If the book is a reminder of all our nation’s misdeeds against the country’s original inhabitants, it is also a call to action. In each chapter, Dorgan presents a problem faced by Native Americans that seems intractable and then offers examples of individuals or tribes that have succeeded despite the enormous challenges. The statistics in some cases are breathtakingly daunting ... Those depressing numbers, affecting every aspect of Indian life, can feel overwhelming. Dorgan does his best to alleviate despair by telling readers about the many Indian men, women and children who are working to address them.
Dorgan uses Tamara’s sad story as the vehicle to explore the history of America’s treatment of its Native population, from broken treaties and lost homelands to extreme poverty and lack of educational opportunities. He isn’t without hope, citing numerous examples of young Native healthcare workers, educators, and lawyers already having an impact on public policy. But he also wants to inspire readers to address the needs of 'pockets of people living in third-world conditions.'