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Books on Native American Traditions

 

 

The story is told of the tribal ender who had a horrible vision. "The white men are coming. They'll rape and pillage the earth, kill off people, steal our land, and destroy our traditions."

"We'll have to hide our treasures!"

"I know, let's hide them on the mountaintop."

"No, no, the white man will go everywhere."

"How about hiding them in the bottom of the Great Waters?"

"That won't work, their longboats with wings will take them there."

"I know, let's hide them in the white men's hearts. They'll never think to look for them there!"

As men throughout North America do their soul work, many are drawn to Native American traditions. Concern has been raised whether this is done with proper respect for the spirit of these traditions, or whether we are some of the people in the "Plastic Medicine Man Alert" being circulated. Are we once more expropriating Native American stuff, in order to make a buck. This issue was the focus of my recent interview with Wallace Black Elk In this section we present books by Native Americans, and authors respected by Native Americans, in order to promote respect for, and a deeper understanding of, Native American traditions.

There is controversy in the Native American community as to which of the many books on Native American legends and proverbs authentically represent Native American traditions. I put this question out to the members of the Native American Forum on The Microsoft Network. Two books (so far) were hihly recommended. One is History, Myths and Sacfred Formulas of the Cherokees, by James Mooney. (order on-line) This book is a reprint of portions of the text of two Annual Reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology, (1891 and 1900) and is published byBright Mountain Books. The second is Words Of Power:Voices From Indian America, edited by Norbert S. Hill, Jr. (Oneida). (order on-line) I'm told it crosses all tribes and generations in presenting Indian proverbs, sayings and stories.

Here are reviews of some other books:

Gift of Power, by Archie Lame Deer

Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder, by Kent Nerburn

The Native American Sweat Lodge: History and Legends, by Joseph Bruchac

Native Heart: An American Indian Odyssey by Gabriel Horn (White Deer of Autumn).

The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards, by Archie Lame Deer

Related stories:

 An Interview with Wallace Black Elk, by Bert H. Hoff

 Native American Traditions: Honoring or Exploitation?, by Ron Knobbe

 A Response to Ron Knobbe, by Halim Dunsky

 Becoming Native to Your Place, by Jed Diamond

And on The Microsoft Network:

Be sure to check out our Native American Traditions Bulletin Board on the Men's Forum. What do you think of men's use of these traditions? Come and share your thoughts!


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