Award-winning author Eddie Chuculate recounts his experience growing up in rural Oklahoma, from boyhood to young manhood, in an evocative and vivid voice.
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"Granny was full-blooded Creek, but the Bureau of Indian Affairs insisted she was fifteen-sixteenths. She showed her card to me. I’d sit at the kitchen table and stare at her when she was eating, wondering how you can be a sixteenth of anything."
Growing up impoverished and shuttled between different households, it seemed life was bound to take a certain path for Eddie Chuculate. Despite the challenges he faced, his upbringing was rich with love and bountiful lessons from his Creek and Cherokee heritage, deep-rooted traditions he embraced even as he learned to live within the culture of white, small-town America that dominated his migratory childhood.
Award-winning author Eddie Chuculate brings his childhood to life with spare, unflinching prose. This book is at once a love letter to his Native American roots and an inspiring and essential message for young readers everywhere, who are coming of age in an era when conversations about acceptance and empathy, love and perspective are more necessary than ever before.
About the Author
Eddie Chuculate is an American fiction writer of Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee descent. He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Chuculate won a PEN/O. Henry Award in 2007 for his story, "Galveston Bay, 1826." Chuculate's stories have appeared in Manoa, Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, Blue Mesa Review, Many Mountains Moving, and The Kenyon Review. He also earned a degree in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University. He currently lives in Minneapolis.
Praise for Cheyenne Madonna:
"Eddie Chuculate emerges as an important new talent in his generation of storytellers. He’s a kind of journalist of the soul as he investigates the broken-hearted nation of Indian men. The epicenter of action is the tenuous meeting place between boyhood and manhood, between fierce need and desire. Chuculate relates a world that is exactly what it is, with no romantic savage junk, and no temporary spiritual life preservers. In the midst of despair there’s a shrine of meaning that surfaces, like the miracle of sunrise after an all-night party." -- Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate
"Where are we, among these coyote mirages, this endless herd of antelope? What is this beautiful place? Is it the land of magical realism? Not exactly. It’s a bit north of that. The tone of Chuculate’s narration is serene and buoyant, a rare mood at present. Mozart might be a useful model to think of. Every sentence is unexpected, yet infallible. The ultimate aim of the short story, like the arrow, is to end exactly where it should. In art, the satisfaction of hitting the bull’s-eye is not a simple one. It goes deep." -- Ursula K. Le Guin, National Book Award and Hugo Award winner
"Chuculate presents a profound disconnect between the mythology of Indian art and the present-day reality of Indian artists, who rarely get to be artists without the cultural qualifier. He also lays bare the effects of wide-spread multi-generational addiction without making excuses for the way his characters treat each other. There are no saints in here, and no demons, either. Cheyenne Madonna is a fantastic debut." -- The Santa Fe New Mexican
"An amazing, moving debut--rich, thoughtful, eloquent and honest." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Chuculate writes forthright prose in a somber key, examining without judgment the lives of Native American characters like Old Bull, a Cheyenne who, in ‘Galveston Bay, 1826,’ the collection’s one stand-alone story, ventures out to see the ocean for the first time, only to get savaged by a hurricane. Memory and will converge here to powerful effect." -- Publishers Weekly