Blast from the Past
Title: Pukawiss the Outcast
Author: Jay Jordan Hawke
Series: The Two-spirit Chronicles: Book One
Publication Date: January 15, 2014
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Pukawiss the Outcast is the first book in my series, The Two-spirit Chronicles published by Harmony Ink Press. A two-spirit is a concept by Native Americans to explain the wide spectrum of human sexuality, including gay people. In Ojibwe traditions, a two-spirit was believed to be very special. They were considered especially strong prophetic dreamers. I thought it would be interesting to explore this phenomena in the modern world. My lead protagonist, Joshua Ishkoday, grapples with both his sexuality and the strange talent for dreaming that comes with it. The sequel, A Scout is Brave, was just released by Harmony Ink Press and develops that idea further. It’s set in Boy Scout camp, so Joshua has to deal with the additional nightmare of anti-gay bigotry. The main point of the series is to highlight the sharply contrasting ways in which gay people are treated in society. Christianity has historically condemned gay people. But if you study other traditions, you quickly learn that such approaches are not universal. I would like my readers to understand that the stigma against homosexuality is the only thing that is not natural or universal. Pukawiss the Outcast celebrates a very common Native American tradition that venerates gay people. It may seem like the whole world, and all of history, is against you. But that simply is not true. Imagine living in a world where as a gay person you are considered something extra special—that you are in fact touched by God. That’s a radically different world from the one most gay teens grow up in today. I want people to see what that is like through the eyes of my teen protagonist.
Blurb: When family complications take Joshua away from his fundamentalist Christian mother and leave him with his grandfather, he finds himself immersed in a mysterious and magical world. Joshua’s grandfather is a Wisconsin Ojibwe Indian who, along with an array of quirky characters, runs a recreated sixteenth-century village for the tourists who visit the reservation. Joshua’s mother kept him from his Ojibwe heritage, so living on the reservation is liberating for him. The more he learns about Ojibwe traditions, the more he feels at home.
One Ojibwe legend in particular captivates him. Pukawiss was a powerful manitou known for introducing dance to his people, and his nontraditional lifestyle inspires Joshua to embrace both his burgeoning sexuality and his status as an outcast. Ultimately, Joshua summons the courage necessary to reject his strict upbringing and to accept the mysterious path set before him.
Jay Jordan Hawke holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in history, as well as a second master’s in Outdoor Education. He loves everything sci-fi, especially Star Trek, and hopes to be on the first starship out of here. In the meantime, he teaches at a college prep school and anxiously awaits the day when he can write full time. His hobbies include camping, reading, running, and writing. He currently lives in Indiana.
Pukawiss the Outcast:
A Scout is Brave:
Excerpt from Pukawiss the Outcast:
“He’s been acting weird,” Mokwa said to Jenny.
“Yeah, well, there is a reason for that,” Jenny responded. “And it’s why I wanted to talk with you alone.”
“Jealous of all my quality alone time with Joshua?” Mokwa teased.
Jenny simply ignored the insinuation. “Listen, haven’t you noticed that something was—” She paused for a second before continuing. “—a bit off about Joshua at the pizza place?”
Mokwa wanted to answer “no,” but he knew by now that when Jenny asked him questions like that, she already had the one correct answer in mind. His only real option was to listen to it.
“What do you mean?” he asked, figuring he couldn’t go wrong with a question.
“With Kiwi?” Jenny said, as though it were obvious. “Seriously, you didn’t notice?”
“He seemed to be having a great time,” Mokwa pointed out, realizing that it was the wrong answer even as he said it.
“Around you, maybe,” Jenny asserted.
“He’s my bro; of course he has a good time around me.”
“But not around Kiwi!” she said forcefully, making an obvious point. “Joshua wasn’t even upset that she was just using him to make Black Crow jealous.”
“What are you saying?” Mokwa asked, just wanting to get the confusion over with.
“I think Joshua is a two-spirit,” Jenny said calmly.
“Two-spirit? No way.” Mokwa chuckled at the notion. “I’d totally know.”
“Way,” Jenny responded. “And you’re too clueless to know anything.”
“No, he was just being shy around Kiwi. He’ll open up eventually.”
“Look,” Jenny said. “What typical teenage boy has no interest in the most beautiful girl in Wisconsin when she practically throws herself at him?”
“Yeah, Kiwi is definitely a fox!” Mokwa agreed. He looked lost in thought.
Jenny hit Mokwa on the shoulder. “I’m being serious.”
“Ouch, okay, sorry. Me too. This is me being serious.” Mokwa molded his face, attempting to clone Little Deer’s stoic expression.
Jenny broke out in laughter. “I can’t stay mad at you,” she teased. “But really, what about Joshua?”
“Fine, I’ll ask him about it. We’re like brothers. He’ll tell me anything.”
“Oh my God, Mokwa, you can’t just ask him!” she said as if Mokwa were an idiot.
“Because he’s probably not comfortable with it.” Again, Jenny sounded like she was explaining the obvious to Mokwa.
“He did say his mother was crazy antigay,” Mokwa recalled.
“There is something else,” she said, quieting down a bit.
“You shouldn’t flirt with him.”
“Oh my God, you really are jealous of Joshua!” Mokwa teased. “You should be,” he added, as his facial expression got really serious.
“You really don’t get it, do you?”
“Wow, just tell me,” Mokwa insisted, tired of playing this game.
“He’s got a crush on you.”
“No way! Pukawiss is my brother, that’s all,” Mokwa pointed out, dismissing Jenny’s apparent revelation.
“You have no idea how hot you are.”
“Well, when you put it that way, I guess it does make sense,” he finally agreed.
“So you’ve got to be careful around him.”
“Yeah, you are such a tease, and you don’t even realize it.”
“I can’t help it.”
“I know you can’t,” she said. “It’s why I love you so much.”
“Okay, I’ll try. Any more insights to share?” he teased.
“Just a command. Stay the hell away from Kiwi!”
“Why don’t you tell me to stay away from Joshua?” Mokwa replied.
“Because that’s hot,” Jenny joked.
“If I stay away from Kiwi, can I still flirt with Joshua?”
Jenny hit him again.
“Ouch,” Mokwa said. “Sheesh.”