Gyasi Ross is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe and his family also comes from the Suquamish Tribe. He is a father, a writer, an entrepreneur and an attorney. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, currently practices law representing tribes for Crowell Law Offices-Tribal Advocacy Group and is co-owner and Vice-President of Red Vinyl Records. His first book of short stories and poems, Don’t Know Much About Indians (but I wrote a book about us anyways) was published in August 2011 and is in its second printing. The book has made an impact in Indian Country and beyond and has received universally positive reviews. Gyasi is also a frequent contributor to Indian Country Today Media Network, and has contributed to other publications including The Seattle Times and The Huffington Post.
I come from the Blackfeet reservation from what would be considered a “traditional family.” My family was involved in ceremonies and pow-wows and language stuff and my grandpa, Percy Bullchild was super traditional – very well-respected at home, and wrote a book with a major publisher on our creation stories and morality tales.
THEN… I was uprooted. I moved to Seattle. All of a sudden, the only Indians that I see are the drunk ones down in Steinbreuck Park or on 2nd Avenue. I’m not a super traditional Indian OR a drunk Indian, so I’m thinking “Where are the “regular Indians” – not the super traditional Indians, like my grandpa, not the drunks, like on 2nd Avenue? I didn’t see them, the so-called “regular” folks – they (we) were always invisible and if they’re invisible to ME, well they are sure as heck are invisible to non- Natives.
Well, this book is full of “regular Indians” – people who have day jobs, college students, kids in love, rez drama, insecure folks, etc… It doesn’t stay exclusively in the land of super Indians or drunks, although they’re discussed briefly. Instead, this book is primarily about the Indians that you and I know best – the ones just trying to make it and who are like, literally, 99.999% of other Americans. It shows that there is a place between spectacle and super-Indian in which we can dwell;
I believe that is truly educational