With This Indian Kid, Eddie Chuculate writes what he subtitles A Native American Memoir. Recounting events from his life during the years 1976-1984, Chuculate conveys how living in Oklahoma—where the races grew up together—the library was his second home. The days of his youth and adolescence were filled with playing sports, gardening, fishing, writing, and listening to music.

A addict of sorts, Eddie “lived and breathed sports.” He was “an all-star in summer baseball, shot hoops in the backyard goal year-round ‘til midnight, and was a safety, running back, and kickoff returner in football” (124). His only problem at school came in basketball because Coach Applegate terrified him.

Most prejudice in Muskogee was shown in class distinction. Of Creek and Cherokee Indian descent, Chuculate “felt more ostracized for not wearing the right jeans or qualifying for free lunch than for the color of [his] skin” (197). Eddie “spent most of high school living under self-conscious clouds of poverty and low self-esteem after being expelled in Tishomingo” (198). However, he basked in the “sunrays of confidence” when he began writing for the newspaper: “Seeing my name on the page sprouted an inner identity to replace poor boy, sneak-thief, and vandal” (198).

In fact, it is this class distinction that forms one of the morals of the memoir. On that topic, Chuculate writes: “Money affords the wealthy time to cultivate their talents, but not all the wealthy are talented. . . . Most have to recognize the opportunity when it arises, seize it, and find time for their passion while working to pay rent and keep food in the refrigerator” (199).

Despite his spartan existence, Chuculate claims his life was “overflowing with fresh food, books, exercise, love, and happiness” (206). He credits much of his success to organized sports, his coaches, and other extracurricular activities, which open doors of opportunity for many of us.

  • Posted by Donna

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