Shrouds of White Earth

By Gerald Vizenor

Subjects: Indigenous Studies, Fiction
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438434469, 161 pages, July 2011
Hardcover : 9781438434476, 161 pages, August 2010

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Table of contents

1. Green Shamans

2. Casino Walkers

3. Tradition Fascists

4. Union of Chance

--Pointed, absorbing novel about an indigenous artist’s long journey of creativity and coming-of-awareness from White Earth Reservation to Paris


Winner of the 2011 American Book Award presented by the Before Columbus Foundation

Shrouds of White Earth, an innovative novel about a contemporary Native American Indian artist illuminates, infuriates, and enchants. Dogroy Beaulieu, who reveals his marvelous story to a native writer, is a painter by nature, an intuitive visionary artist. He creates shrouds of sacrificed and crucified animals and birds, the faint traces of natural motion on linen, at his studio on the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. The very sight of the shrouds torments the traditional fascists on the reservation, and the faint traces of native totems haunt the patrons of galleries and curators of museums. "I create traces of totemic creatures, paint visionary characters in magical flight, native scenes in the bright colors of survivance," declares Dogroy. His artistic sentiments and shamanic tribute to the shrouds, however, do not protect him from his envious enemies on the reservation. Dogroy is banished by casino politicians, in flagrant violation of the new Constitution of the White Earth Nation for his artistic tease, his baroque mockery, and his ironic portrayals. This unforgettable journey of discovery and creativity ranks as one of the finest stories from the pen of the irresistibly witty and insightful Gerald Vizenor.

Gerald Vizenor is Distinguished Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. His many books include Interior Landscapes, Second Edition: Autobiographical Myths and Metaphors, also published by SUNY Press; Fugitive Poses: Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence; Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance; Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57; and Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence.


"Told in four sequences, Shrouds of White Earth affords a full Vizenor menu … In this latest story-fashioning, bad faith, corruption of spirit, and narrowed-down rules of the road for art are simply not to be allowed countenance, whether on the reservation or in the wider world. It takes Vizenor's special virtuosity, genial, fierce, and seamed as always in his own colors of invention, to bring home the point with quite so brimming a dispatch. " — Studies in American Indian Literatures

"…the poet, novelist and critic Gerald Vizenor is a unique voice in the world of Native American letters … Vizenor is an intellectual polymath … Throughout all of Vizenor's endeavors, his goal has been to reframe the one-dimensional notion of Indianness, with survivance as a cornerstone. " — Indian Country Today Media Network

"The inventor of invention rides again. In this book, the master trickster takes on the disciplines of visual art, narrative, and song in his ongoing campaign against victimry, to set natives upright and to insure the truth of native survival. Gerald Vizenor is the healer of irony with his focus on the native paradigm. What a pleasure to ride into Vizenorland, where colors spread and horses fly. Vizenor is my chosen composer of words. " — Diane Glancy, author The Reason for Crows