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Black Indian: A Memoir

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Black Indian, searing and raw, is Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple meets Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony—only, this isn’t fiction. Beautifully rendered and rippling with family dysfunction, secrets, deaths, drunks, and old resentments, Shonda Buchanan’s memoir is an inspiring story that explores her family’s legacy of being African Americans w Black Indian, searing and raw, is Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple meets Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony—only, this isn’t fiction. Beautifully rendered and rippling with family dysfunction, secrets, deaths, drunks, and old resentments, Shonda Buchanan’s memoir is an inspiring story that explores her family’s legacy of being African Americans with American Indian roots and how they dealt with not just society’s ostracization but the consequences of this dual inheritance. Buchanan was raised as a Black woman, who grew up hearing cherished stories of her multi-racial heritage, while simultaneously suffering from everything she (and the rest of her family) didn’t know. Tracing the arduous migration of Mixed Bloods, or Free People of Color, from the Southeast to the Midwest, Buchanan tells the story of her Michigan tribe—a comedic yet manically depressed family of fierce women, who were everything from caretakers and cornbread makers to poets and witches, and men who were either ignored, protected, imprisoned, or maimed—and how their lives collided over love, failure, fights, and prayer despite a stacked deck of challenges, including addiction and abuse. Ultimately, Buchanan’s nomadic people endured a collective identity crisis after years of constantly straddling two, then three, races. The physical, spiritual, and emotional displacement of American Indians who met and married Mixed or Black slaves and indentured servants at America’s early crossroads is where this powerful journey begins. Black Indian doesn’t have answers, nor does it aim to represent every American’s multi-ethnic experience. Instead, it digs as far down into this one family’s history as it can go—sometimes, with a bit of discomfort. But every family has its own truth, and Buchanan’s search for hers will resonate in anyone who has wondered "maybe there’s more than what I’m being told."


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Black Indian, searing and raw, is Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple meets Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony—only, this isn’t fiction. Beautifully rendered and rippling with family dysfunction, secrets, deaths, drunks, and old resentments, Shonda Buchanan’s memoir is an inspiring story that explores her family’s legacy of being African Americans w Black Indian, searing and raw, is Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple meets Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony—only, this isn’t fiction. Beautifully rendered and rippling with family dysfunction, secrets, deaths, drunks, and old resentments, Shonda Buchanan’s memoir is an inspiring story that explores her family’s legacy of being African Americans with American Indian roots and how they dealt with not just society’s ostracization but the consequences of this dual inheritance. Buchanan was raised as a Black woman, who grew up hearing cherished stories of her multi-racial heritage, while simultaneously suffering from everything she (and the rest of her family) didn’t know. Tracing the arduous migration of Mixed Bloods, or Free People of Color, from the Southeast to the Midwest, Buchanan tells the story of her Michigan tribe—a comedic yet manically depressed family of fierce women, who were everything from caretakers and cornbread makers to poets and witches, and men who were either ignored, protected, imprisoned, or maimed—and how their lives collided over love, failure, fights, and prayer despite a stacked deck of challenges, including addiction and abuse. Ultimately, Buchanan’s nomadic people endured a collective identity crisis after years of constantly straddling two, then three, races. The physical, spiritual, and emotional displacement of American Indians who met and married Mixed or Black slaves and indentured servants at America’s early crossroads is where this powerful journey begins. Black Indian doesn’t have answers, nor does it aim to represent every American’s multi-ethnic experience. Instead, it digs as far down into this one family’s history as it can go—sometimes, with a bit of discomfort. But every family has its own truth, and Buchanan’s search for hers will resonate in anyone who has wondered "maybe there’s more than what I’m being told."

30 review for Black Indian: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    There are many reasons I liked Black Indian. First of all, it was very, very poetic! I'm surprised at myself that it took me so long to look up the author – I had almost finished the book when I did – and it was even stranger to me, after I looked it up, that I didn't put two and two together and realize Shonda Buchanan, the author of the book, was a poet. Black Indian is written in an incredibly poetic, wonderful style. I can't even describe it, but it's amazing, and that's why I enjoyed it eno There are many reasons I liked Black Indian. First of all, it was very, very poetic! I'm surprised at myself that it took me so long to look up the author – I had almost finished the book when I did – and it was even stranger to me, after I looked it up, that I didn't put two and two together and realize Shonda Buchanan, the author of the book, was a poet. Black Indian is written in an incredibly poetic, wonderful style. I can't even describe it, but it's amazing, and that's why I enjoyed it enormously – although I was stuck on the first part of the book for a long time, because, yes, of course it's triggering. All of these books will be. It's not Disney we're talking about here. The second reason I really enjoyed Black Indian was because it's intersectional – there are (probably) very few books that deal with being a mixed race minority – and a lot of the book was about how hard it is to be mixed race, because you're both everything and nothing at the same time – no single side will claim you and they'll both keep telling you you belong with the others. Shonda Buchanan does a really good job explaining this to me, a foreigner – how it works, how hard it is to find your own individual path, and how you must finally allow yourself to embrace ALL of your identities – not just say "I am this one thing and that's final". Because none of us are just 'the one thing' – but it's just easier to see this for a person who has a mixed cultural heritage. It's hard to belong when you belong to multiple identities. There's too much to tell about Black Indian – I can only recommend you to read it yourself. Yes, it's triggering and sad, but it's full of so many important things. Growing up without anyone to protect you, the vicious cycle of domestic abuse sufferers repeating the pattern in their own damaged families, drug abuse and emotional manipulation, lack of education and the damage poverty does, and how people who are trampled tend to stay down. Also the tough, painful love of a dysfunctional family. And finally, trying to belong, finding where you belong and how it puts everything in perspective. Even aside from that, Black Indian attempts to start a dialogue about things we never talk about – like intra-tribal racism – the fact that Native Americans had to deny their Black family members because they could lose rights in the eyes of the government or the right to schooling their children and other such things. I'm surprised at this now, but it's like Black Indian removed a veil from my eyes, because before reading it, I never figured that Native American and Black cultures intersected... A LOT. Because both groups were oppressed and well, they made families. Or other ties. And there were a lot of mixed children which weren't recognized, so they had to choose one or the other. Histories lost only because of artificial labels – it's really quite big. And you have to read about it. Triggers: (view spoiler)[I might be missing some, but there is rape (lots and lots), there is death, suicide, there is drug abuse and alcoholism, poverty of course, homelessness,  domestic violence and just plain old violence. Children die, teens die. I don't know where to start and where to finish. I may have missed a lot, but you get the picture. (hide spoiler)] I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the ebook through Edelweiss in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion. Book Blog | Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter

  2. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    DNF about 2/3rd of the way in, after the Latinx family that moves into the neighborhood means Buchanan and her family are no longer the only "half breeds" in her general vicinity. She regrets perpetuating the rumor that they were "dirty and unkempt" all these years later but still looking back on it to Buchanan they were "half breeds." It's not even that I'm a stranger to having mixed ancestry. I'm Latinx, my grandfather was full blood Purépecha, and my father's grandfather in Mexico was Black. I DNF about 2/3rd of the way in, after the Latinx family that moves into the neighborhood means Buchanan and her family are no longer the only "half breeds" in her general vicinity. She regrets perpetuating the rumor that they were "dirty and unkempt" all these years later but still looking back on it to Buchanan they were "half breeds." It's not even that I'm a stranger to having mixed ancestry. I'm Latinx, my grandfather was full blood Purépecha, and my father's grandfather in Mexico was Black. I just felt she was... overstepping in a book that already had me uneasy based on personal reasons. I don't feel I can claim these cultures simply based on blood and racial markers (which are constantly pointed out in this book). I had high hopes for this book, especially with my feelings towards my own background and generational family violence, but I'm just left feel tired and dreading seeing "Indian princess" one more, especially after she mixed it up with the additional random reference to an "Arab princess". So I'm out.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nadia

    Shonda Buchanan writes beautifully, and seemingly casually, about the generational trauma that she recognizes as part of her heritage, but slaloms between those big picture ideas and the details of a life with a family she both loves and wishes to remove herself from. Parts of this book read like essay, and others like narrative fiction. The relationships between the women in the family struck the deepest chords with me, and I was not surprised (after having finished it) to see Janet Fitch quote Shonda Buchanan writes beautifully, and seemingly casually, about the generational trauma that she recognizes as part of her heritage, but slaloms between those big picture ideas and the details of a life with a family she both loves and wishes to remove herself from. Parts of this book read like essay, and others like narrative fiction. The relationships between the women in the family struck the deepest chords with me, and I was not surprised (after having finished it) to see Janet Fitch quote on the back - this is definitely a book about difficult mother/daughter relationships and Fitch has written some of the most fraught. Buchanan's refusal to "corroborate quietude" for the sake of her family is brave and the results are thoughtful and often poetic. A little bit of this book is about pushing back, and a little bit of this book is about giving in, and the balance worked for me. The symmetry in the use of funerals and family reunions also worked really well for me. On a slightly tangential note, the opening of this book made me reflect on the way marginalized people have to preface their stories by insisting that their story is not universal, it is personal. People of color are assumed to speak for a collective, and so we have to insist that we're speaking as an individual and that all experiences apply to us alone. White people don't have to do that, because we assume that it's their individual experience. We don't give that same respect to other groups of people. We'd never assume one white person speaks for all white people...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Black Indian is a memoir of Shonda Buchanan's family, collapsing a personal story with a study of genealogy and migration, reaching for healing of trauma both generational and personal with every page. This text sings with poetic prose as Buchanan illuminates a complex story of her family, and lays alongside it the historic treatment of mixed race people in the US, both generally and specifically the intersection of American Indian and African American. This book is a deep dive, at times it was Black Indian is a memoir of Shonda Buchanan's family, collapsing a personal story with a study of genealogy and migration, reaching for healing of trauma both generational and personal with every page. This text sings with poetic prose as Buchanan illuminates a complex story of her family, and lays alongside it the historic treatment of mixed race people in the US, both generally and specifically the intersection of American Indian and African American. This book is a deep dive, at times it was difficult to keep the nonlinear narrative together and the large cast of people separate. There isn’t really a clear story arc happening here, though in that way it’s real life. I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to journey through this still unfolding story, and I feel like it stretched my nonfiction muscles more than many of the texts I tackled this year. Don’t miss this one if you’re a big lover of nonfiction. Whether you lean more toward memoir or history, I think you will find a lot to treasure in this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Freeman

    Buchanan's memoir of growing up “mixed” (her words as she heard and felt them at the time) in Kalamazoo and Mattawan in the 70s and 80s is also a biography of her extended family. Her story is difficult because dysfunction and violence permeated generations of the family as a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, migration, Trail of Tears displacement etc. Her life has been a testament to claiming all parts of her identity –Native American and African American and white. Almost all of the places she refe Buchanan's memoir of growing up “mixed” (her words as she heard and felt them at the time) in Kalamazoo and Mattawan in the 70s and 80s is also a biography of her extended family. Her story is difficult because dysfunction and violence permeated generations of the family as a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, migration, Trail of Tears displacement etc. Her life has been a testament to claiming all parts of her identity –Native American and African American and white. Almost all of the places she references are in the Kalamazoo and Mattawan, Michigan areas– which is both fun and hard (to read such stark evidence of ugliness in our local history). Her writing is stunning – she has a poet’s way with words.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sun Cooper

    An antidote for our times, Shonda Buchanan weaves together a nubby, quilted memoir with grit and determination not to hold anything back, as she dives deep into her own ancestry and its context within a history we share and navigate today. The language is gorgeous and textile, keeping the reader afloat through the darker moments and the firm tugging toward deeper historic racial enlightenment. BLACK INDIAN is a familial, intellectual, and spiritual study in historical and racial intersections as An antidote for our times, Shonda Buchanan weaves together a nubby, quilted memoir with grit and determination not to hold anything back, as she dives deep into her own ancestry and its context within a history we share and navigate today. The language is gorgeous and textile, keeping the reader afloat through the darker moments and the firm tugging toward deeper historic racial enlightenment. BLACK INDIAN is a familial, intellectual, and spiritual study in historical and racial intersections as bridges for kinship and multicultural progress.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Since reading Shonda Buchanan's book, I have been thinking about it on an almost daily basis. Black Indian tells the story of one woman's life, but I feel like it is meaningful and relevant in a much larger way. The book includes experiences of racism, sexual assault, and domestic abuse, and it all feels especially timely to me in relation to everything that's going on in the United States. As a white person who has lived most of her life in a liberal bubble, the current political climate has bee Since reading Shonda Buchanan's book, I have been thinking about it on an almost daily basis. Black Indian tells the story of one woman's life, but I feel like it is meaningful and relevant in a much larger way. The book includes experiences of racism, sexual assault, and domestic abuse, and it all feels especially timely to me in relation to everything that's going on in the United States. As a white person who has lived most of her life in a liberal bubble, the current political climate has been hard for me to process—I wanted to believe we were past all that racism, and that even people in positions of power had to obey the law—but the news I read every day proves that wrong. Black Indian helped me understand that for people of diverse and mixed backgrounds, the United States has never been a place where people are treated with respect and fairness. We have a LONG way to go. If you're interested in identity (What makes us who we are? How much of it is genetic vs. cultural? How much is within our personal control?), I highly recommend Black Indian. I feel like this book gave me a better sense of life outside my "bubble," and I'm grateful to the author for putting it into the world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    I was intrigued by the premise of the author writing about her family history with all of its ugly spots of dysfunction, generational trauma, resentments, etc. while also dealing with society's unwillingness to accept her and her family. I was curious to read about her background, being Native, Black and white (although the last isn't really addressed much). And with Black History Month now happening in the US, it seemed like a good choice. Honestly? I found the book very confusing. In the end I I was intrigued by the premise of the author writing about her family history with all of its ugly spots of dysfunction, generational trauma, resentments, etc. while also dealing with society's unwillingness to accept her and her family. I was curious to read about her background, being Native, Black and white (although the last isn't really addressed much). And with Black History Month now happening in the US, it seemed like a good choice. Honestly? I found the book very confusing. In the end I felt it was most about her family's generational trauma that was devastating and painful to read. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse, abandonment, neglect, etc. appear and it is not easy to witness. But it's confusing for a variety of reasons. The book isn't quite what it's marketed to be. It felt like there was a large cast of characters but I couldn't always keep track of why this person was important or the nature of their relationship with the author or her family. I didn't think the writing was really "beautiful" at all--in all honesty it felt very disjointed. I'm also not entirely sure about her discussions about her Native ancestry. I thought it was most interesting when she talked about Native people and their histories but that wasn't much of the book. It wasn't for me but it seemed to resonate for others.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Graves

    I was recommended this book for a writing workshop and after finishing it I see why this was the book we read, Buchanan is an amazing writer. Her memoir told the story of her family's history through multiple generations and our country's history all at once. There are so few books that I've read like this. I'm mixed race as well, though not the same mix as the author, and so many parts of the book I felt on a personal level. I really want to read her other works now. I was recommended this book for a writing workshop and after finishing it I see why this was the book we read, Buchanan is an amazing writer. Her memoir told the story of her family's history through multiple generations and our country's history all at once. There are so few books that I've read like this. I'm mixed race as well, though not the same mix as the author, and so many parts of the book I felt on a personal level. I really want to read her other works now.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barb Cherem

    This was an up and down experience. I really resonated to the topic, and though the information on native peoples, and mixed peoples was heart-felt and insightful. I enjoyed the parts about Michigan indigenous people too, as am from MI and didn't know this history, esp around Kalamazoo. However, I got bogged down a bit at times, and felt it had trouble defining itself, was it a memoir?--- Yes, but then again it seemed more a group identity memoir, even though it was personal certainly at times. T This was an up and down experience. I really resonated to the topic, and though the information on native peoples, and mixed peoples was heart-felt and insightful. I enjoyed the parts about Michigan indigenous people too, as am from MI and didn't know this history, esp around Kalamazoo. However, I got bogged down a bit at times, and felt it had trouble defining itself, was it a memoir?--- Yes, but then again it seemed more a group identity memoir, even though it was personal certainly at times. The writing itself felt a bit more like how I write, an explanatory style. So, all in all, I found it fresh and original, but at the same time, a bit uncertain of what audience and genre it really was. In that respect, I found it a little bit of a struggle at times. Hard to describe. Perhaps the struggle in being neither black or native of Shonda Buchanan, is the very struggle I found as a reader in reading it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Shonda Buchanan's memoir about family and ethnic identity, Black Indian, is an upsetting account that still reads like fiction, where a beautiful turn of phase or insightful characterization brings a family accounting to life. The book uses individual relatives and family stores to tell her story of mixed-race ancestry.  Buchanan tells the stories of mixed relatives, too dark to pass for white, too light to be black, but not documented Native enough for tribal identity and without a cultural Afri Shonda Buchanan's memoir about family and ethnic identity, Black Indian, is an upsetting account that still reads like fiction, where a beautiful turn of phase or insightful characterization brings a family accounting to life. The book uses individual relatives and family stores to tell her story of mixed-race ancestry.  Buchanan tells the stories of mixed relatives, too dark to pass for white, too light to be black, but not documented Native enough for tribal identity and without a cultural African identity. For many generations, mixed children excited but documentation required a race, and just one race. Buchanan looks at ancestors who were free people of color, who were Native American, and who were able to live in Free People colonies and Native reservations. She also looks at relatives who weren't "enough" to be welcomed in either identity, and who definitely weren't welcomed in white American society. (Unless that fair-skinned relative decides to "pass" and cuts off all contact with their relatives.) There is a large cast of characters, which can be a bit confusing at times, but it serves to show not only the interconnectedness of family, but the shades of identity contained here. It also invites the reader to think about genetic connections, and how our families of origin shape our lives. Many of us have experienced this mixed (and sometimes confusing and excluding) ancestry. We may be ethnic enough for "jokes" or rude questions about our appearance, but only speak English, for example. So this felt very familiar and accessible to me, and probably to many other readers. But the discrimination and systemic poverty was unfamiliar, and Buchanan's individual accounts represent wider issues. The focus, though, is on finding one's path and speaking one's truth. There is a scene early on about a young girl deciding she hated school and would no longer attend,  and as a teacher it made me feel so upset. This is a minor bit of backstory, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. Why did she hate school so much? Didn't any parents notice and care?  What did the teacher think about the little truant? Why wasn't she led to education by caring adults? And then, is there any way to counteract the disadvantages from a lack of education? Early and accessible education is so key to later success and independence (and to the joys of reading fiction, chronicled pretty much every day here), I was really upset. But this theme of falling through the cracks AND of knowing oneself despite any expectations around, sets the tone for the whole book. Finally, it's worth a trigger warning for, uh, everything. Abuse of all kinds, rape, violence, poverty, child neglect, and basically anything that might be painful to read plays a role in family stories. The author's poetic word choice can often find beauty anyway, but remembering that this is nonfiction makes these scenes particularly upsetting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amber Tamm

    i have never truly understood the term “representation matters” until I got my hands on Shonda Buchanan book “Black Indian”. This book is for all us light skinned black girls that are also native Indian and white making us the raw trauma filled gems of American history, our linage gifting us pretty privilege laced with constant internal confusion. Ms. Shonda’s fresh vulnerability about her coming of age, her family trauma mixed with the natural poetry that oozes out of her sewn together with the i have never truly understood the term “representation matters” until I got my hands on Shonda Buchanan book “Black Indian”. This book is for all us light skinned black girls that are also native Indian and white making us the raw trauma filled gems of American history, our linage gifting us pretty privilege laced with constant internal confusion. Ms. Shonda’s fresh vulnerability about her coming of age, her family trauma mixed with the natural poetry that oozes out of her sewn together with the unspoken history of Black Native Americans, this book creates a quilt showcasing the life of a strong mixed race black women in America, this book is the definition of brilliance. Thank you Shonda Buchanan for this, you have no idea how much this book, how you have helped me reshape my identity and claim all that I am, reminding me of the beauty that is my own ancestry, the beauty of being black + white & American Indian.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eric Dye

    This book was a powerful account of a Black Indian woman and her family (and it is beautifully and poetically written). It really makes one think a lot about the damage that rigid concepts of race and culture can create. And how today’s American society has a way of trying to force multiracial people to pick one, or not be able to claim any identity at all. The author had a very powerful line at the end that seemed to get at where he book builds, “A Mixed blood child of theirs. Not pure to eithe This book was a powerful account of a Black Indian woman and her family (and it is beautifully and poetically written). It really makes one think a lot about the damage that rigid concepts of race and culture can create. And how today’s American society has a way of trying to force multiracial people to pick one, or not be able to claim any identity at all. The author had a very powerful line at the end that seemed to get at where he book builds, “A Mixed blood child of theirs. Not pure to either but still whole.” Still whole! I very much look forward to seeing the author at the local bookstore in Kalamazoo later today.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Huber

    Big thank you to WSU Press for sending me this book! I received it in September, but saved it for IndigAThon. I...don't know where to start with writing this review, so I'll keep it short. Shonda Buchanan recounts moments of dysfunction, abuse, and loss in her wide family, and things she's seen in the years. I found myself highlighting so many passages, sentences I found extremely true. It was almost as if some of them came out of my own head. I definitely suggest you read this, even if you scour Big thank you to WSU Press for sending me this book! I received it in September, but saved it for IndigAThon. I...don't know where to start with writing this review, so I'll keep it short. Shonda Buchanan recounts moments of dysfunction, abuse, and loss in her wide family, and things she's seen in the years. I found myself highlighting so many passages, sentences I found extremely true. It was almost as if some of them came out of my own head. I definitely suggest you read this, even if you scour the first 100 pages. Just give it a chance, you may surprise yourself. <3 Happy reading, M.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Hermann

    Wow, where to even begin in this book? Forget the Kalamazoo and Mattawan you thought you knew. Leave all your perceptions of rural Southwest Michigan at the door. This memoir covers the complexities and the brutality we as white colonizers have inflicted on Native Americans and the black community and how it has stemmed into family dynamics for generations after. Shonda Buchanan's voice is a powerful force that not only captures the history of the area but how history has shaped the roots of her Wow, where to even begin in this book? Forget the Kalamazoo and Mattawan you thought you knew. Leave all your perceptions of rural Southwest Michigan at the door. This memoir covers the complexities and the brutality we as white colonizers have inflicted on Native Americans and the black community and how it has stemmed into family dynamics for generations after. Shonda Buchanan's voice is a powerful force that not only captures the history of the area but how history has shaped the roots of her own family tree and the branches that have stemmed out since.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sabin Duncan, PhD.

    Shonda Buchanan is more than a former colleague and friend, she is a beacon of light. With Black Indian, she shares familial stories of immense pain. Though enticingly written, throughout my reading I wondered, “is this the pressure (pain) that makes the diamond?” While I maybe alone with that thought, I believe all readers will feel that there is more to Shonda’s story. With this book, it’s like we know Shonda from an explanation of things ‘out there’; but I’m convinced the diamond, the thing ‘ Shonda Buchanan is more than a former colleague and friend, she is a beacon of light. With Black Indian, she shares familial stories of immense pain. Though enticingly written, throughout my reading I wondered, “is this the pressure (pain) that makes the diamond?” While I maybe alone with that thought, I believe all readers will feel that there is more to Shonda’s story. With this book, it’s like we know Shonda from an explanation of things ‘out there’; but I’m convinced the diamond, the thing ‘in there’ (her heart) will reveal something even more inspiringly beautiful.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Without a doubt, the best book I’ve ever read!! Why? Because I felt it. It haunted me when I put it down to rest my heart. It woke me up in the middle of the night and begged me to come back. It opened hidden wounds and made me question stifled memories of my childhood. Black Indian is not my story; it’s Shonda’s. But her courage to ask the rock hard questions and be honest with the painful answers made me more curious about who I am and who my people are. Thank you, Shonda...and Rochelle and Ve Without a doubt, the best book I’ve ever read!! Why? Because I felt it. It haunted me when I put it down to rest my heart. It woke me up in the middle of the night and begged me to come back. It opened hidden wounds and made me question stifled memories of my childhood. Black Indian is not my story; it’s Shonda’s. But her courage to ask the rock hard questions and be honest with the painful answers made me more curious about who I am and who my people are. Thank you, Shonda...and Rochelle and Velma and Erma and Afiya and...all of the people whose stories are worthy of telling.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Sue Michel

    Incandescent, poetic exploration of family issues, including death, self-destruction, family patterns of violence, and issues of self-identification in a society which is painstakingly attached to pecking order - who has what, who has the slightest advantage, why you are not like me, and you don't understand. The chronology is sometimes confusing and there are many branches on the family tree. May be triggering for family sexual violence. Incandescent, poetic exploration of family issues, including death, self-destruction, family patterns of violence, and issues of self-identification in a society which is painstakingly attached to pecking order - who has what, who has the slightest advantage, why you are not like me, and you don't understand. The chronology is sometimes confusing and there are many branches on the family tree. May be triggering for family sexual violence.

  19. 5 out of 5

    ACruz17

    Her story draws you in and takes the reader through her experience in her search for identity and purpose. It's a riveting story, at once endearing and haunting. "Black Indian" is definitely worth the read and it's guaranteed to stay with you long after you put it down. I could not tear myself away. Her story draws you in and takes the reader through her experience in her search for identity and purpose. It's a riveting story, at once endearing and haunting. "Black Indian" is definitely worth the read and it's guaranteed to stay with you long after you put it down. I could not tear myself away.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alyx

    Absolutely incredible book. The waves of all the different emotions made this such a unique read. I felt like I was right there with them dealing with all the heartache and struggle. The Color Purple is an all-time favorite of mine so I wanted to give this book a try and I'm so glad I did! Highly recommend. Absolutely incredible book. The waves of all the different emotions made this such a unique read. I felt like I was right there with them dealing with all the heartache and struggle. The Color Purple is an all-time favorite of mine so I wanted to give this book a try and I'm so glad I did! Highly recommend.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Parker-Lewis

    I read nearly half the book and just had to stop. The concept of finding ones identity through family and ancestry is a good one. Unfortunately, the writing that reviewers called “poetic” was, for me, repetitive and filled with jarring metaphors. I found a few cliche references to Native American attire and practices, inaccurate and discomforting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Delia Douglas

    Currently engrossed in Shonda Buchanan’s memoir Black Indian and I’ve found each and every chapter to be a fascinating, riveting read. Love the way author Shonda Buchanan uses words to illustrate her family’s American story of strength, struggle, resilience, honor and legacy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rafael Suleiman

    A very compelling memoir by a multi-racial Black woman as she moves through experiences in life and with her family, and discovering more about her Native-American heritage along the way.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    Wow. WOW. This was A LOT. What a beautiful and painful journey through Buchanan's family history, in an attempt to find healing. Wow. WOW. This was A LOT. What a beautiful and painful journey through Buchanan's family history, in an attempt to find healing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    977.40409 B9189 2019

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bailey Brooks

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Cappard-addo

  28. 5 out of 5

    Patrice Kelley

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sara

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