“Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s,” by Tiffany Midge, ISBN 978-1-4962-1557-4
Undoubtedly, the first thing one would ask about Tiffany Midge’s biting satire, “Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s,” is why a Native author would take Dee Brown’s seminal, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” as inspiration for her book’s title.
Brown’s serious epic is one of those works that changed how America thinks about Native people. It was authors and activists like Brown who were responsible for the renaming of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and for the honoring of Native, as well as soldier casualties.
They helped turn the tide against overt and subtle racism by creating a movement to rename Harney Peak Black Elk Peak. And the impact continues, with Native people objecting to monuments dedicated to Christopher Columbus and pioneers who “tamed” the West.
So, why Midge’s book and now?
The answer to that is racism continues, maybe not quite so overtly, but in a more subtle way, quite literally whitewashing not only the history of Native people but also the reality of their humanity and their very existence.
An even more convincing argument for Midge’s book is that she is a Native woman, while Brown was a white man in his early 60s when he wrote his.
Midge takes off the gloves as she critiques everything from “Pretendians” to white stereotypes of Native people to why Native people don’t have a lot to celebrate on Thanksgiving. Her no-holds-barred criticism of President Trump is extensive, and given your political persuasion, possibly quite funny.
Midge does not stand on Brown’s shoulders, nor does she have to. Midge shows how discrimination is as active today as ever. She grabs us by the shoulders and shakes us and screams, “Get it? Get it?” but with a wicked sense of humor.
And no one is immune. This is what she says about men in general:
“Guys, rethink what society has told you that you should desire. Desire me. I’m hot. A real woman is not a porn star or a sewing mannequin or even a living, breathing biologically born female. She’s real. She’s me in a skin suit made of a crazy-quilt of lady parts and stitched-together hides I hunted and kidnapped myself, replete with authentic stretch marks and cute little dimples on the booty. That’s real.”
Midge is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and lives in Moscow, Idaho.