friend Dan, to help him on a quest. This involves Dan's goal to find the grave of his long-lost sister, Yellow Bird, who was taken away as a young girl to enter the oppressive Indian school system. Dan never saw her again. Dan is 90 and near death, and needs to bless her resting place (in the Lakota language) before he leaves the earth. It's not just a road trip, but a mystery and a mentorship. It's a chance for the author to learn much from Dan and the Lakota way. Nerburn becomes the student, even though he actually has a Ph.D in Theology. It's also an expose of the Indians schools, where Native American boys and girls were taken to remove all aspects of their culture, learning, clothing, language and inseparable connection to nature, and reeducated to be more "white."
Girls were also sexually abused, made to be servants in white homes, and trained to be low-paid servants. Too much of that period has been brushed over in American history, along with genocide and the infamous Trail of Tears, ordered by President Andrew Jackson.
The book is not all serious, as it has much humor, which is an important part of Native American culture. And it's very moving in sections, and has lessons for all of us, regardless of our religion or no religion. I recently learned there is interest in making it a movie. I hope it happens.