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Adrian Jawort & Sterling Holy White Mountain: Igniting The Fire

Anticipating a "third wave" of American Indian writers, journalist and fiction author Adrian Jawort considers one of the rewards awaiting ambitious young Indian writers who make the leap from Montana to the outside world: "While living at home, they didn't believe that their own observations, insights, or even hardships counted to an indifferent world. But away from it, they experienced revelations about how unique their homeland is. Other people were truly fascinated and yearned to hear more about the area they came from."

In 2014, Jawort launched Off The Pass Press and its inaugural publicationOff the Path: An Anthology of 21st Century Montana American Indian Writers, Vol. 1.

Jawort excerpts a passage from one of the stories in the anthology, "The Education of Little Man False Star Boy," by Sterling Holy White Mountain:

"The last afternoon of the powow, when we were sitting in the arbor in the shade of the highest bleacher, Khan said he'd heard from my grandpa, his dad, I'd been drinking a lot.  

I drink some, I said.

That's not what I heard, he said.  I heard you're out every other night with that one. 

Which one, I said.

You know, he said, that one.

We watched the women's fancy competition for a minute, the singers' voices blaring over the PA system--they were down to the last four, the judges standing at the periphery scrutinizing the women.  One of the dancers, she was a Siksika from up by Calgary, I had seen her summers before, her moccasins did not seem to touch the ground, she obeyed the physical laws of another world.  The women danced, and my heart ached for reasons that had nothing to do with attraction--I didn't want any of them, I had no interest in speaking to them, I wanted to watch."

(Broadcast: "Reflections West," 2/25/15 & 9/2/15. Listen weekly on the radio, Wednesdays at 4:54 p.m.)

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