Garrison Keillor Chats With Native Author Diane Wilson About Her Memoir Spirit Car


Garrison Keillor, host of A Prairie Home Companion, will discuss Spirit Car: A Journey to a Dakota Past, Native author Diane Wilson’s story of her family’s struggles during and after the 1862 Dakota War in Minnesota.

The discussion, to be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, will be on September 24 at 7 p.m., with tickets available at the One Minneapolis One Read website.

One Minneapolis One Read is a program started by the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Library and Minneapolis Public Schools “to promote community involvement, literacy and respectful public dialogue,” the program said. “At its heart, One Minneapolis One Read is a community-driven effort with individuals, neighborhood groups, educators, businesses and nonprofits all coming together to make this a truly citywide read.”

Spirit Car was published in 2006 but remains relevant today, especially during this 150th anniversary of the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862, as the conflict is officially known. It won the 2006 Minnesota Book Award for Memoir, Autobiography and Creative Nonfiction. Her family's story insinuated itself into Wilson’s mind and work gradually.

“One day I realized that the wind had its own voice and the land listened to my footsteps. And my entire backseat was filled with relatives who wondered why I wasn't paying more attention to their part of the family story,” Wilson, Mdewakanton Dakota, wrote in Spirit Car. “That's when it all started to come together, the mess of facts and old photographs and the smell of sun-baked fields, my own myth rising up from fragments of the past."

Wilson also wrote Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life, published by Borealis in September 2011. In it she tells the stories of Dakota working to heal by reclaiming their traditions. In addition she directs Dream of Wild Health, the 10-acre organic farm that helps American Indians heal from past sorrows by learning the traditional ways of growing food.

This is the second One Minneapolis One Read. The first was during 2011-2012 and featured The Grace of Silence, NPR host and Minnesotan Michele Norris. That book, the One Read site said, “describes the experience of the Norrises as the first black family on the block in a south Minneapolis neighborhood in the 1960s.”

More on Diane Wilson:

Author Diane Wilson Brings Kids Back to Dakota Culture and Values

Organic Farm Wins Grants for Native-Youth Programs

Diane Wilson's website