AMERICAN INDIAN PROSE AND POETRY by Gloria & Frank R. and Jacqueline J. Vivelo--Eds. Levitas


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A useful and revealing introduction to American Indian literature and folklore. The first section (before the coming of the white man) is the best -- short myth like tales on the origins of the Morning Star, why mothers give birth only once a year and why death came into the world; sermonistic advice to offspring; funeral speeches; love poems; Aesop-like fables (how the wolf ate the deer), and humorous tales, especially about the coyote -- the perpetual Indian animal clown. Once the European comes, the emphasis is directed towards this destroyer of civilization and lives: petitions to state assemblies, prayers, invocations, moving addresses which show the necessity of fighting while acknowledging the futility of so doing, finally accounts of the peyote cults which helped many transcend, if not solve, their dilemma. The contemporary literature seems on the whole derivative (""It's hard I said to feel the wind/ When you're waiting in some welfare office""), and both its paucity and general lack of richness are the best barometer of the havoc we have caused.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1974
Publisher: Putnam