As we talk about Native American Heritage, this month’s featured author is William Kent Krueger. He is a New Your Times Best Selling Author of many novels which feature Native American characters and culture.
According to williamkentkrueger.com, Krueger was born and raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Growing up, he worked in lumber and construction before trying his hand at free-lance journalism. Through studying child development at the University of Minnesota, he found a place to call home. He currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife.
He has written a series of mystery novels which are set in the north woods of Minnesota. Many of his characters have Native American influence and backgrounds. His main character in the series, Cork O’Connor is a former sheriff of Tamarack County. He is of mixed heritage, Irish and Ojibwe. Throughout the series, he has Cork talking to and getting advice from a old native medicine man and member of the Great Medicine Society, named Henry Meloux. And there are many others.
Today, I’m featuring one of his stand alone novels, This Tender Land , a novel that beautifully explores Native American themes during the Great Depression. Unlike his Cork O’Connor series, This Tender Land is set in central Minnesota at a relocation school called Lincoln Indian Training School. It was a place where Native American children were taken to be schooled, after they were forcibly taken from their parents
William Kent Krueger and Native American Focus
Through his characters and storytelling, Krueger helps us to receive the message about who they are and how important their heritage is. Most of his novels are set in Northern Minnesota where many Native American Reservations are found today. Through This Tender Land, he touches on Native American Heritage themes in the following ways.
The Native American Experience
Krueger artfully delves into the complexities of Native American identity and heritage. He provides readers with a glimpse into the challenges faced by the characters, particularly as they navigate a world that often misunderstands or marginalizes their culture.
One of the strengths of “This Tender Land” lies in Krueger’s respectful portrayal of Native American traditions. The narrative not only showcases the richness of these cultures but also fosters an understanding of the historical and social contexts that shape the characters’ lives.
This novel serves as an educational tool, shedding light on the historical injustices and cultural richness of Native American communities. Through the characters’ experiences, readers gain insights into the impact of assimilation policies, the importance of preserving cultural heritage, and the resilience of indigenous peoples.
We can learn a great deal about Native Americans and their heritage through the novels by William Kent Krueger. If you are interested in his novels or learning more about him, here’s a link to his website. William Kent Krueger.
Available resources on Mentoring A Dream
Have you checked out all of the resources available on Mentoring A Dream yet? There are many to be found throughout the website.
First, many blog posts are available on our site which talk about diversity and inclusion of those who are different from us. Check out our Blog.
In addition to that, our quarterly theme is bullying, which we feature on our monthly themed tab on the website Bullying.
And, if your teen is dealing with a challenge, please check out our Resourses page for a list of organizations and articles that may help.
The Street’s Way is coming soon!
Another way we can help teens through the challenges that they face is to turn them onto a book to read about it. So, do you know about The Way Series? It is a series of coming of age novels for teens and young adults about the challenges they face. The Street’s Way focuses on the teen challenge of homelessness. The third book in The Way Series, The Street’s Way, is a about Mikala Kalani, a Native American teen from Boston who runs away to Manor City. Learn about how she navigates being homeless and what happens on the streets of Manor City.
Follow this link to my books tab to learn more about the series. The Street’s Way is due to release in early 2024!