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Book Discussion Series Hits 'Bingo'

The Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma book discussion series at Oklahoma City University will continue with “The Bingo Palace” by Louise Erdrich at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 in the Walker Center room 151 at N.W. 26th Street and Florida Avenue. The discussion is free to the public.

The series is funded by grants from the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Of Chippewa descent, Erdrich began her career as a poet. The backdrop for “The Bingo Palace” narrative is legalized gambling on a reservation that resembles the Chippewa reservation at Turtle Mountain in North Dakota. Summoned by his grandmother at the crossroads of his life, protagonist Lipsa finds himself torn between success and meaning, love and money, and the future and the past.

English professor Tracy Floreani will facilitate the discussion. At each session in the series, a humanities scholar makes a presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussions follow with experienced discussion leaders. At the end, all participants come together for a brief wrap-up.

Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Study through Film and Literature, explained that the purpose of this season’s series is to explore the true and various cultures of Native American tribes, and perhaps unravel some popular misconceptions.

“In this series, Native American novelists update the stories of tribes that continue to live in their home territories,” Winn said. “Movies like ‘Dances with Wolves’ and ‘Geronimo’ end with bedraggled Indians riding into the sunset. But what really happened to them? This series explores that question.”

All books in the series are written by Native American writers. They describe the struggle to maintain ancient traditions despite the mélange of cultures around them. Family history is set within the context of tribal history. The extended families, clans and tribes all have intricate interactions with the characters.

Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to preregister and borrow the reading selection and theme brochure by calling Winn at (405) 208-5472, e-mailing him at or dropping by the Dulaney-Browne Library room 211 or 207.

The final book in the series will be Oct. 23 with “Medicine River” by Tomas King, with the discussion facilitated by history professor Jim Buss.

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