SHADOWS OF THE BUFFALO: A Family Odyssey Among the Indians by Adolf & Beverly Hungry Wolf Hungry Wolf

SHADOWS OF THE BUFFALO: A Family Odyssey Among the Indians

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Odyssey indeed: the main author of this flatly written but curious and original story was born Adolf GutÖhrlein in southern Germany (during WW II, it seems) and immigrated to the US as a young boy with romantic Karl May-esque visions of Indian life dancing in his head. A generation later he finds himself an adopted member of the Blood (Blackfoot) tribe in Alberta, renamed Hungry Wolf (or Natosina), married to Beverly Little Bear (3/4 Blackfoot, 1/4 white), father of Natoapi-Sachkum-Api and Nato-Achkuinemaki (among others), pious disciple of Wolf Old Man and proud possessor (at enormous expense) of an ancient medicine bundle. Apart from contributing to the religious and cultural resurgence of his tribe, Hungry Wolf is also engaged in a distinctly white-western attempt to return to nature by homesteading in the wilderness. This naively heroic venture has brought its blessings (a sense of new yet timeless roots, entrance into a warm, deeply spiritual community, flight from bourgeois materialism, closeness to the earth) and its frustrations (suspicion or hostility from some Indians, the intractable Blackfoot language, ferocious Northern Plains winters, failed crops, and runaway horses). Hungry Wolf's account of his progressive initiation into the tribal religion is often opaque, partly because he couldn't quite follow the ceremonies, and perhaps too because he didn't want to divulge any sacred traditions. In politics he presses escapism to the point of obtuseness: he rhapsodizes about his primitive nature-loving ancestors but says nothing about his Nazi compatriots; he praises Indian wisdom but largely ignores the oppression of Indians and organized efforts to end it. Despite this, and despite his rambling, humorless style, a unique sort of personal testimony--to include 60 photos, mostly portraits taken by the author.

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1983
Publisher: Morrow