Turtle BellyeBook - 1998
Attempting to escape her abusive husband, Sam's mother takes her six-year-old son to live with his cousin Ellie and her family on the Six Nations Reserve. There Sam learns the ways and stories of ancestors he has never known, and he learns to trust in the love and loyalty of family.
Stories of the Little People, the Old Ones, and the Three Sisters capture the young boy's imagination, and Sam learns to express his views by painting -- a talent that eventually earns him a scholarship to Dartmouth College. Coming full circle, Sam must now learn the ways of the white world in order to survive.
Monture is a gifted storyteller. His tale of Sam's spiritual and sexual awakening is peopled with memorable characters: Ellie, the courageous earth mother; Old Jonas, who teaches Sam about ritual and meaning in everyday life; and Sam's father, a fearful presence in his memory, who returns for a climactic confrontation with his son.
Reservation poverty, Indian sovereignty, burials and archaeology, alcoholism, religion, sexuality, and domestic violence are among the issues Monture explores frankly, compassionately, and with wry humor. Traveling with Sam, the reader will grow to understand his old Aunt Molly's words: "It's not different circles we're traveling but one great circle. We just enter the race at different times".