Cloyd, a fourteen year old Ute/Navajo boy, has been taken away from his grandmother to an Indian youth home for troubled teens. During the summer "outing" program he finds he has a home with an elderly white widowed man named Walter Landis who has dreams of striking it rich in his gold mine in the Colorado Mountains. Through trial and error the two find that they need each other and Cloyd steps up to the challenge of accepting the teachings of Walter, his new father figure.
Well written and filled with adventure, one might overlook the stereotypical representation of Native families, and extremely ethnocentric viewpoints perpetuating them. For years there has been a belief in the United States that Native youth would be better off with Non-Native guardians, which for some ethnocentric reason, are deemed with a higher moral value than Natives. If for some reason Cloyd was not thriving in the home of his Grandmother, the Indian Child Welfare Act would have placed him in a relatives home, or with another Native family before sending him to non-Natives to be "saved." The book is captivating and well written, but why couldn't Walter Landis have been a Native Elder that helped Cloyd rather than a White Gold miner?
Marlette Grant-Jackson – ITEPP-CRC