On the Rez

by Ian Frazier

Hardcover, 2000

Call number

978.3 FRA



Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2000), Edition: 1st, 311 pages


On the Rez is a sharp, unflinching account of the modern-day American Indian experience, especially that of the Oglala Sioux, who now live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the plains and badlands of the American West. Crazy Horse, perhaps the greatest Indian war leader of the 1800s, and Black Elk, the holy man whose teachings achieved worldwide renown, were Oglala; in these typically perceptive pages, Frazier seeks out their descendants on Pine Ridge--a/k/a "the rez"--which is one of the poorest places in America today. Along with his longtime friend Le War Lance (whom he first wrote about in his 1989 bestseller,Great Plains) and other Oglala companions, Frazier fully explores the rez as they visit friends and relatives, go to pow-wows and rodeos and package stores, and tinker with a variety of falling-apart cars. He takes us inside the world of the Sioux as few writers ever have, writing with much wit, compassion, and imagination. In the career of SuAnne Big Crow, for example, the most admired Oglala basketball player of all time, who died in a car accident in 1992, Frazier finds a contemporary reemergence ofthe death-defying, public-spirited Sioux hero who fights with grace and glory to save her followers. On the Rez vividly portrays the survival, through toughness and humor, of a great people whose culture has helped to shape the American identity.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member drewandlori
A colorful portrait of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the poorest county in the U.S.
LibraryThing member GBev2008
A vivid and interesting look at Frazier's time spent visiting the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. It's a very good tale about the struggles and hopes of the Oglala people who live in impoverished conditions.

Frazier's style is not for everyone, but I enjoyed it. Not as much as "Great Plains," but a good book none the less.… (more)
LibraryThing member dele2451
This book is actually a story within a story. The first stories centers around the unusual bond between an alcohol abusing Native American and a self-proclaimed Indian wannabe; the second chronicles the impact one special teenager can have on an entire community many consider bleak and often evil. Both stories are interesting in their own right, but their juxtaposition inside this book makes it a more compelling read than it may have been otherwise. Mr Frazier's offers some thought-provoking and seldom-addressed perspectives on the everyday life of Indians in modern America interspersed with brief passages on the historical events, various treaties, and tribal leaders that have played major roles in shaping their fate. Even people who are not particularly interested in Native American culture or history should find the inspirational tale of basketball hero SuAnne Big Crow worth the read. I recommend.… (more)
LibraryThing member yellerreads
On the Rez details the author's experiences on the Pine Ridge reservation.




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