“Michigan in Books” reviews “Honor the Earth” by Phil Bellfy

Honor the Earth: Indigenous Response to Environmental Degradation in the Great Lakes edited by Phil Bellfy.
Review by Tom Powers, Michigan In Books
This book of updated essays grew out of an environmental conference at MSU on Earth Day, 2007. The essays, as the subtitle suggests, are responses by Native Americans to the miserable record of pollution, overconsumption of natural resources, and the all too evident triumph of greed over maintaining a livable environment in the Great Lakes and the world. Readers should not be put off by what appears, at first glance, to be a book intended for a scholarly audience. Yes, the format, extended bibliographies, and chapter headings such as, “Grassroots Indigenous Epistemologies: Native, Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Environment,” are a little off-putting. Don’t be.

Phil Bellfy

At the heart of most of the essays is the difference between Indigenous Peoples’ attitude to the earth and environment which is best summarized by living in balance with nature as opposed to modern society’s exploitation of the environment.  The essays address a wide range of environmental concerns and the writing is often sharp, critical and outraged. One essay I found especially interesting and biting was on overpopulation and how Japan is so overpopulated many of her people are “literally tumbling into the sea.” Yet they are worried that their declining birthrate means in the future they will have fewer workers to “produce,’ and thus ‘consume’ whatever it is that’s produced.” The author then goes on to say, “Think about it. I suggest that this attitude signifies nothing so much as stark, staring madness. It is insane: suicidally, homicidally, ecocidally, homicidally insane.”

The book is a deep dive into indigenous culture, beliefs, and their close relationship to nature and the environment. It is provocative, disturbing, and to the point. And the point is that humanity is “killing the natural world, and thus itself. It’s no more complicated than that.”
Honor the Earth: Indigenous Response to Environmental Degradation in the Great Lakes edited by Phil Bellfy. Ziibi Press, ISBN 978-1-61599-625-4, $24.95.

How Dare We! Write, 2nd Edition [PB]

SKU 978-1-61599-683-4
$24.95
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Product Details
UPC: 978-1-61599-683-4
Brand: Modern History Press
Binding: Paperback
Edition: 2nd
Author: Sherry Quan Lee
Pages: 266
Publication Date: 08/01/2022

How Dare We! Write: a multicultural creative writing discourse offers a much needed corrective to the usual dry and uninspired creative writing pedagogy. The collection asks us to consider questions, such as “What does it mean to work through resistance from supposed mentors, to face rejection from publishers and classmates, and to stand against traditions that silence you?" and "How can writers and teachers even begin to make diversity matter in meaningful ways on the page, in the classroom, and on our bookshelves?"

How Dare We! Write is an inspiring collection of intellectually rigorous lyric essays and innovative writing exercises; it opens up a path for inquiry, reflection, under­standing, and creativity that is ultimately healing. The testimonies provide a hard won context for their innovative paired writing experiments that are, by their very nature, generative.
--Cherise A. Pollard, PhD, Professor of English, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

So-called “creative writing” classes are highly politicized spaces, but no one says so; to acknowledge this obvious fact would be to up-end the aesthetics, cultural politics (ideology) and economics on which most educational institutions are founded. How Dare We! Write, a brilliant interventive anthology of essays, breaks this silence.
-- Maria Damon, Pratt Institute of Art; co-editor of Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader

How Dare We! Write is a collection of brave voices calling out to writers of color everywhere: no matter how lonely, you are not alone; you are one in a sea of change, swimming against the currents.
-- Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, and The Song Poet, a 2017 Minnesota Book Award winner

How Dare We! Write is a much needed collection of essays from writers of color that reminds us that our stories need to be told, from addressing academic gatekeepers, embracing our identities, the effects of the oppressors tongue on our psyche and to the personal narratives that help us understand who we are.
---Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, writer, spoken word poet/performer and contributing author to A Good Time for fhe Truth: Race in Minnesota

Learn more at http://blog.SherryQuanLee.com

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