By Heidi Harrison, Duluth Public Library
I had the opportunity to hear Anton Treuer speak at the Spotlight on Books Conference. He has written a new book titled Warrior Nation: A history of the Red Lake Ojibwe. Mr. Truer is an extremely engaging speaker who sets a scene and describes things in such a way that you feel like you are witnessing the events taking place. Mr. Treuer introduced us to each of the leaders of the Red Lake Ojibwe who historically had a large impact on the course of events that led to the situation the nation faces now. These leaders were described as relatable people with both good traits and bad but ultimately as men and women who had a huge impact on the history of the Red Lake area of Minnesota.
I learned so much listening to Mr. Treuer. I have had very little education on the history of the Native American people in Minnesota and did not even realize many of the events had taken place. I was amazed and frankly appalled by the treatment of the Red Lake Ojibwe by members of our government. Hearing the historical events described from a different perspective that is unique from my own world view was challenging and eye opening. Mr Treuer manages to point out the unfairness and cruelty that occurred in such a way that I didn’t feel defensive for being a member of the culture that perpetuated the events but made me want to support the efforts to right the wrongs that occurred in the past.
Overall, I was very impressed with how Mr. Treuer made the leaders of the Red Lake Ojibwe come alive through his descriptions and stories of their lives. I learned enough to make me want to dig in and find out more about the Red Lake Ojibwe and the history of Native American people in general. I will certainly be checking out his book in the near future!