Littlecrow-Russell’s style emerges from the
ancient and sacred tradition of storytelling, where legends were told
not just to entertain, but to teach and, if necessary, to discipline.
The power of the storyteller is the power of naming, to establish a
relationship, a connection, and a sense of meaning. A name is both a
bequest and a burden.
of the poems in this collection is, in essence, a naming ritual.
Sharply, energetically, and always provocatively, these poems name
uncomfortable moments, complex emotions, and sudden, often wryly
As she explores how names imposed by outsiders
both collide and merge with the identities that Natives create for
themselves, these poems decisively counter the images of Indians as
colorful dancers, stoic saints, and defeated warriors.
These verses are not constructed of beautiful images, nor are they
stories of redemption. Instead, Littlecrow-Russell offers stark and
honest witness to urban and reservation life at the beginning of the
twenty-first century. In short snaps of honed lyric and voice, she
tackles topics ranging from family, love, and spirituality, to welfare,
addiction, and the thorny politics of tribal identity. Her work
displays tremendous bitterness and anger, but there is also dignity,
humor, and plenty of irony. Candid and compelling, this collection
brings fluent verse and human face to the commonly misrepresented
experiences of Native Americans..
The Secret Powers of