Becoming Story: A Journey Among Seasons, Places, Trees, and Ancestors

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Product Details
$25.00  $23.25
Heyday Books
Publish Date
5.1 X 7.1 X 0.9 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Greg Sarris is an award-winning author and tribal leader serving his fifteenth consecutive term as Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. He received his Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University and has taught as a professor of Creative Writing and American and American Indian Literatures. His books include Becoming Story, How a Mountain Was Made, and Grand Avenue, which was adapted into an HBO miniseries. Visit his website at


"Sarris recounts the hard-won knowledge of Coast Miwok, Pomo, and other Indigenous peoples. He also imagines a possible future in which at least some Native lands are restored to their pre-contact health and serve as models for what the world might learn from Indigenous peoples, if it's not too late to put such lessons to use."--M.T. Hartnell, Alta

"A fascinating and evocative memoir in essays."--Kirkus, starred review

"Sarris gathers from gossip, myth, dreams and science to investigate the imperishable power of story itself and how it helps us locate and claim a sense of home. ... In clean, thoughtful prose with jewellike detail--whether pondering Yosemite, his childhood babysitter, a secret cave or the oak tree outside his house--these meditations enchant."--Joan Frank, San Francisco Chronicle

"Greg Sarris's Becoming Story is a thoughtful, poignant collection of essays that feels at once inevitable and serendipitous. Sarris, an accomplished writer [...] is exactly the person one would expect to produce such an intimate reflection of modern Native American life, and to reveal the delicate interconnections between his personal story, the story of his people, and the places that have shaped those people since time immemorial."--Rain Taxi

"Greg Sarris's resonant memoir explores identities, heritages, and the legacies of places. ... The book details California's troubled history of European conquest, Manifest Destiny, and the suppression and subversion of Indigenous ways of life. It laments that the state's mystical, resourceful Indigenous cultures were invaded by Spanish rancheros in the 1800s, after which California's environmental harmony began to suffer. ... Testifying to the impacts of people on the land, the powerful memoir Becoming Story lauds the power of language when it comes to leaving tracks for others to follow."--Foreword Reviews

"In this powerful memoir-in-essays, Greg Sarris explores questions about home, connection, and belonging in vivid prose that is both humorous and profound."--Laura Schmitt, Electric Literature

"Like Oakland author Tommy Orange, Sarris has portrayed Native American life in a non-romantic, realistic way in his past work. Becoming Story maintains this, but also takes on a more dreamlike quality, as Sarris evokes memories from his past and incorporates landscape, weaving them into a whole narrative."--Kary Hess, The Bohemian

"In Sarris's latest work, Becoming Story, he invites us into an intimate and communal California Indian world. Part memoir, part history, part ethnography, the work has echoes of Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain. He shares, with refreshing honesty, his family roots--their depths and dislocations, as well as the their strong sinews that the forces of settler colonialism and American genocide could not sever. His narrative reminds us that the roots of our tribal identities "remember" and, ultimately, restore(y) us."--Theresa Gregor, Asst. Prof of American Indian Studies at Cal State University, Long Beach

"Sarris' Northern California landscapes are sacred texts, peopled with elk, pronghorn, osprey, and lizards. Traversing different lives, Becoming Story is a heartfelt contemplation of one man's decades-long journey of returning home."--San Francisco Book Review