“Thinning Blood” Is a Memoir of Family, Myth and Identity

by | Mar 2024

Thinning Blood Book Cover

Thinning Blood by Leah Myers (W. W. Norton & Company, 2023) is part myth, part dream and part memoir. Myers, the likely last of her family line in the S’Klallam Tribe, tells the tale of her upbringing and fills in the histories of her matrilineal ancestors back to her great-grandmother, the last full-blooded S’Klallam in her line.

Myers tells the stories of her ancestors, using the spirit animals she’s assigned to them. She then metaphorically builds a totem pole, using each animal as the framework for her book. Each member’s character is created from the stories or memories of the person, woven with the mythology traditionally or tangentially assigned to that spirit animal.

Thinning Blood is a poetic read that will take you into the Northwest Territories, where the S’Klallam Tribe has long lived in the Olympic Peninsula and will give you deeper understanding of the challenges related to finding one’s identity and reclaiming heritage decimated by colonization.

Gabrielle Clark is a librarian at Hennepin County Library – Maple Grove. Read more at hclib.org.


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