SONG OF HEYOEHKAH by Hyemeyohsts Storm


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Visions, visions everywhere--in a monotonous round of thinly fictionalized sermons on the Indian Way of Life. Storm weaves two alternating strands of feeble narrative, connecting them in the end--when we learn that the heroine of the first, Estchimah, is the daughter of Dancing Tree, a protagonist in the second. Estchimah's non-adventures take her on four vague, confusing ""vision quests,"" which culminate in a Jungian lecture on the need to balance animus and anima, delivered by a mysterious, ageless (female) hierophant named Four Sleeping Lions. Meanwhile, in the Dancing Tree section three white youths (in the 1860's?), wandering aimlessly towards the gold fields, encounter a trio of Indians: one of the whites decides to go native, and with the help of his wise, tolerant, selfless red brothers (and sisters) is metamorphosed from Calvin into Dancing Tree; once a thick-headed frontier lout, speaking the crudest American slang, he becomes after his long initiation the worthy heir of Indian moral-ecological tradition. Dancing Tree's story is much less turbid than his half-breed daughter's, but it suffers from the same numbing pace and torturous dialogue (characters with names like Little Wolf or Crazy Dog talk about the need to ""structure their world""). Only, then, for faithful followers of Harper & Row's highly uneven Native American Publishing Program--who may overlook the literary failures here in order to sample Storm's themes and traditional devices.

Pub Date: April 29th, 1981
Publisher: Harper & Row