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THE WAY OF THE EARTH by John Bierhorst


Native America and the Environment

by John Bierhorst

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-688-11560-8
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

 From a master historian, folklorist, and anthropologist, a lucid, densely fact-filled argument for Native Americans' theories and practices of preserving the environment. To prove that they have a sophisticated system of ecology (rather than an expedient new gospel in aid of acquiring government funds), Bierhorst offers examples from both North and South American cultures and a sparkling array of parables and proverbs whose importance, he says, has been largely ignored. Chapters on personality, kinship, restraint, death, and renewal are broken into sections such as ``The Earth as Mother''; a rich stew of citations from a dozen or more tribal sources illumines each. The entwined lives of plants, animals, and humans are presented as dependent relationships with mythic overtones guiding the use of resources. A very fine book, but difficult: of most interest to adults. Forty pages of notes and bibliography. Index. (Nonfiction. 12+)