... illuminates the stories and experiences of Indigenous women from the Pacific Northwest for a 21st-century audience. Red Paint offers a poetic narrative of trauma and healing through ancestral rites and punk rock, both of which prove to be potent medicine during LaPointe’s excavation of family legacy and matrilineal power ... For LaPointe, restoring the self to health is entwined with restoring Native women’s voices that have been erased throughout history. She uses her own luminescent voice to tell their stories, wielding language, words, ritual and community as tools of contemporary and ancestral healing.
In writing this book, LaPointe has given her audience a precious gift: a searing, fine-grained portrait of how centuries of cumulative historical trauma and neglect conspire to make it easy for indigenous girls to, quite simply, vanish into thin air ... is at its most moving when LaPointe explores the ghostliness of this state of internal exile experienced by Native American survivors. The natural beauty of her surroundings — the Cascade Mountains; the Skagit River, from whose banks her community gathers red clay for their ceremonial makeup; the sacred salmon and the salty ocean; the blackberries, pine trees, sword ferns, and pebbly beaches — form more than just the story’s backdrop.
... a vulnerable and luminous debut set against the backdrop of Coast Salish ancestral land ... LaPointe applies a punk rock aesthetic to her rich ancestral history ... raises interesting questions about how present-day nomadism, largely driven by following jobs, education or affordable housing, differs from ancestral nomadism where LaPointe’s ancestors traveled the Skagit River and surrounding land following salmon, ripening berries and other forms of sustenance.
LaPointe delivers a cutting, artful thrashing of settler colonialism and a sensitive exploration of ways of healing and forging space for community and connection through storytelling ... Via written word and grounded journeys, she honors ancestors who have modeled ways to heal, love, preserve stories and language and leave legacies ... LaPointe's intimate prose is introspective, raging and funny. Vivid details mark salient memories of falling in love, navigating conflict and asserting value ... reducing Red Paint to a story of resilience does a disservice to LaPointe's nuanced offering: meditations on self and legacy, thoughts on the urgency of listening and representation, and a model for creating space to connect across communities inherited and created.
Throughout the book, the author deftly navigates multiple timelines, weaving in and out of family history, personal narrative, and a host of other tangential topics ... Although the author does not shy away from heartache and sorrow, readers are welcomed on what is ultimately a healing journey that will stick in their memories ... An engaging, poetic, educative examination of the search for home and personal and cultural identity.
... stirring ... LaPointe writes in lucid vignettes that alternate between past and present as she reflects on her ancestors, Salish medicine workers who 'faced violence, disease, and genocide'; her nomadic upbringing with her parents in the 1980s; and her romantic relationships in her 30s ... While LaPointe’s prose falls flat when charting the love triangle that ensued between the three of them, her writing radiates elsewhere—including in a story of her ancestor Comptia, one of the only Chinook Indians to survive a smallpox epidemic. She also displays immense vulnerability when discussing her sexual assaults, and how, through her 'own ritual of healing,' she resisted being defined by them. LaPointe’s fresh and urgent perspective on Indigenous culture is enthralling.