Surviving in Two Worlds brings together the voices of twenty-six Native American leaders. The interviewees come from a variety of tribal backgrounds and include such national figures as Oren Lyons, Arvol Looking Horse, John Echohawk, William Demmert, Clifford Trafzer, Greg Sarris, and Roxanne Swentzell.
Their interviews are divided into five sections, grouped around the themes of tradition, history and politics, healing, education, and culture. They take readers into their lives, their dreams and fears, their philosophies and experiences, and show what they are doing to assure the survival of their peoples and cultures, as well as the earth as a whole. Their analyses of the past and present, and especially their counsels for the future, are timely and urgent.
Writer and poet Darryl Babe Wilson, a full-blood of the Pit River tribe, has long been committed to collecting and preserving the oral cultures and histories of Native peoples. Lois Crozier-Hogle of Palo Alto, California, has been engaged in environmental issues for more than fifty years. Giuseppe Saitta is a photographer and filmmaker whose work has been published throughout the world. Jay Leibold of San Francisco has been an editor and author for sixteen years.
"Surviving in Two Worlds, which consists of 26 interviews with contemporary Native American leaders, explores a powerful vision. The subjects tell of the precarious balance of a people claiming a place in a society that has continually forsaken them. Bitterness and resentment flow through these stories, but so does hope. Survival means something different to all 26 subjects, but their achievements and expressions come together to show a vital and varied Native American community."
—Lit. (San Francisco Bay Guardian)
"I think there is a great need for a book like this one. It comes at an important moment in trying to renew commitment to the earth."
"Words are powerful. They describe and define worlds. Here, words are offered by indigenous peoples from across this country to tell about and validate our past and emerging native histories. These people speak of personal and spiritual strengths which grow out of a deep connectedness to place, family, and community. Through words, they acknowledge our common belief that people are a part of nature and one with other animals and plants. They validate the knowledge of our ancestors by speaking of the sacred as essential to a life of love and respect for self, other people, and creatures of the earth. They share, through thoughtful words, worlds of distress—and worlds of beauty and hope."
"It's so important that the truth be told, that Native Americans have a platform so that we can hear ourselves. I also want to say that it's increasingly important that we take control of our lives and tell our stories. If we're to survive, we've got to take hold of our anger and our fears, stand up with all of the strength and beauty and wisdom that our ancestors have left us, and live with that."