The Night Watchman

The Night Watchman

A Novel

Book - 2020
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It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an 'emancipation' bill; but it isn't about freedom - it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal? Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Pixie - 'Patrice' - Paranteau has no desire to wear herself down on a husband and kids. She works at the factory, earning barely enough to support her mother and brother, let alone her alcoholic father who sometimes returns home to bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to get if she's ever going to get to Minnesota to find her missing sister Vera. In The Night Watchman multi-award winning author Louise Erdrich weaves together a story of past and future generations, of preservation and progress. She grapples with the worst and best impulses of human nature, illuminating the loves and lives, desires and ambitions of her characters with compassion, wit and intelligence.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2020]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ℗♭2020
ISBN: 9780062671189
Branch Call Number: FIC ERDR
Characteristics: 451 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Night watch man


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Apr 04, 2021

Another wonderful offering from this well- versed author - really can't say enough about the book. I highly recommend.

Mar 17, 2021

This was a wonderful history of what was happening in the 1950s to Native Americans. The characters were vibrant as were the details of their lives and relationships.

Mar 12, 2021

The Night Watchman written by Louise Erdrich troubles me. The story is a fictional account of friends and family known to Louise Erdrich. The biggest event is the Indian Termination Act of 1953 which hoped to end the union of the Indian tribes and the Federal government and to usurp the Indians from the reservations. On these “reservations” or tribal land in North Dakota, the Indians live in utter poverty with no running water or electricity. Their meals consist of wild animals and fruit and vegetables of the field. Jobs are scarce and pay lowly wages. The main character is Pixie, who wants to be called Patrice. Patrice’s sister, Vera, has married and gone to live in Minneapolis. Vera has not contacted her family in a long time, so Patrice ventures to the city to find her. We learn that Vera has been kidnapped and has been forced to become a sex slave. When Vera is sick and haggard, her jailors throw her out. The descent of the native Indian from proud warriors to individuals fighting to stay on the reservation’s land. The Indian Termination Act of 1953 was passed, but was stopped in the 1960’s. America belonged to the Indians, but the federal government wanted the land, and that struggle continues today.

Jan 09, 2021

Not an easy read but important historical reality.

Dec 13, 2020

Inspired by the life of her grandfather. Good, but not her best.

Dec 11, 2020

Touching and compassionate. Characters you value and care about. It feel like you are really there.

Oct 12, 2020

I fell in love with the writing of Louise Erdrich 36 years ago when I read "Love Medicine" which still makes my list of 25 top novels ever. She writes about Native Americans with a voice that can probably be found only among Native peoples. I was unaware, but not surprised by the "emancipation" bill of 1953 which would have basically abolished tribal identities and entities. What they were being emancipated from in the minds of the legislators is clear - valuable property. Today the fight still goes on with the pipeline and other issues. Since Minnesota was the site of the largest mass execution by hanging in the history of the United States and is now the place where a black man is murdered by a policeman in front of our eyes, we need to remember that the lives of indigenous people also matter.. Following what is called the Dakota War of 1862, 302 Indians were sentenced to be executed. Through the intervention of President Lincoln the death sentences of of 264 prisoners were commuted, but he allowed the execution of 39 men. This book speaks with an indigenous voice about the continuing failures of whites to value the lives of others. I highly recommend reading the books of Louise Erdrich!!! Kristi &

melwyk Sep 05, 2020

A beautifully told story of the Turtle Mountain reservation and their fight against an "emancipation bill" (ie: termination of Indigenous rights) in the 50s, in North Dakota. A timely story as another federal emancipation bill reared its head just a month or two ago; this is not a past issue.

Erdrich tells this story quietly, with a measured pace, with moments of dreaming and imagery and moments that are more active -- the characters draw you in with their vivid individuality, and the writing is as fluid as usual with Erdrich. If you're looking for a complex, thoughtful story with interlocking relationships, and a sense of place, along with a compelling storyline, give this one a try. Recommended!

Sep 03, 2020

Enjoyed the coming of age of Scout

Jul 14, 2020

A little difficult to get into as it's a deep dive into another culture, poverty and exploitation. But beautiful language, imagery connections to the natural and spirit worlds. An important read!

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