Old School Indian

Aaron John Curtis

A beautiful, hilarious, heartbreaking book, which we so love for how piercingly and warmly and wittily it bears witness—to what we talk about as the protest of existing, to the right to remake and reimagine our own myths.

- Lena Waithe, Rishi Rajani, and Naomi Funabashi, Hillman Grad Books

An astonishing coming-of-middle-age debut about an Ahkwesáhsne man’s reluctant return home, Old School Indian is a striking exploration of the resonance of love and family, culture and history.  





Page count




Sale date

January 28, 2025


6 x 9

About the Book

Forty-three-year-old Abe Jacobs has been told by his doctors that he’s dying—and fast. Having exhausted his doctors’ regimens, he begins to contemplate the one path he thought he’d never consider: a healing at the hands of his great uncle Budge Billings. His uncle still lives on the Ahkwesáhsne reservation where Abe was raised, so more than two decades after leaving, Abe reluctantly returns home. 

Budge, a wry, unceremonious, recovered alcoholic, is not the least bit sentimental about his gift. Which is good, because Abe’s last-ditch attempt to be healed is just that—a fragile hope, one of which he is thoroughly skeptical. But no healing is possible without hope or knowing oneself. To find both faith and himself again, Abe must confront how leaving the reservation at eighteen has affected him, and the loves and fears that have kept him far from home ever since. 


Delivered with crackling wit and wildly inventive linguistic turns by Abe’s wise-cracking, would-be-poet alter-ego, Dominick Deer Woods, Old School Indian possesses the insight into the contemporary indigenous experience of Tommy Orange’s There There and Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence, and a singularity of voice that evokes other unforgettable protagonists like Ocean Vuong’s Little Dog and Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead.