Don’t Know Much About Indians (but i wrote a book about us anyways) (“DKMAI”) was initially Gyasi’s attempt to create some modern mythology and/or archetypes for Native people. He was heavily inspired by the “Napi” stories that his maternal grandpa Percy Bullchild both told and wrote about. He was also inspired by the big book of Greek mythology that the family always had on their old, warped coffee table. Finally, when he was in 5th grade, in Mr. Higgins’ class at Napi Elementary, Mr. Higgins assigned the class to read The Brothers Grimm. All of those sources—Napi stories, Greek Mythology, and the Brothers Grimm stories—utilized morality tales and oftentimes simplified characters in order to teach valuable lessons. DKMAI is Gyasi’s attempt to replicate that structure and those lessons without the very clear lesson at the end.
Of course, the title is somewhat tongue-in-cheek; Gyasi knows plenty about Indians. In fact, he’s been Indian pretty much all of his life, and lived on several different reservations where he learned to play basketball, fight, skip school and to love. Still, Gyasi doesn’t “know” Indians the way his grandpa did—like many Natives nowadays, he’s a product of pan-Indianism, urban Indian survival instincts, community colleges, Saturday Night Live, MTV, hip-hop music, etc. His grandpa lived mainly amongst Natives his entire life; Gyasi walks almost every day primarily among non-Natives, even on the reservations. Demographics have changed, circumstances have changed.
Therefore, DKMAI is about many of those experiences, both on-reservation and off-reservation. There are experiences in DKMAI that every single Native person will be able to relate to; there are others that are Gyasi’s alone. Still, there is enough commonality in DKMAI that Natives and non-Natives alike will be able to learn about some of the very unique challenges, victories, tensions, and heartbreaks that Native people face. This book will teach you, regardless of your ethnicity, religion, tribe, or worldview. Some of the lessons in DKMAI are heartbreaking; some are beautiful. Many times, as oftentimes happened in Napi tales, Greek mythology and Brothers Grimm stories, contemporary Native stories are both heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. DKMAI captures that.
 For more information, please go to http://blackfootdigitallibrary.org/en/category/subject-lcsh/napi
 I think that this PDF article has a pretty good explanation of "pan-Indianism." Read it--the person who wrote that is smarter than I am. Still, to me pan-Indianism is a very pragmatic blending of various Native cultures, biology (intermarrying) and practices to give one a sense of community in a very decidedly non-Native locales. Still, read this: https://journals.ku.edu/index.php/amerstud/article/view/2223/2182
About the Author photograph--Levi Blackwolf Wolfn Photography
Cover Painting--Andrew Morrison
Web Design--Matt Echohawk-Hayashi
Cover Design--Kim Pyle