Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land

Rating: 5/5

What It’s About:

A member of the Kiowa tribe, Momaday was born in Lawton, Oklahoma and grew up on Navajo, Apache, and Peublo reservations throughout the Southwest. It is a part of the earth he knows well and loves deeply.

In Earth Keeper, he reflects on his native ground and its influence on his people. “When I think about my life and the lives of my ancestors,” he writes, “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.”  

Momaday shares stories and memories throughout his life, stories that have been passed down through generations, stories that reveal a profound spiritual connection to the American landscape and reverence for the natural world.


The Review

I’ve have this book in my Kindle for a long time. When I came across it again, I was surprised at how short it was. Only 80 pages long. Momaday’s prose poetry is a meditative homage to his homeland and cultural heritage. I enjoyed the style and rhythm of his writings. Many times I felt almost hypnotized by the words on the page.

The descriptions of the land were breathtaking. It reminded me of a collections of essays in The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich and the short story Big Two-Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway. All of these stories reflect on the valuable power of the earth and the relationships humans have with nature. Earth Keeper also inspires readers to reflect on they way that modern human civilization treats the earth and warns of the consequences.

Another element that I enjoyed was the oral tradition of passing down wisdom among the generations. In Earth Keeper, Momaday writes on his memories of Dragonfly, his tribe’s holy man and the lessons that were taught. The storytelling and wisdom shared by Dragonfly was engaging and I would love to hear more stories like these. I also have another one of Momaday’s books, Death of Sitting Bear, in my collection and look forward to reading it.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought!

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