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Episode 119: Generational Trauma and Treating Native Americans as Commodities

Tue, 26 Oct 2021 01:00:00 -0400 ◦ 56 minutes

Chris Stark’s new book “Carnival Lights” centers on the story of two native Ojibwe girls. Chris brilliantly weaves in the history of  generational trauma still being suffered by the Ojibwe people and other native tribes. This history of abuse and broken treaties created vulnerabilities that left women and youth exposed to and at risk of being victims of sex trafficking. Listen and learn how U.S. institutions continue to play a part in treating Native Americans as commodities.

The East Side Freedom Library invites you to A Book Launch Virtual Event with Christine Stark and her new book, Carnival Lights and Mona Susan Power and her new book, A Council of Dolls.

Chris Stark is an award-winning writer, organizer, and researcher with Ojibwe, Cherokee, and European ancestry. Her first novel, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, was a Lambda Literary Finalist. Blending fiction and fact, Carnival Lights ranges from reverie to nightmare and back again in a lyrical yet unflinching story of an Ojibwe family’s struggle to hold onto their land, their culture, and each other. Carnival Lights is a timely book for a country in need of deep healing.

Mona Susan Power is a Yanktonai Dakota author of four books of fiction, The Grass Dancer (awarded the PEN/Hemingway Prize), Sacred Wilderness, Roofwalker, and the recently completed novel, A Council of Dolls. A Council of Dolls tells the story of three generations of Yanktonai Dakota women and their dolls–allies manifested during times of great challenge, highlighting how generational trauma develops and persists, especially as a result of the horrors of the Indian Boarding School system.


A Room of One’s Own welcomes local poet R.B. Simon, author of  The Good Truth, and Lambda Literary Award finalist Chris Stark, author of Carnival Lights, for a virtual conversation on Crowdcast!

The Good Truth, the fiercely validating debut from R.B. Simon, is a blazing manifesto of claiming identities within a gritty world. Summoning Mary Oliver’s reflective beauty and the gut-punching urgency of Andrea Gibson, Simon invites us to hold up any sense of being the “other” as our own good truth we must victoriously sing.” –Lisa Marie Brodsky, Poet, Author of Motherlung and We Nod Our Dark Heads

R.B. Simon is a queer artist and writer of African and European-American descent. She endeavors to create poetry centered in the mosaic of identity, the experiences that make us who we are in totality. Having battled mental health issues, substance use disorder, and trauma throughout her life, she is now in recovery and studying to become an Art Therapist, supporting others on the same journey. She has been published in multiple print and online journals including The Green Light Literary Journal, Blue Literary Journal, Electric Moon, and Literary Mama. Ms. Simon is currently living in Madison, WI with her partner, daughter, and four unruly little dogs.

Set in a summer of hippie war protests and the moon landing, Carnival Lights also spans settler arrival, the creation of the reservation system, and decades of cultural suppression, connecting everything from lumber baron’s mansions to Nazi V-2 rockets to smuggler’s tunnels in stories of Minnesota. In August 1969, two teenage Ojibwe cousins, Sher and Kris, leave their northern Minnesota reservation for the lights of Minneapolis. The girls arrive in the city with only twelve dollars, their grandfather’s WWII pack, two stainless steel cups, some face makeup, gum, and a lighter. But it’s the ancestral connections they are also carrying — to the land and the trees, to their family and culture, to love and to loss — that shapes their journey most.

Chris Stark’s first novel, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, was a Lambda Literary Finalist. She has also won awards for her non-fiction and memoir writing and her visual art. She is a co-author of Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota and has published non-fiction, academic articles, and poetry. Chris is a member of the Minnesota Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Taskforce. She is Anishinaabe and Cherokee


From 4-30-21, a virtual event featuring Anishinaabe author, activist and teacher Chris Stark, with comments and dialogue with Chamorro author, activist and attorney Julian Aguon, honoring the publication of Chris’ forthcoming novel, “Carnival Lights”, a novel about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives.

Co-sponsored by Repair & the UCLA American Indian Studies Center Want to know more about the work of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center? Visit: https://www.aisc.ucla.edu/

Want to know what else is coming up on Repair’s virtual events calendar? Visit our events registration page: https://repair-events.eventbrite.com

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