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Sinister Graves book event featuring author Marcie R. Rendon

Set in 1970s Minnesota, White Earth Nation author Marcie R. Rendon's award winning Cash Blackbear Series returns in a thrilling, poignant mystery where 19-year-old Cash must uncover the truth behind the disappearances of Indigenous women.

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Time & Location








One Book, One ND book event with author Marcie R. Rendon

One Book One North Dakota is a statewide book club that features best-selling authors in a 60-minute webinar. Attendees are encouraged to participate in a Q&A with the author.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

4-5 pm CST

A young Native American woman’s body floats along the floodwaters in a  midwestern town. A small, unmarked grave rests silently beside a pastor’s  family plot in a church graveyard. Another Native American woman is  battered to death and dumped in the woods. A baby cries.

These haunting images form the chilling backbone to Sinister Graves  (Soho Crime | October 2022), the third book in Marcie R. Rendon’s Cash  Blackbear Mystery series. Rendon’s stories are not for the faint of heart— but neither are the truths they are based upon. Only in the past year has  the American mainstream begun to recognize the large-scale contemporary  injustice and discrimination that Indigenous Americans have known for  decades—from the startling contrast in national media coverage for a  missing white woman versus a missing Native woman to the hundreds of  unmarked graves recently detected at Indigenous boarding schools in the US  and Canada—and that’s only scratching the surface.

Through her courageously candid explorations of some of the darkest  and most shrouded elements of Indigenous life and American history,  Marcie R. Rendon honors the strength of her people before her and gives  voice to the silenced Native women and children whose stories would not  be heard until only recently—or who never even had the chance to speak.  Rendon’s Ojibwe heroine, the tough-as-nails Cash Blackbear, demonstrates  the resilience, compassion, and vulnerability of so many unrecognized  Native women who must fight for their place in the world.

But Cash Blackbear is so much more than an emblem of ethnic trauma:  she is a determined, intelligent sleuth in a tightly wound mystery series among  the most evocative in the genre. Rendon deftly weaves together true history,  fast-paced murder mysteries, atmospheric midwestern settings, and elements  of the supernatural to create a series that continues to impress with such  accolades as a Pinckley Prize for the first book, Murder on the Red River, and  a Sue Grafton Award nomination for the second, Girl Gone Missing. With Sinister Graves, fans of the series and newcomers alike are sure  to see why Marcie R. Rendon is one of the foremost artistic voices in the  Midwest and in contemporary Indigenous fiction.

Marcie R. Rendon is an enrolled citizen of the White Earth Nation in what  is now called Minnesota, Marcie R. Rendon grew up in the Red River Valley. In the middle of rural America, reading was a lifeline for Marcie. Reading led to writing. Although no one told her she could grow up to be a writer, she always wrote poetry and stories. She wrote her way through college, earning degrees in Criminal Justice and American Indian Studies, followed by a master’s degree in Human Development.

While working in Native American prison programs, youth adolescent  sexual assault programs, and inpatient sexual addiction programs, Marcie  continued to write, stuffing everything into dresser drawers until one day she  decided to “make a living as a writer.” That decision led her to write across  many genres: journalism, poetry, plays, work with classical composers, short  stories, children’s books, and, eventually, her Cash Blackbear Mystery series.

Marcie draws inspiration from rural life, where there are many secrets, some  of them deadly. By writing her truth (as fiction), she has been able to reach  and educate a broad audience about current Native American issues. In 2018,  Rendon was recognized as a 50 over 50 Change-maker by AARP Minnesota  and Pollen. In 2020, she was the first Native American woman to receive  the McKnight Foundation’s Distinguished Artist Award and was awarded  an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Adler University for her years of  work as a distinguished social justice champion, author, and arts activist. She  currently lives in Minneapolis.

Moderator Rebecca Chalmers has spent her adult life on the study of literature. A Ph.D. in English (with concentrations in American literature, film studies, and critical theory) led her to a rich and rewarding academic career, the last thirteen years of which were spent with the English program at the University of Mary in Bismarck, and in regular work with the Humanities North Dakota. Currently, she resides on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where she works as an independent scholar, with occasional university classes, and in freelance editing and writing, all while she continues to pen her own poetry and short stories.

One Book, One ND events are sponsored by the Paris Family Foundation and Prairie Public 

HND Value Statement

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota. However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally. Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University. To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

Humanities North Dakota classes and events are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities

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