1990 Winner of the Mildren P. Nilon Award for Minority Fiction
In Trigger Dance, her first collection of stories, Diane Glancy takes us to uneasy places where both the environment and the characters are at risk, where even the animals grieve. Sometimes the author's voice, sometimes the voices of the characters, tell us about their migrations, symbolic or literal. Diane Glancy's characters walk in two worlds and try to build a middle ground between white and native cultures. They are the offspring of those who survived the Trail of Tears. Some of the young men dance at powwows in tune with the dead. Filo and Parnetta buy a fridge at the Hardware Store on Muskogee Street, in Tahleqah, Oklahoma. Farther west, near Chickasha, Keyo can't read, while Joseph Sink, an Indian hermit, learns a word a day. Anna America remembers her shortcomings as a mother and her hard life as she waits in the Northeastern Cherokee County Shelter for her wings to unfold so she can leave this earth. In the title story, Roan mourns the fact that human beings have the power to destroy the earth. He's astonished that creation and cremation could be so closely linked. Even his father, when he feels death approach, demands to be cremated because "it's autumn in outer space." Roan's final vision in the sweat lodge is of the air red as leaves. He admonishes his people to be strong and responsible, to acknowledge that life is a sizeable endeavor. it.
"This affecting collection of short fiction explores the lives of Native Americans as they try to breach the gap between two worlds. "Aunt Panetta's Electric Blisters" encapsulates the history of white and Indian interaction in a broken refrigerator and its replacement. In the beautifully wrought and powerfully moving title story, the men discuss the future of this world and the next, while the women piece these images into fanciful patchwork quilts. It culminates with the death of the grandfather and the sweat lodge the family shares after his passing. Highly recommended for Native American, women's studies, and larger short story collections." —Debbie Tucker, Cincinnati Technical College, Ohio
ANADARKO POW WOW
WHAY NAH. THE OLD LANGUAGE LODGED IN THEIR HEAD. FOR this, then, the young men danced. Kiowa, Caddo, Creek, Chichasaw, Cheyenne, Ponca, Pawnee, Osage, Cherokee. For this, they danced in headdress & feather bustle, bells & leggings, beaded moccasins & breastplate. Not all of them, no, not the boys walking the fairgrounds snagging girls. They had already dropped into hopelessness. For them, the sun rolled across the plains & off the edge of Oklahoma like a gutter ball.
But the young men in the bright arena danced the buffalo dance, snake dance, straightdance, the fancy war dance, while singers chanted "hey ye hey ye" & beat their drums in the heat.
They danced on the trail up through the black sky where ancestors waited with the bruised face of the moon. Even if their lives were a hole they crawled into, they dances on the great plains of the country with a flag with red stripes of blood.
A pah nuh. They heard the dead language again.
Pin-cushion, all of them.
How had they survived their struggle & defeat? Why hadn't their race folded up & disappeared in the dust where the feet of the young men beat the arena ground?
The warrior moon steadied the dusty haze of the fairgrounds where a stream of cars still drove into the field to park.
Meanwhile the young men strutted in the arena like prairie cocks, looking here, looking there, in step with the drums as though strange ballet dancers or tiptoeing bowlers, vibrant, transcending, in tune with the dead.