Indio no más
By Luisana Duarte Armendáriz, Charlene Willing McManis, Traci Sorell
La familia de Regina Petit siempre ha sido Umpqua, y vivir en la reserva de la tribu Grand Ronde es todo lo que Regina, de diez años, ha conocido. Su mayor preocupación es que Sasquatch pueda existir en el bosque. Pero cuando el gobierno federal promulga una ley que dice que la tribu de Regina ya no existe, Regina se convierte en "india no más" de la noche a la mañana, a pesar de que vive con su tribu y practica las costumbres tribales, y aunque sus antepasados fueron indígenas durante incontables generaciones.
Ahora que se han visto obligados a abandonar su tierra natal, el padre de Regina inscribe a la familia en el Programa federal de reubicación de indígenas y los traslada a Los Ángeles. Regina encuentra un mundo completamente nuevo en su vecindario en 58th Place. Nunca ha conocido a niños de otras razas, y ellos nunca han conocido a un indio de verdad. Por primera vez en su vida, Regina se enfrenta cara a cara con la crueldad del racismo, personalmente y hacia sus nuevos amigos.
Mientras tanto, su padre cree que si trabaja duro, su familia será tratada como estadounidenses blancos. Pero no es tan fácil. Es 1957, durante la era de los Derechos Civiles, y la familia lucha sin su comunidad tribal ni su tierra. Al menos Regina tiene a su abuela, Chich, y sus historias. Al menos están todos juntos.
En esta conmovedora novela de grado medio basada en la propia historia tribal de la autora de Umpqua, Charlene Willing McManis, Regina debe averiguar: ¿Quién es Regina= Petit? ¿Es india, americana o ambas? ¿Y ella y su familia alguna vez estarán bien?
Regina Petit's family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde Tribe's reservation is all ten-year old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government enacts a law that says Regina's tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes "Indian no more" overnight--even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.
Now that they've been forced from their homeland, Regina's father signs the family up for the federal Indian Relocation Program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She's never met kids of other races, and they've never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face-to-face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.
Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it's not that easy. It's 1957, during the Civil Rights era, and the family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.
In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis's own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian, American, or both? And will she and her family ever be okay?
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About the Creators
LUISANA DUARTE ARMENDÁRIZ grew up on the Juárez, Mexico–El Paso, Texas border. A writer and graphic designer, Luisana earned her BA from the University of Texas at El Paso and her MA/MFA in Children’s Literature and Writing for Children from Simmons University in Boston. She won the 2018 Lee & Low/Tu Books New Visions Award for her debut novel, Julieta and the Diamond Enigma. Luisana now lives in Michigan, where she is the dean of discipline at a boarding school. Find out more at luisanaduarte.com.
Photo: Natalia Fernández Ceballos
The late CHARLENE WILLING MCMANIS (1953-2018) was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Los Angeles. She was of Umpqua tribal heritage and enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Charlene served in the U.S. Navy and later received her Bachelor’s degree in Native American Education. She lived with her family in Vermont and served on that state’s Commission on Native American Affairs. In 2016, Charlene received a mentorship with award-winning poet and author Margarita Engle through We Need Diverse Books. That manuscript became this novel, which is based on her family’s experiences after their tribe was terminated in 1954. She passed away in 2018, knowing that her friend Traci Sorell would complete the revisions Charlene was unable to finish.
TRACI SORELL writes fiction and nonfiction books as well as poems for children. Her lyrical story in verse, At the Mountain’s Base, celebrates the bonds of family and the history of history-making women pilots, including Millie Rexroat (Oglala Lakota). We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, her Sibert Honor, Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor, and Orbis Pictus Honor–award-winning nonfiction picture book, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Shelf Awareness. A former federal Indian law attorney and policy advocate, she is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in northeastern Oklahoma, where her tribe is located. For more about Traci and her other works, visit tracisorell.com.