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Louis V. Clark III on 'How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century'

Jun. 13, 2017
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Members of the Oneida tribe moved west to Wisconsin in the early 1820s and have continually struggled to maintain their ancestral lands and rich cultural traditions. Today, the Oneida Nation in the Green Bay area includes a lush land base of more than 6,000 acres, the recent addition of a tribal school and increased economic opportunities, due in large part to the tribe’s invention of the state’s first modern lottery in 1988. Of its nearly 21,000 members, about 50% live or grew up on the reservation, including novelist and poet Louis V. Clark III, the author of the new book How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century, published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. 

In this witty and insightful essay collection, the author explores his life’s journey and reflects on some of the most important aspects of his Native American heritage. How to be an Indian illustrates the very real trials and challenges facing people on reservations as well as celebrates the profound joys found in immersing oneself in mankind’s traditions and lessons from the past. A beautiful blend of prose, poetry and storytelling, Clark’s enthralling narrative shares a lyrical understanding of an individual’s place in the world and explores issues from first love to the world of work, and highlights unique Wisconsin traditions. The author creatively moves from discussing the connectivity of human beings to one another and their natural environment, to exploring the importance of releasing our inner demons to unleash a hopeful future.

Clark is a tribal elder, proud grandfather and published poet. He will discuss How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century at Milwaukee Public Library’s Loos Room (733 N. Eighth St.) at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 19.


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