This Indian Kid: A Native American Memoir (Scholastic Focus) (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Eddie Chuculate offers us the story of an indigenous boy’s day-to-day life, but he was a boy who never lived on a reservation and wasn’t part of America’s distant past. He was a modern kid who lived in racially mixed towns during the 1970s and 80s, and he thinks that makes his story a bit different from the indigenous books he’s read. I do, too. He and I think a lot alike. I’m only six years older than Eddie. We had the exact same old-fashioned shows on our family television sets as kids. We saw the same sports stars play. We both won vinyl records by obsessively calling into radio stations; his was Jimmy Buffett and mine was an entire Led Zeppelin library! He was a better student, and the trouble he got into wasn’t like mine. But the most fascinating difference is that he grew up in rural Oklahoma (where his distant ancestors were forced to go), and my suburban Milwaukee childhood was much further removed from the land and in some ways much more protected. I wasn’t about to hunt rabbits alone with a ten-year-old shotgun-toting friend. Our stark similarities walk side by side with our stark differences, making this memoir of a full childhood mind-bending for me. Eddie tells it with a voice just like he’s a kid back in Oklahoma, a warm, sincere tone that I think will fascinate today’s young people just like it did me.

— Tim McCarthy


Award-winning author Eddie Chuculate recounts his experience growing up in rural Oklahoma, from boyhood to young manhood, in an evocative and vivid voice.

Scholastic Focus is the premier home of thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and thoughtfully designed works of narrative nonfiction aimed at middle-grade and young adult readers. These books help readers learn about the world in which they live and develop their critical thinking skills so that they may become dynamic citizens who are able to analyze and understand our past, participate in essential discussions about our present, and work to grow and build our future.

"Granny was full-blooded Creek, but the Bureau of Indian Affairs insisted she was fifteen-sixteenths. She showed her card to me. I’d sit at the kitchen table and stare at her when she was eating, wondering how you can be a sixteenth of anything."

Growing up impoverished and shuttled between different households, it seemed life was bound to take a certain path for Eddie Chuculate. Despite the challenges he faced, his upbringing was rich with love and bountiful lessons from his Creek and Cherokee heritage, deep-rooted traditions he embraced even as he learned to live within the culture of white, small-town America that dominated his migratory childhood.

Award-winning author Eddie Chuculate brings his childhood to life with spare, unflinching prose. This book is at once a love letter to his Native American roots and an inspiring and essential message for young readers everywhere, who are coming of age in an era when conversations about acceptance and empathy, love and perspective are more necessary than ever before.

About the Author

Eddie Chuculate is an American fiction writer of Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee descent. He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Chuculate won a PEN/O. Henry Award in 2007 for his story, "Galveston Bay, 1826." Chuculate's stories have appeared in Manoa, Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, Blue Mesa Review, Many Mountains Moving, and The Kenyon Review. He also earned a degree in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University. He currently lives in Minneapolis.

Praise For…

Praise for Cheyenne Madonna:

"Eddie Chuculate emerges as an important new talent in his generation of storytellers. He’s a kind of journalist of the soul as he investigates the broken-hearted nation of Indian men. The epicenter of action is the tenuous meeting place between boyhood and manhood, between fierce need and desire. Chuculate relates a world that is exactly what it is, with no romantic savage junk, and no temporary spiritual life preservers. In the midst of despair there’s a shrine of meaning that surfaces, like the miracle of sunrise after an all-night party." -- Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate

"Where are we, among these coyote mirages, this endless herd of antelope? What is this beautiful place? Is it the land of magical realism? Not exactly. It’s a bit north of that. The tone of Chuculate’s narration is serene and buoyant, a rare mood at present. Mozart might be a useful model to think of. Every sentence is unexpected, yet infallible. The ultimate aim of the short story, like the arrow, is to end exactly where it should. In art, the satisfaction of hitting the bull’s-eye is not a simple one. It goes deep." -- Ursula K. Le Guin, National Book Award and Hugo Award winner

"Chuculate presents a profound disconnect between the mythology of Indian art and the present-day reality of Indian artists, who rarely get to be artists without the cultural qualifier. He also lays bare the effects of wide-spread multi-generational addiction without making excuses for the way his characters treat each other. There are no saints in here, and no demons, either. Cheyenne Madonna is a fantastic debut." -- The Santa Fe New Mexican

"An amazing, moving debut--rich, thoughtful, eloquent and honest." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Chuculate writes forthright prose in a somber key, examining without judgment the lives of Native American characters like Old Bull, a Cheyenne who, in ‘Galveston Bay, 1826,’ the collection’s one stand-alone story, ventures out to see the ocean for the first time, only to get savaged by a hurricane. Memory and will converge here to powerful effect." -- Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781338802085
ISBN-10: 1338802089
Publisher: Scholastic Focus
Publication Date: September 19th, 2023
Pages: 240
Language: English