David Treuer — Language Carries More Than Words
Writer David Treuer’s work tells a story that is richer and more multi-dimensional than the American history most of us learned in school. Treuer grew up on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. At the time of our conversation with him in 2008, he was part of an ongoing project to document the grammar and usage of the Ojibwe language. He says the recovery of tribal languages and names is part of a fuller recovery of our national story — and the human story. And it holds unexpected observations altogether about language and meaning that most of us express unselfconsciously in our mother tongues.
David Treuer divides his time between the Leech Lake Reservation and Los Angeles, where he teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. His books include “Native American Fiction: A User’s Manual,” “The Translation of Dr. Apelle,” and most recently, “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present.” His writing has also appeared in the “New York Times,” the “Los Angeles Times,” and “The Washington Post.”
Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in June 2008.