RAVEN-WHO-SETS-THINGS-RIGHT: Indian Tales of the Northwest Coast by Fran Martin

RAVEN-WHO-SETS-THINGS-RIGHT: Indian Tales of the Northwest Coast

Email this review


In her atmospheric, scene-setting introduction to these stories first published in 1951 as Nine Tales of Raven, Martin recalls the Tlingit remark that there were ""so many Raven tales that life was not long enough to tell them all."" If so, she seems to have selected some of the best of them from the Bureau of American Ethnology sources (especially Swanton and Boas) that are conscientiously listed in the back. Martin's Raven is not the creature of mischief he sometimes becomes elsewhere; though tricky, he uses his wiles here to help mankind--letting the daylight out of an Old-One's bags, distributing bounty from selfish Halibut's Everlasting House, and always advising wisely and well. It's worth noting here how trim and coherent is Martin's handling in ""Strong Man"" of the same folklore material that Christie Harris exploited so pretentiously in Sky Man on a Totem Pole (KR, p. 317, J-107). Unfortunately Dorothy McEntee's drawings of Northwest Indian carvings have neither the force of the originals nor the grace of, say, James Houston's adaptations for Songs of the Dream People (KR, 1972). But the tales can stand on their own and the telling is fluent and strong.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1975
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Harper & Row