James Welch: Winter in the Blood

(1079 words)

Winter in the Blood, published in 1974, was the first novel written by James Welch, a Blackfeet Indian from northern Montana. He once commented that its title was originally “The Only Good Indian”, a reference to the notorious remark attributed to General Philip Sheridan, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”. Welch had previously authored an accomplished volume of modernist poems, Riding the Earthboy 40 (1971). An untitled poem from that collection serves as the novel's epigraph. Its final lines — “Earthboy calls me from my dream: / Dirt is where the dreams must end” — are foreboding, as is the novel's opening episode. The narrator/protagonist stops at the abandoned ruin of the Earthboy cabin and …

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Barnett, Louise. "Winter in the Blood". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 January 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=24940, accessed 06 July 2015.]

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  1. Native American and Canadian Writing