"Dazzling. . . . In glittering prose, Momaday recalls stories passed down through generations, illuminating the earth as a sacrosanct place of wonder and abundance. At once a celebration and a warning, Earth Keeper is an impassioned defense of all that our endangered planet stands to lose." — Esquire
A magnificent testament to the earth, from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and poet N. Scott Momaday.
One of the most distinguished voices in American letters, N. Scott Momaday has devoted much of his life to celebrating and preserving Native American culture, especially its oral tradition. A member of the Kiowa tribe who was born and grew up on Indian reservations throughout the Southwest, Momaday has an intimate connection to the land he knows well and loves deeply.
In Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land, he reflects on his native ground and its influence on his people. “When I think about my life and the lives of my ancestors, I am inevitably led to the conviction that I, and they, belong to the American land. This is a declaration of belonging. And it is an offering to the earth.” he writes.
Momaday recalls stories of his childhood, stories that have been passed down through generations, stories that reveal a profound and sacred connection to the American landscape and a reverence for the natural world.
In this moving and lyrical book, which includes original artwork by the author, Momaday offers an homage and a warning. He reminds us that the Earth is a sacred place of wonder and beauty; a source of strength and healing that must be protected before it’s too late. As he so eloquently yet simply expresses, we must all be keepers of the earth.
In a short but satisfying series of essays, Pulitzer-winning fiction writer and poet Momaday (The Death of Sitting Bear) celebrates and mourns the Earth. Using lyrical, heartfelt language, he looks back on a life lived close to nature, and on the joy that natural wonders have given him: of seeing the Northern Lights, for example, he writes that "great ribbons of dancing light unraveled on the snowy sky, and a great shiver of color enveloped the dome of the earth." He also expresses concern about how the Earth will fare after he is gone, lamenting that "we humans have done the damage, and we must be held to account." To address ecological degradation, and the resultant "poverty of the imagination" afflicting society, he leans into spiritual consolation rather than pragmatic solutions. In particular, he appeals to the traditions of his Indigenous people, the Kiowa, recalling a holy man's prayer to the Sun he heard as a child: "Give us one more day, and one more, and at last one more." At a time when bad news is in plentiful supply, readers will find Momaday's words refreshing and comforting in their sincerity.
This book comes at the right time. Beautiful words from Momaday, put together like only he can, will move you and shine light on places in your soul that need to be awakened. Gave me hope.