Native puppeteers from the White Earth Reservation travel to the 1962 World's Fair
In the summer of 1962, a group of young Native American puppeteers travel in a converted school bus from the White Earth Reservation to the Century 21 Exposition, World's Fair in Seattle, Washington. The five Natives, three young men and two young women, have endured abandonment, abuse, poverty, and find solace, humor, and courage with a mute puppeteer—a Native woman in her seventies who writes original dream songs, and creates hand puppets and ironic parleys that mock the ghosts of authority. Dummy Trout, the mute puppeteer, also figured in Native Tributes and Satie on the Seine. The troupe attends a performance of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett and they create a puppet parley for Wovoka, the inspiration of the Native American Ghost Dance Religion.
Chapter 1: SLIGHT HESITATIONS • Chapter 2: LITERARY MERCY • Chapter 3: ROYAL LIBERTY • Chapter 4: SNOW GHOSTS • Chapter 5: MADAMA BUTTERFLY • Chapter 6: POSTCARD HEARSAY • Chapter 7: HEART STORIES • Chapter 8: WHITEY DWIGHTY • Chapter 9: STRAY SHADOWS • Chapter 10: NOAH LE GROS • Chapter 11: CASTLE BRAVO • Chapter 12: TUMBLE NAMES
"Part novel, part haiku/Anishinaabe dream song, part puppet show, part autobiography, part travelogue = an all-Vizenor bushel of 'trickery queries and spontaneous mockeries;' 'heart songs, dream songs, and tumble names.'"~Kenneth M. Roemer, Co-Editor, The Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature
"Gerald Vizenor is a master of the postmodern narrative. No other Native writer does exactly what he does, and certainly no one does it with his verve and panache. This is an immensely talented and original novelist at the top of his game. Every recent novel by him surpasses the last, and this is no exception."~Jace Weaver, Franklin Professor of Native American Studies, University of Georgia
"A magical and poetic novel celebrating the beauty of Indigenous culture."~Kirkus Reviews
"[Gerald Vizenor's] novels are a masterful foray into a new language of Native novelists and poets, a 'literary ghost dance, a literature of liberation that enlivens tribal survivance.' In turns poignant and ironic, Waiting for Wovoka suffuses a profound humanism."~Alice-Catherine Carls, World Literature Today