Tuesday, July 25th • 7 pm
“I had excavated the bones of those memories, unaware that they would reanimate, that they would chase me into dreams. The bones took shape in these flashbacks,” writes Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe in her memoir Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk. A member of the Upper Skagit as well as having ancestry from the Nooksack and Swinomish Indian Tribes, LaPointe traces her journey to connect with her matrilineal bloodline while processing intergenerational and personal trauma. A teenage runaway whose family moved frequently, LaPointe was nomadic for much of her adult life and paints a portrait of the Washington landscape from Oyster Dome to the Duwamish and on down to Ilwaco.
“You come from a long line of strength. It’s in your blood,” Lapointe’s mother reminds her. She returns to the “canoes” (stories) of her ancestor Comptia Koholowish and her grandmother and namesake Lushootseed linguist Vi taqʷšəblu Hilbert in search of that strength. Lapointe doesn’t dwell on the circumstances of her traumatic early childhood events, instead showing her full-bodied approach to reclaiming herself, first through drugs and entering the punk scene and eventually through ancestral rituals and joining an all-women punk band.
For anyone who has ever been blindsided by a trigger and took off running then spent days on end in bed, there are a lot of those moments to relate to. LaPointe’s poetry collection, Rose Quartz, complements her poetic memoir, where rose quartz figures prominently in her recovery—it is the gemstone of deep healing and self-love.
Red Paint won the 2023 Pacific Northwest Book Award and is part of King County Library’s annual Lake Forest Park/Shoreline/Richmond Beach Reads program. Red Paint will be 20% off at all Third Place locations during July. You can read an interview with her here.