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The Music and Writing of Sasha LaPointe: Background information when reading Red Paint

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Red Paint

The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk

by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe

Red Paint by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe X
Red Paint by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2022, 208 pages

    Mar 2023, 240 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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About this Book

The Music and Writing of Sasha LaPointe

This article relates to Red Paint

Print Review

Sasha LaPointeSasha LaPointe, the author of Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk, is an established musician, poet and writer of nonfiction who holds an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. According to her website, she draws inspiration from her Indigenous background (from the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian tribes) and "writes with a focus on trauma and resilience, ranging topics from PTSD, sexual violence, the work her great grandmother did for the Lushootseed language revitalization, to loud basement punk shows and what it means to grow up mixed heritage." As is apparent from reading Red Paint, her nonfiction writing is informed by the other forms of art she practices.

In her book, LaPointe recounts her continual love for music and its transformative role in her life, including the personal impact certain artists, such as PJ Harvey and Bikini Kill, had on her at different times. She also shares the impetus behind lyrics she wrote that are featured in a spoken word performance with her punk band Medusa Stare, beginning, "You said of my family / we were cursed / specifically the women / sick." These lyrics are set to the band's music in the song "Poison Garden 1" on their self-titled album, which is available for free on Bandcamp and to Spotify users. Medusa Stare formed in the Pacific Northwest in 2016. Their Facebook page describes the band as "Anarcho Goth."

LaPointe is now involved in a new musical project, Fleur Du Louve, with Kari Killjoy. You can support Fleur Du Louve by purchasing their album Sparkwood on Bandcamp at the price of your choice.

Much of LaPointe's short nonfiction examines subjects similar to those explored in Red Paint. A piece for Indian Country Today details her reaction to the 2015 film The Revenant as an Indigenous woman, and another for HuffPost covers her feelings surrounding Thanksgiving during the first year of COVID-19. In an essay for The Rumpus, she recounts beginning to write about abuse and trauma (which she also addresses in Red Paint) and viewing the dissociation that comes with trauma through the lens of fairy tales and mythology. "The Jacket," published in Hunger Mountain, is a piece of creative nonfiction that tells of her experiences trying to fit in with other children in her youth and how this coincided with her obsessive desire for a denim jacket.

Fans of LaPointe's music or writing may be interested to know that she has a book of poetry forthcoming from Milkweed. In the meantime, you can read her poems "What he should have had" and "Lifting The Sky" on LitHub — appearing alongside work from four other Indigenous women in an online collection curated by Pulitzer-winning poet Natalie Diaz.

Sasha LaPointe, courtesy of Artist Trust

Filed under Music and the Arts

Article by Elisabeth Cook

This "beyond the book article" relates to Red Paint. It originally ran in April 2022 and has been updated for the March 2023 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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