Treuer illuminates the political history of Ojibwe in Minnesota with masterful storytelling

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature 2011 General Nonfiction finalist:

The Assassination of Hole in the Day
Anton Treuer
Borealis Books/Minnesota Historical Society Press
Category Sponsor: Minnesota AFL-CIO


An excerpt from The Assassination of Hole in the Day:

Bagone-giizhig dressed in the finest suits, meeting the president of the United States and other high-ranking officials, yet he also wore traditional Ojibwe attire and danced at war and scalp dances. He gave some of the most stunning speeches that government officials had ever heard, swaying leaders with the power of his thoughts, yet he held enormous influence with his own people and even the Dakota listened earnestly to his counsel…Though not a hereditary chief, he was a traditional leader with enormous, undeniable power.

On June 27, 1868, Hole in the Day (Bagone-giizhig) the Younger traveled to Washington, DC to fight the planned removal of the Mississippi Ojibwe and was fatally shot. His unexpected death became national news, and rumors of its cause ranged from jealousy to retaliation for the attacks he instigated in 1862. This book focuses on relationships with other tribes, the role of Ojibwe tradition and culture, and interviews with over 50 elders to further describe the events leading up to Hole in the Day’s death.


Anton Treuer is Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and editor of Oshkaabewis Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language. He has also written several books on the Ojibwe language.


“An essential study of nineteenth-century Ojibwe leadership and an important contribution to the field of American Indian Studies by an author of extraordinary knowledge and talent. Treuer’s work is infused with a powerful command over Ojibwe culture and linguistics.”  – Ned Blackhawk, author of Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West

“The Assassination of Hole in the Day is a masterful history, and more. Anton Treuer illuminates the character of a controversial and charismatic Ojibwe leader from within Ojibwe culture, and tells a powerful story of loss that reverberates in the present.” – Louise Erdrich, Publisher.

“This book examines a pivotal chapter in Ojibwe history, meticulously told but accessible to all. Besides archived sources, Treuer makes extensive use of oral history which illuminates the full story.  The fascinating title topic is enhanced by a rich background story of Indians in Minnesota. This should be required reading for all Minnesotans; luckily the compelling story makes the assignment easy.” – Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Judge


Fresh Air, from WHYY >> Brothers David and Anton Treuer, members of the Ojibwe nation from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota, sat down with Dave Davies (sitting in for Terry Gross) in April 2008. They are working to preserve the Ojibwe language, one of the few Native American languages in use.David Treuer is a professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Minnesota. He is author of a number of books, including the novel The Translation of Dr Apelles: A Love Story.


Treuer sat down with Eric Eskola and Cathy Wurzer on tpt’s Almanac back in March, 2010.

Erik Hare interview with Anton Treuer, author of “The Assassination of Hole in the Day” from October, 2010


Award winners will be announced at the 23rd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 16, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.

Each year in the weeks leading up to the Minnesota Book Awards gala, all Minnesotans are invited to take part in voting for the Readers’ Choice Award. Vote now through the end of March. Please, only one vote per person.

Have you read The Assassination of Hole in the Day? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

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