“Pointing With Lips” by Dana Lone Hill
Book Review by Sara Jumping Eagle
Powerful. I read the whole book in two days. I did not want to put it down. I laughed out loud and I cried. This book surprised me at every turn, kept me guessing. The main character of the book, Sincere, and her family, the “Strongheart” and “Rain on Shield” families, are in some ways – my family, my relatives, my friends – they are in some ways – me. The book, in an exciting and entertaining way, led discussions through a myriad of contemporary American Indian issues, discussions regarding the realities of Indian life. These are issues Indian families face every day – portrayed in a way which is not sugar coated, shown with a mean Indian woman reality. We can enjoy the rez humor we know and love, the crazy stories that are so “out there” as to be true, including those rez nicknames such as “Boogie” and “Two Times”. This rez humor that helps us live and survive the pain of a world where weekly funerals and years per life lost dominate, the humor that shows that hope lives even while acknowledging the reality of shortened life spans due to health disparity and socioeconomic poverty culture. One of my favorite lines of the book seems to say it all – “maybe I was born pissed”.
Dana Lone Hill, as an author and storyteller has done what so many struggle to do – to teach while entertaining, to open hearts without preaching or prying. In the same legacy of the best storytellers, you won’t want to go to sleep once the story starts. While we are absorbed in the family life and love life of “Sincere” – we also learn some of the real history of the Lakota people, the real perspective of how hope and resilience arise amongst the contemporary issues of alcoholism, rez dogs, commodities, boarding school legacy, fried bologna, controversial Black Hills Gold, domestic violence, art, homosexuality, the nostalgic smell of burning trash, the fine art of watecha, the pain and flashbacks of sexual abuse, the beautiful taste of chokecherries in the summer, the hateful sting of racism, the wonderful saving grace of tribal colleges, and most of all – the underlying current of love for family and the people.
“I need to change. I need a change. No more suffering… suffering is what you know can be yours, you can see it, but can’t touch it. That’s us Lakota for the past hundred or so years. Suffering because we were made to suffer at first. Then suffering because we made ourselves suffer.”
Pointing With Lips. (Release date to be announced soon.) For more information on Pointing With Lips and release date go to: https://www.facebook.com/PointingWithLips