I was bamboozled! I was taken in by a “memoir” full of lies. This has happened before, but I felt particularly upset with this one. Who betrayed me with their deception?
I was so taken by “The Blood Runs Like A River Through My Dreams” by Nasdijj that I was going to recommend it. Then I found out that he faked nearly the entire memoir, including his Native identity.
And Native folks took notice. Hillel Italie, a Native author, discusses the issue of fake identities in publishing memoirs here. Sherman Alexie, who is Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, noted plagiarism from himself and other Native authors. He is quoted in “Navahoax” in LAWeekly saying, “The whole time I was reading I was thinking, this doesn’t just sound like me, this is me,” and “At first I was flattered, but as I kept reading I noticed he was borrowing from other Native writers too. I thought, this can’t be real.”
I feel tricked and more than a little disgusted. Native people have a hard enough time finding representation and having their voices heard that it seems particularly repugnant for some white guy to pretend to be Native and make a whole bunch of money off of it. I write more about the issues of fake memoirs in my article “Fake Stories And Stolen Identities: A Mini Analysis Of Memoirs” on AmReading.com. (Disclosure: I get paid via page views on that site as long as I keep publishing there.)