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General Editors: Helen Jaskoski and Robert M. Nelson
Poetry/Fiction: Joseph W. Bruchac III
Editor Emeritus: Karl Kroeber
Assistant to the Editor: Lynn Poncin

SAIL - Studies in American Indian Literatures is the only scholarly journal in the United States that focuses exclusively on American Indian literatures. The journal publishes reviews, interviews, bibliographies, creative work including transcriptions of performances, and scholarly and theoretical articles on any aspect of American Indian literature including traditional oral material in dual-language format or translation, written works, and live and media performances of verbal art.

SAIL is published quarterly by the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures. Individual membership rates for 1992 are $25 (regular) and $16 (limited income); the institutional rate is $35. All payments must be in U.S. dollars. Limited quantities of SAIL volume 1 (1989) and volume 3 (1991) are available to individuals at $16 the volume and to institutions at $24 the volume.

Manuscripts should follow MLA format; please submit three copies with SASE to
Helen Jaskoski
Department of English
California State University Fullerton
Fullerton, California 92634

Creative work should be addressed to
Joseph Bruchac, Poetry/Fiction Editor
The Greenfield Review Press
2 Middle Grove Avenue
Greenfield Center, New York 12833

For advertising and subscription information please write to
Elizabeth H. McDade
Box 112
University of Richmond, Virginia 23173

Copyright SAIL. After first printing in SAIL copyright reverts to the author.
ISSN: 0730-3238

Production of this issue supported by the University of Richmond.



Studies in American Indian Literatures
Series 2                     4.2 & 4.3                      Summer/Fall 1992


        Helen Jaskoski     .                .                .                 .                .        1

        Denise Low         .                .                .                 .                .        15

        Wolfgang Hochbruck and Beatrix Dudensing-Reichel              .        35

        Laura Murray       .                .                .                 .                .        48

        A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff     .                .                 .                .        75

        Samson Occom     .                .                .                 .                .        82

        John Lowe            .                .                .                 .                .        106

        Annette Van Dyke                  .                .                 .                .        123

        Sophia Alice Callahan             .                .                 .                .        129

        Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr.           .                .                 .                .        136

        Erik Peterson          .                .                .                 .                .        145

        Alanna Kathleen Brown          .                .                 .                .        161

        Birgit Hans            .                .                .                 .                .        181

        Copway on Cooper                 .                .                 .                .        196
        According to Iktomi               .                .                 .                .        197
        From the Editors                     .                .                 .                .        200
        SAIL Receives NEA Grant      .                .                 .                .        200
        Call for Papers on Critical Approaches   .                .                .        201
        Call for Papers on Feminist and Post-Colonial Approaches     .         201
        Call for Papers on Film, Drama and Theater            .                 .        201
        The Four Directions                .                .                 .                .        202

A Guide to Early Field Recordings at the Lowie Museum of Anthropology. Richard Keeling
        William Bright         .                .                .                 .                .        203

On Our Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, A Pequot. Ed. Barry O'Connell.
        Jane Hipolito           .                .                .                 .                .        205

To the American Indian: Reminiscences of a Yurok Woman. Lucy Thompson, Che-Na-Wah Weitch-A-Wah
        Helen Jaskoski        .                .                .                 .                .        207

. Ella Cara Deloria
        Alanna Kathleen Brown           .                .                 .                .        210

John Rollin Ridge: His Life and Works. James W. Parins
        Rodney Simard       .                .                .                 .                .        212

American Indian Literature: An Anthology. Ed. Alan Velie
        Andrew Wiget        .                .                .                 .                .        215

Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Elders. Julie Cruikshank
        James Ruppert        .                .                .                 .                .        218

Talking Leaves: Contemporary Native American Short Stories. Ed. Craig Lesley
        Arlene Hirschfelder                  .                .                 .                .        220

        Drawings of the Song Animals. Duane Niatum
        Roger Weaver         .                .                .                 .                .        223

BRIEFLY NOTED         .                 .                .                 .                .        225

CONTRIBUTORS         .                   .                .                 .                .        227


Glyphs from the Dresden Codex are reproduced from the drawings in Codices Mayas: Reproducidos y Desarrollados por J. Antonio Villacorta y Carlos A. Villacorta (De la Sociedad de Geografía e Historia de Guatemala) 2nd ed. Guatemala, C.A.: La Tipografia Nacional, 1977.

Reproduction of the manuscript page of the Popol Vuh is by courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago.

The passage from Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiché Maya, from the translation of Adrián Recinos, coypright © 1950 by the University of Oklahoma Press, is reprinted with the permission of the University of Oklahoma Press.

SAIL acknowledges with gratitude permission from Munro Edmonson to reprint a passage from The Book of Counsel: The Popol Vuh of the Quiché Maya of Guatemala (New Orleans: Tulane University Press, 1971).

SAIL is also grateful to Dennis Tedlock for permission to reprint a portion of Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985).

The editors express thanks for consultation on translations from Latin to Daniel A. Brown, Professor of Latin and Religious Studies, California State University Fullerton.


1992 Patrons:
University College of the University of Cincinnati
English Department of Virginia Commonwealth University
Department of English, Western Washington University
University of Richmond
Firebrand Books
Karl Kroeber

1992 Sponsor:
Robert F. Sayre, University of Iowa


Helen Jaskoski         

In the beginning God created the Indian, the real or genuine man, and the white man. The Indian was the elder and in his hands the Creator placed a book; in the hands of the other he placed a bow and arrow, with a command that they should both make good use of them. The Indian was very slow in receiving the book, and appeared so indifferent about it that the white man came and stole it from him when his attention was directed another way. He was then compelled to take the bow and arrow, and gain his subsistence by pursuing the chase. He had thus forfeited the book which his creator had placed in his hands and which now of right belonged to his white brother.

(Grant Foreman, Sequoyah 21)        

        This story, it is alleged, was told to Sequoyah by his Cherokee neighbors in an effort to dissuade him from developing and promoting his syllabary. If any such telling ever took place, it is easy to see how it must have had an effect opposite to the one intended. The facile moral tacked on to the tale reminds one of Natty Bumppo in its naive assumption of mutually exclusive "gifts" belonging to supposedly different races. What this interesting story really tells us is that writing has always already been here, simply waiting to be uncovered; that what was lost--in a mere moment of inattention--is not destroyed but rather momentarily missing, available and awaiting recovery; that either race is fit equally for pen or bow--and both; that only attentiveness and concentration will secure what really matters.
         The historical record tells us that Sequoyah's view prevailed; indeed, if the reports of contemporaries are accurate, once writing had been adopted the level of literacy among Cherokee speakers was higher than that of the country as a whole. If studies have been made of the nature and significance of texts published in Cherokee, such studies have not yet found their way into literary history. A systematic history of American Indian literature will include an account of texts published in tribal languages, as a comprehensive history of American literature will include the literature published in languages other than English. As of now, writings in Cherokee (like literature in German, Scandinavian languages, Japanese, Chinese and on down to the thriving Vietnamese press of today) are part of an invisible literature, absent generally from even the most inclusive discussions and collections of American literature. In some cases of Native American texts, notably the writings produced for Paul Radin by Winnebago authors, translations have remained in print and relatively well-known, while the existence of the originals would come as a surprise to many scholars who consider themselves well-versed in the texts. In other cases, like that of the {2} Wabanaki "Wampum Records" (Mitchell), original-language written texts are only now being made readily available. The opportunity is here. Scholarship in American literature in Spanish (e.g., Chicano, Puerto Rican) and Yiddish has begun to lead the way into this neglected side of the nation's culture. What kinds of texts have been written by Native authors in tribal languages? The question waits for investigators with the knowledge, interest and means to find out.
         Sequoyah's achievement was not the first indigenous writing system. In her study of La Cienega canyon pictography, Carol Patterson-Rudolph reminds us that "American Indians have traditionally referred to their petroglyphs as `rock writings' or `writings' in the same sense they refer to any writing system. There is a firm belief that petroglyph images are intended to transmit information that is important, whether or not it can still be `read' or understood by contemporary people" (11). As she discusses the visual designs in relation to the stories of Water Jar Boy and of Uretsete and Naotsete, Patterson-Rudolph points out that elements of the rock matrix--cracks, curves, shoulders--are part of the sign system: the earth itself becomes part of the text.

She hated Chato . . . because he had taught her to sign her name. Because it was like the old ones always told her about learning their language or any of their ways: it endangered you.

(Leslie Silko, "Lullaby," Storyteller 47)        

        The earliest texts written by American Indian authors in European languages enter into dialogue with a European audience. The dialogue may be dysfunctional, as Leslie Silko's character Ayah finds; it may be empowering; it may be a matter of blind hope. When I lived in Poland in the early seventies, I learned of Polish visitors to China who had brought back jewels, furniture, and works of art; Chinese families, it was said, had given away priceless artifacts rather than see them destroyed in the cultural revolution. Some similar altruism must have motivated the unknown owner of the original Quiché version of the Popol Vuh to lend that precious text to be copied and translated, to trust--even in the bitter devastation of Spanish occupation--that this work of art would live. In her paper on "A Comparison of English Translations of a Mayan Text, the Popol Vuh" Denise Low offers a glimpse of a document as remarkable as the Rosetta stone.
        Scholarship on these earliest texts in European languages often reflects a fascination with curiosities, the location of "firsts." Yet one of the reasons they are so curious, and that gives these writings intrinsic value, is that they contradict persistent stereotypes. The general picture of indigenous peoples is often likely to be the noble {3} foresters and plainsmen depicted by James Fenimore Cooper or Kevin Costner, or (less likely now) the brutal primitives popular in the romantic fiction of the early nineteenth century. In "`Honoratissimi Benefactores': Native American Students and Two Seventeenth-Century Texts in the University Tradition" Wolfgang Hochbruck and Beatrix Dudensing-Reichel offer an important alternative when they introduce us to Harvard students assiduously penning Latin verses.
        Hochbruck and Dudensing-Reichel also raise the question of whether these particular lines were actually written by these specific students. The issue of authorship is frequently vexed in the study of American Indian literatures, especially in connection with collaborative works like translations and oral autobiographies. A similar question is related by the editor of To The American Indian by Lucy Thompson; Lucy Thompson's authorship of her book has been questioned because all the existing manuscripts are in her husband's hand. False attribution has certainly occurred, as in the case of "Seattle's Speech" (Kaiser). It is also true, however, that employment of amanuenses is a long tradition in European letters; Henry James, for instance, dictated his later novels to his typist with no damage to his standing as their author. Each collaborative relationship is unique.
        Oratory of American Indians has received a fair amount of notice, with several anthologies in and out of print during the last thirty years--notwithstanding that the accuracy of such texts in representing what was actually said is often questionable. Epistolary forms, by contrast, have mostly been ignored. In "`Pray Sir, Consider a Little . . .'" Laura Murray introduces readers to some of the earliest writings in English by American Indians, letters written to Eleazar Wheelock by his pupils and their families. Murray points out the public purpose these private documents were made to serve, in supporting fundraising for Wheelock's missionary projects. This emphasis on a public function of writing continues in Native American writing, and Murray's study opens the way for examination of other public epistles, like the letters of John Ross and the many other leaders who tirelessly wrote message after letter after declaration after document on behalf of their people to government officials, newspapers and public figures.
        SAIL's publication of Samson Occom's Sermon completes an undertaking begun over ten years ago: LaVonne Ruoff had prepared a text of the sermon along with an introduction, both to be printed in this journal's first series, but the project was never finished. Presentation of Ruoff's Introduction and Occom's sermon in these pages offers an opportunity to reflect on the problem of continuity in the history of American Indian literature. As H. David Brumble discovered when he came to study American Indian autobiographies, genetic lines of {4} descent in American Indian texts can be illusory or nonexistent: "I was right in assuming that reading Indian autobiographies had prepared me to understand Momaday. I was wrong in assuming that Momaday had read them" (Brumble 17). If The Names can profitably be read in the context of earlier Indian autobiographies, can Occom's Sermon help us understand a contemporary temperance sermon, Michael Dorris's The Broken Cord? As administrator of the American Indian Studies program at Dartmouth University, Dorris is very likely to be familiar with a text written by an American Indian who was one of that university's founders. However, Dorris replaces Occom's strenuously Christian appeal to his listeners' sense of eternal salvation or damnation with the modern, secular gospel of self-fulfillment and earthly well-being; his approach through a personal, autobiographical account contrasts with Occom's scholastic rhetoric and itself probably owes something to the tradition of Indian autobiography. What is strikingly similar in Dorris's and Occom's writings is both authors' approach to a problem that has appeared intractable: both respond to the same phenomenon, whether seen as sin or social problem, with deep feeling that transcends, in the one, a harsh and punitive religion, and in the other the reductive banality of social science. Furthermore, both authors make a conscious appeal to a dual audience, most recently evidenced in Dorris's decision to have his book dramatized for television rather than in a feature film "in the hope that more people--particularly poor women--will see the movie and better understand the dangers of drinking during pregnancy" (Rhodes). It may be that lines of descent within American Indian literary history are more profitably traced in terms of function rather than of form. The condition of colonization persists, though specific terms and features may change, and succeeding writers continue to address it, though they adapt different forms to their purposes.

      "They have a romance going with death, they love it, and they want Indians to die for them."
     Luther nodded. "Lucky thing most of us Indians wasn't reading their stories."
     "Lucky thing some of us were."

(Louis Owens, The Sharpest Sight 216)        

        The nineteenth century, a period of territorial expansion on the north American continent, continued the process of colonization. Again and again treaties contained provision for schools and teachers for tribes as part of compensation for land cessions; like other provisions, these obligations were frequently unfulfilled by the United States government. Schools for Indian children were poor, often damaging, {5} sometimes fatal: the mortality rate in Indian boarding schools was scandalous. However, in spite of discouragement and often at considerable sacrifice, Indian students did become literate and schooled, and some became writers.
        Fiction by nineteenth-century American Indian authors is sparse. Littlefield and Parins' Supplement to their Biobibliography cautions that the oft-reprinted Poor Sarah; or Religion Exemplified in the Life and Death of an Indian Woman, published in the 1820s, is "attributed to" Elias Boudinot. John Rollin Ridge's The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, first published in 1854 and generally cited as the first novel by an American Indian author, is as John Lowe notes an unduly neglected work of the mid-century "American Renaissance" of Romantic writings. Lowe's "Space and Freedom in the Golden Republic" introduces an outsider's perspective on the exuberant expansionism celebrated by mid-century writers like Walt Whitman. In California Joaquin Murietta is alive in history as much as Jean Laffite in New Orleans or Paul Revere in Boston; the latest search for his remains--physical and literary--is documented in Richard Rodriguez' account of the campaign to bury a head said to be Joaquin's and preserved in a jar by a rock salesman in Santa Rosa.
        At the end of the century Sophia Alice Callahan's Wynema: A Child of the Forest represents the first known novel published by an American Indian woman. The selections from Wynema that are included in this issue and introduced by Annette Van Dyke show fiction and storytelling subordinated to the exposition of political and philosophical arguments, the depiction of Creek lifeways and the recording of history. At least one episode in Callahan's novel has resonated in recent history. In the last chapter of Wynema the narrator describes three infants found alive on the killing field at Wounded Knee and subsequently adopted; she goes on to project an idealized, successful future for the three children. In July 1991 the Los Angeles Times reported the removal to South Dakota and reinterment of the remains of Lost Bird, who as a baby girl four months old had been found alive under the body of her mother at Wounded Knee, and who was later adopted by the commander of a national guard regiment. Callahan might have been pleased to know that Clara Colby, adoptive mother of the real Lost Bird, was a dedicated suffragist leader (Harrison).
        High valuation of non-fiction writing is characteristic of nineteenth-century American Indian literature--and of nineteenth-century literature in general. The prevailing view was that while fiction might be a medium suitable for entertaining the less-educated masses, serious literature comprised such forms as sermons, essays, and histories. Dickens, Trollope and Thackeray might entertain housewives and {6} clerks, but the life of the mind was more properly engaged by writers like Ruskin, Macaulay or Newman. Recent critical theories that have been fruitfully applied to non-belletristic writings like ethnographies provide an access to non-fiction texts by Native American writers that can give a new view of American life and letters in the nineteenth century.
        Histories, speeches and other political writings by American Indians merit further study. As long ago as the 1950s David Levin showed how Romantic forms of tragedy and adventure had shaped the histories that Bancroft, Parkman and Prescott wrote of the colonizing of the western hemisphere; these New England men of letters told the story of the European conquest as a clash of forces personified in strong, complex characters. A revision of that story must include the vision of Native historians in works like David Cusick's Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations (1827), Andrew Blackbird's History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan (1887), George Copway's Indian Life and Indian History (1851), and William Warren's History of the Ojibways, completed in 1853 but only published posthumously in 1885 (Ruoff).
        Again and again these writers were motivated by an urgently felt need to correct the historical record, to counter the kind of stereotype that Louis Owens' characters meet in their reading of the national literature. These histories could profitably be read in light of studies like Susan Paulson's of Latin American indigenous colonial texts; in her analysis of the Huarochiri Quechua manuscript Paulson maintains, among other things, that polyvocality and unconventional organization may not necessarily indicate multiple authorship or collaboration, but rather strategies for resistance and preservation. Whatever the individual circumstances of composition, in all these cases, the authors' trust--in the face of astounding destruction--in the power of language is a remarkable act of faith, and their texts bear examining for this reason alone if for no other.
        Political writings and addresses have also been neglected. The political writings of Jefferson, Crevecoeur, and Lincoln, for instance, have long been studied as fundamental in the discourse that constitutes the nation and its literature. What could be learned from study of the writings of founding statesmen of Indian Territory and, later, the State of Oklahoma--individuals like Cherokee statesman John Ross, Choctaw Governor Green McCurtain, or Cherokee Robert Latham Owen, senator from Oklahoma?

The words, visible in tight formation, thrilled her, even in her unlovely scrawl. She imagined them in crisp print upon bound white leaves, the {7} margins justified, the spacing even, snowy webs running among the fabulous words.

(N. Scott Momaday, The Ancient Child 178)        

        The prospectus for this issue of SAIL stretched the definition of "early" written literature through the first half of the twentieth century. This period, which sees the flourishing of Wassaja and other periodicals, is a new phase in the use of writing: in addition to texts that educate and exhort, there is a sense--as Momaday's character, Grey, discovers--that writing in and of itself can give pleasure, entertain and inspire in a purely imaginative realm. The twentieth century finds the first widespread publication of fiction and poetry both in periodicals and in novels and anthologies. There is still an emphasis on non-fiction in the writings of American Indian authors, with continued experimentation and adaptation of literary forms to meet the specific expressive ends of the writers.
        Daniel F. Littlefield shows in "Evolution of Alex Posey's Fus Fixico Persona" how Alexander Posey adapted the epistolary form to social satire and political commentary. Littlefield's contextualization of Posey's writing in the tradition of American popular humor and Indian journalism offers a foundation for seeing Posey in the context of later American humorists as well. Posey's adaptation of epistolary modes anticipates Will Rogers' "Letters," and the character of Fus Fixico, with his dry, understated approach, suggests an affinity with Langston Hughes's Jesse B. Semple.
        Dialogue and collaboration continue in twentieth century writings. In "An Indian, an American" Eric Peterson dscribes how a theory of border-land, rather than margin and border, may be a more enlightening approach to writers defined as marginal. Peterson's analysis of the ways in which Charles Alexander Eastman dealt with contradiction and opposing ideas suggests fruitful lines of inquiry for the study of later writers; Vine Deloria in particular may profitably be read in light of these ideas.
        Feminist criticism and interest in women's writings in general has supported research in and reprinting of works by several early Native women writers, notably Pauline Hopkins, Zitkala Sa and Mourning Dove. The dialogue with the colonizer, implicit in the earliest writings by Native authors, emerges again as a theme in the correspondence of Mourning Dove and Lucullus McWhorter; many of the features present in letters from students of Eleazar Wheelock persist in Mourning Dove's prose a century and a half later. However, as Alanna Brown shows in "The Evolution of Mourning Dove's Coyote Stories," hard work in the face of severe difficulties and the idealism of both {8} Mourning Dove and McWhorter resulted in a collaboration of genuine mutual esteem.
        American Indian literature in English during the first half of the twentieth century is dominated by the figure of D'Arcy McNickle, who in the years since his fiction has been brought back into print has begun to receive the critical attention he and his work merit. Birgit Hans's "Re-Visions: An Early Version of The Surrounded" suggests insight into the process of recovering Indian identity that has become so important a theme in later fiction by American Indian writers. Her examination of an early manuscript version of McNickle's first novel details how a conventional romance was transformed into a naturalistic vision of human limitation and endurance. The Surrounded, like the novels of Zola, concedes little to wishful idealism, yet McNickle himself was like Zola in being an idealist in his own life, working tirelessly in public life on behalf of ideas he believed in. Now examined in relation to McNickle's personal history and contemporary American Indian life, The Surrounded (as well as McNickle's other works) has yet to be studied in the context of American naturalism, as part of a body of work that includes Native Son, Quicksand, Studs Lonigan and the novels of Sinclair Lewis.
        This period up to 1950 offers other works deserving attention. Some authors, like John Joseph Mathews, John Milton Oskison and Ella Deloria, have already been the subjects of articles and dissertations. Others remain unstudied, though they raise tantalizing questions for both the scholar and the ordinary reader. America Needs Indians! is one such text. The book is puzzling through and through. For one thing, the production is, if not extravagant, certainly of high quality. The cloth cover is embossed with a two-color design, half-tones are printed on semi-glossy paper, and the text with its various fonts and illustrations is a veritable sampler of the typesetter's art; moreover, a pocket glued into the back cover contains two copies of an elaborate map in two colors. The text, as Marie Annharte Baker observes in her note, "According to Iktomi," is often biting, often heartrending, satire: the irrepressible word-play anticipates the verbal antics of Gerald Vizenor. Who is or was the pseudonymous "Iktomi"? By what other name was he (or she?) known? The copy before me is inscribed on the end page with the signature "Iktomi witko" and a small drawing. Danky and Hady list IKTOmi as editor of Re-America (Restore America). The annotation in Littlefield and Parins' guide to American Indian periodicals notes the conservation emphasis of Re-America's sponsor, the Association for the Restoration of Real "America" in Miniature; they mention Archie Phinney as author of articles on Indian mythology, and IKTOmi as responsible for articles on Indians in sports. Other identities {9} that Iktomi had remain a mystery, for the moment.
        "Chee's Daughter" by Juanita Platero and Siyowin Miller is another neglected find. This fine short story, although frequently reprinted, has received no critical attention. "Chee's Daughter" was first published in 1948 in Common Ground, and Beidler and Egge note its reprinting in the anthologies edited by Natachee Momaday and by Sanders and Peek; Jane Katz also included it in her collection of writings by American Indian women. Sanders and Peek note in their editorial comments that Juanita Platero is Navajo and Siyowin Miller non-Indian and suggest a long-term collaboration; Momaday mentions other short stories and a novel, The Winds Erase Your Footprints; no sources or other titles are given. No entry for Platero and/or Miller appears in the bibliographies compiled by LaVonne Ruoff, Jack Marken or Arlene Hirschfelder. Even if no further information exists about the authors and their other work, "Chee's Daughter" merits study in its own right.

Egas read the three words on the thin paper and discovered that his daughter had written the note to the trickster. His hands clenched, he shuddered and gathered the other notes on napkins before the trickster returned. Sammie remembered too late to recover the intimate message and the critical words she had written on the napkins.

(Gerald Vizenor, Griever: An American Monkey King in China 191)        

        It is hard to think of any technology that has more profoundly changed human life than writing has. Expressions like "literacy crisis" depend for their impact on profound belief in the value and necessity for writing. For many current thinkers, the matter is more ambiguous, and Bright reminds us that skepticism as to the value of literacy goes back to Socrates. Writing may liberate and preserve; it may also betray. As Vizenor's evil Egas Zhang understands, writing can make people vulnerable as well as powerful. The ambiguous or even deleterious aspects of writing are a recurrent theme in the works of contemporary American Indian writers--although it must be pointed out that critics of the written word tend to do their critiquing in published writings.
        This issue of SAIL was undertaken in the hope that bringing attention to some of these works by pioneering Native American writers would encourage further research in the subject. The editors wish to express their gratitude first of all to the contributors here, for insight, generosity and patience. The process of editing the issue generated interest, and some pieces begun late in the cycle could not be completed in time for this deadline and will be reserved for future issues; we anticipate receiving additional papers on Occom and Eastman in the {10} coming months, and invite submissions at any time on topics related to early written literature by American Indian authors.


Beidler, Peter G. and Marion F. Egge. The American Indian in Short Fiction: An Annotated Bibliography. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1979.

Bright, William. American Indian Linguistics and Literature. Berlin, New York, Amsterdam: Mouton, 1984.

Brumble, H. David, III. American Indian Autobiography. Berkeley: U of California P, 1988.

Danky, James P., ed. Hady, Maureen E., comp. Native American Periodicals and Newspapers 1828-1982: Bibliography, Publishing Record, and Holdings. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1984.

Dorris, Michael. The Broken Cord. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.

Foreman, Grant. Sequoyah. Norman and London: U of Oklahoma P, 1938.

Harrison, Eric. "A Girl Called `Lost Bird' Is Finally at Rest." Los An geles Times 13 July 1991: A15.

Hirschfelder, Arlene B. American Indian and Eskimo Authors: A Com prehensive Bibliography. New York: Association on American Indian Affairs, Inc., 1973.

Iktomi. America Needs Indians! Denver: Bradford-Robinson, 1937.

Kaiser, Rudolf. "Chief Seattle's Speech(es): American Origins and Eu ropean Reception." Recovering the Word: Essays on Native American Literature. Ed. Brian Swann and Arnold Krupat. Berkeley: U of California P, 1987.

Katz, Jane B., ed. I Am the Fire of Time: The Voices of Native American Women. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977.

Littlefield, Daniel F., Jr. and James W. Parins, eds. American Indian and Alaska Native Newspapers and Periodicals, 1925-1970. New York: Greenwood Press, 1984.

Littlefield, Daniel F., Jr. and James W. Parins. A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924. A Supplement. Native American Bibliography 5. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, 1985.

Marken, Jack W. The American Indian: Language and Literature. Arlington Heights, IL: AHM Publishing Corporation, 1978.

Mitchell, Lewis. Wapapi Akonutomakonol / The Wampum Records: Wabanaki Traditional Laws. 1897. Ed. Robert M. Leavitt and David A. Francis. Fredericton: Micmac-Maliseet Institute, U of New Brunswick, 1990.
Momaday, Natachee S., ed. American Indian Authors. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972.

Momaday, N. Scott. The Ancient Child. New York: Doubleday, 1989.

Owens, Louis. The Sharpest Sight. Norman: U Oklahoma P, 1992.

Patterson-Rudolph, Carol. Petroglyphs and Pueblo Myths of the Rio Grande. Albuquerque: Avanyu Publishing, 1990.

Paulson, Susan. "Double-talk in the Andes: Ambiguous Discourse as Means of Surviving Contact." Native Latin American Cultures Through Their Discourse. Ed. Ellen B. Basso. Bloomington: Indiana University Folklore Institute, 1990. 51-65.

Rhodes, Joe. "Smits' Tearful `Broken Cord.'" Los Angeles Times TV Times 28 February 1992: 77.

Rodriguez, Richard. "The Head of Joaquin Murrieta." California 10.7 (July 1985): 55-62, 89.

Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown. American Indian Literatures: An Introduction, Bibliographic Review, and Selected Bibliography. New York: MLA, 1990.

Sanders, Thomas E. and Walter W. Peek. Literature of the American Indian. Beverly Hills: Glencoe Press, 1973.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Storyteller. New York: Seaver, 1981.

Thompson, Lucy. To the American Indian: Reminiscences of a Yurok Woman. 1916. Berkeley: Heyday Books, 1991.

Vizenor, Gerald. Griever: An American Monkey King in China. New York: Fiction Collective, 1987.


Illustration 1. Two glyphs from the Dresden Codex.


Denise Low


        Translation of the Popol Vuh, a lengthy creation cycle, into English presents difficulties of cultural context as well as language. This "Book of the Council" (Recinos 5) was originally hieroglyphic, as deduced from accounts of hieroglyphic Mayan books seen by Fray Diego de Landa from 1549 to 1566 in Guatemala. Also, the surviving alphabetic version of the Popol Vuh has vestiges of pictorial language in its phrasing. But even if the hieroglyphic original were extant, translation would pose problems, since Mayan literacy appears to be radically different from Western notions: "a number of signs are polyvalent, that is a particular sign may have more than one phonetic reading, and it may also he read for its ideographic value" (Coe 182). The glyphs can be visual puns that lend themselves to an improvisational reading, not word-for-word representation.
        Hieroglyphs for the planet Venus or the opossum god, for example, are depicted differently in different media--codices, murals, or stone. Sequential drawings of the opossum god in the Dresden Codex [Illustration 1] show variant facial expressions, postures, and secondary glyph parts (Barbara Tedlock). A glyph that denotes a cenote, or sinkhole, is expanded to be a base underneath the opossum god in one depiction, and entirely omitted in another. In contrast, letters of the Roman alphabet, even when drawn by a fine calligrapher, are always denotative; they do not vary in meaning. Mayan script is a blend of denotative, ideographical and syllabic representation. Even Mayan numerals have two forms, like small and capital letters, where one is an abstraction of counting (bars and dots), and the other is a pantheon of faces with connotations that are only partially decoded. In a Newberry Library lecture, Barbara Tedlock noted that even today, more than four hundred years after contact with Europeans, hieroglyphs are only thirty to eighty percent understood, depending on which scholar is consulted. The Mayanist Michael Coe estimates that eighty-five percent can be read (178). In any case, a translation of the lost hieroglyphic Popol Vuh is impossible, and yet the ghost of that version stands behind any attempt to render it into English.


The history of the surviving text of the Popol Vuh makes an interesting narrative in itself. The primary copy comes from the hand of a Dominican priest, Francisco Ximenez (1666-1730), who was in


Illustration 2. Opening page of the manuscript of the Popol Vuh.


Courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago.

{16} Guatemala most of his career, and in Chichicastenango from 1701 to 1703, when he collected the text. He also wrote a grammar of three dialects of Mayan in addition to a history of Guatemala. He apparently transcribed the Popol Vuh from a Quiché Mayan manuscript written between 1554 and 1556. Dennis Tedlock (Popol Vuh 28-29) and Adrián Recinos (31-35) give convincing evidence for this date from the manuscript itself. A Mayan owned the manuscript, and Ximenez apparently returned it to the owner.
        Onto handmade paper, and with handmade ink, Ximenez and his scribes copied the story in conventional Spanish and a modified Latin-alphabet version of Quiché. Each page had a left-hand column of Quiché and a right-hand column of Ximenez' Spanish translation [Illustration 2]. The Ximenez manuscript remained in the Dominican library until the 1830s, when it was transferred to the Guatemalan national archives.
        This text was discovered in the San Carlos University library by the German Carl Scherzer, who copied it in 1853 and 1854; he published his copy of Ximenez' Spanish in Vienna in 1857, but it contained many errors because of an inaccurate copyist and printers unfamiliar with Spanish (Recinos 40).
        In 1858 the French Abbé Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg also copied and translated the Ximenez text in Guatemala, possibly two versions. He included a summary written by Ximenez as part of his Historia, and the complete Quiché and Spanish version. Brasseur de Bourbourg published a long Quiché and French text in Paris, Popol Vuh: Le livre sacré et les mythes de l'antiquité americaine (1861) to great acclaim. It aroused in Europe and in the United States an intense interest in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures and civilization (Himelblau 1). Bourbourg's translation was not a work that showed close attention to linguistic accuracy, but it was a "long and elaborated affair which frequently omitted some lines and paraphrased others" (McClear 29). Nonetheless, it was a popular success. For a century many translations were based on Brasseur de Bourbourg's French and Quiché text.
        The Abbé did make some logical divisions of the manuscript into a preamble and four parts, then subdivided these into chapters. Most subsequent versions have followed his scheme, which attests to an inherent structure that appealed to diverse translators. After working on the translation in the Guatemalan national library, Brasseur de Bourbourg spirited the manuscript away to France (Tedlock, Popol Vuh 30). The text left the public view until it was rediscovered at the Newberry Library in Chicago in the l940s.
        The first translations of the Popol Vuh into English were paraphras-{17}es based on Bourbourg's French and Scherzer's publication of Ximenez' Spanish versions (Spence 9). Sir Arthur Helps published a "brief synonsis" in The Spanish Conquest, a four volume work published in London between 1955 and 1961 (Recinos 254). He apparently worked from Karl Scherzer's copy of Ximenez' Spanish text published in Vienna in 1857. From 1905 to 1907 Dr. Kenneth S. Guthrie published a synopsis of the Popol Vuh in an American theosophist magazine, The Word. His source is not clear, and the work is not considered serious scholarship (Spence, Popol Vuh 1). A more reputable version in English was by Lewis Spence in 1908, condensed from Bourbourg's French and Ximenez' Spanish. It appeared as a special publication of the London Folk-lore Society.
        The Spence paraphrase was the only available English translation until the middle part of this century. Then the Newberry Library was the site of good fortune. In 1941 a former Guatemalan ambassador, Adrián Recinos, found a volume entitled Empiezan Las Historias del Origen de Los Indios de esta Provencia de Guatemala, and bound with it was the original Ximenez manuscript of the Popol Vuh. The smaller Popol Vuh section had been overlooked because it was bound within a volume of grammar and history.
        Apparently, when Brasseur de Bourbourg died, the Ximenez manuscript was sold to Alphonse Pinart, whose bookplate is affixed to the inside cover, and somehow Edward Ayer acquired it for his collection (McClear 29). Ayer did not realize what was in the book, and it came to rest with the rest of his collection in the Newberry Library. In 1946 Recinos found the work, and translated the Quiché of the Ximenez manuscript into his native Spanish. Two Americans, first Sylvanus Morley and then Delia Goetz, assisted Recinos in preparing a translation of Recinos' Spanish translation into English, published in 1950. This was the first complete version ever available in English, four hundred years after first contact between Mayans and Europeans.
        In 1971 Munro S. Edmonson published the first Quiché-to-English translation, a versified version. And finally, in 1985 Dennis Tedlock published the second translation from Quiché into English.
        Various adaptations and excerpts have been published by authors such as Kenneth Guthrie and Ralph Nelson, but such publications are derived from earlier complete translations. Nelson has a popularized adaptation of Part I with extensive illustrations. Guthrie created a version to appeal to a specialized audience. His Popol Vuh appeared in The Word, which Recinos describes as "a monthly magazine devoted to philosophy, science, religion, Eastern thought, occultism, theosophy" (248). The Word was probably a religious tract, like some of Guthrie's other publications. Lewis Spence described it in 1930 as "couched in {18} scriptural language, and such treatment assists the vulgar error that the Popol Vuh is merely a native travesty of portions of the Old Testament" (Edmonson, Lore 270). Guthrie's sources are not clear, though he claimed to have worked independently except for adding "some felicitous terms" from another translation by James Pryse, which Guthrie claims was published in a journal entitled Lucifer in 1894 and 1895 (Recinos 59). Guthrie's translation is not commonly available (Edmonson, Lore 27). Pryse's version is also lost. Spence is the only scholar who refers to seeing it (Spence, Popul Vuh 1).
        The scholars who truly translated complete texts of the Popol Vuh into English include only Spence; Recinos, Morley and Goetz; Edmonson; and Tedlock. A comparison of English renditions of the opening section of Part One (after the Prologue) shows the range of approaches to translation in this century.
        Translators reconcile themselves to partial solutions. Allan Burns and Dennis Tedlock draw upon extant Mayan oral tradition as an analogue to the original context. Some documentary records survive of Mayan writings: a few codices now in Dresden, Madrid and Paris (Recinos 10); an alphabetic Quiché Mayan version of the Popol Vuh; alphabetic Mayan (mostly Yucatec) versions of the Chilam Balam; the Rabinal Achi (a theatrical piece); and first-hand accounts of early Spaniards (Fray Diego de Landa, Fray Bernardino Sahagun and others). Translators have worked with clues from the past and the current Mayan culture, but of course no definitive translation is possible of a hieroglyphic, probably orally-based narration.
        However, the original Popol Vuh presents not only a problem of differing times, languages, and alphabets, it represents a sacred worldview quite different from the Judaeo-Christian tradition of most Spanish and English-speaking people. Early translators had a problem seeing the Mayan narrative as a document of a separate religious system. Miguel Leon-Portilla notes the "manifestas interpolaciones de origen cristiano" in the Spanish translation of Recinos, and he goes on to assert the distinctively Mayan context (39-40). Especially, a different concept of deity from monotheism is apparent from the opening. Therefore, earlier translations err by assuming a complete assimilation of Biblical concepts, either consciously (Guthrie) or unconsciously (Spence; Recinos, Goetz and Morley).
        Problems of translation go beyond linguistic equivalence. The idea of literary procedure is different, the cosmology is different, and the remaining people in Guatemala and the Yucatan are different from their ancestors of almost five centuries ago. Contemporary Quiché Mayans have lost the ability to read hieroglyphs. The fact that Spanish-speaking people now live in that area also removes the Popol Vuh from the {19} American-English mainstream of North America. The text is both from "far away and far ago" (Ortiz). Is any kind of valid translation even plausible?
        Jacques Derrida writes about untranslatability and about the impurity of all languages; he believes humankind has been put into a "double bind" since Babel (100-103). Roman Jakobson also agrees that poetic art is untranslatable (232-9), but he offers an option: "Only creative transposition is possible: either intralingual transposition--from one poetic shape into another, or interlingual transposition--from one language into another" (239). Writers who translate, or transpose, the Popol Vuh into English produce works that are removed in many ways from the original.
        Further, in producing these new texts, the translators produce information about themselves as much as about the Popol Vuh. Walter Benjamin (and others) have written about the compromises of translation:

The basic error of the translator is that he preserves the state in which his own language happens to be instead of allowing his language to be powerfully affected by the foreign tongue. Particularly when translating from a language very remote from his own he must go back to the primal elements of language itself and penetrate to the point where work, image, and tone converge. . . . It is not generally realized to what extent this is possible . . . . (81)

Benjamin proposes a receptivity to the translated language, in effect a dialogue with the remote culture, with an openness to new invention.
        The English versions of the Popol Vuh, whatever the method of translation, are all incomplete in some way, and the lacunae reveal specific discrepancies between the two systems of knowledge. As time passes, the gap between the original Quiché and English widens, causing the need for repeated translation:

Only rarely however does the literary translation attain the stability of an original work (the Schlegel-Tieck translations of Shakespeare are such rarities); it is hardly ever handed down from one generation to another as a work of art in itself, more often it becomes ossified as merely a dated text. In other words, it loses its communicative function as a work of literature within a continually shifting cultural system. This explains why the need so often arises to create new translations of literary works. (Snell-Hornby 112)

The background information about English-language translations of the Popul Vuh and their styles becomes as informative as the foreground of text. Translations need to be read extra-textually, with awareness of {20} the motives of the translators. A complete reading includes the background of the translator's process as well as the final text itself.
        Because there are few translations of the Popol Vuh into English, a brief inventory is possible. The priority of each translator as well as the produced text can be evaluated by three characteristics distinguished by Margot Astrov in her discussion of North American Indian verse: "linguistic fidelity," "poetic quality," and "cultural matrix" (6). Astrov's evaluative criteria, though published in 1946, still are contemporary. Recent translation theory emphasizes "the orientation towards cultural rather than linguistic transfer" (Snell-Hornby 43). Publication of English translations of the Popol Vuh began in 1908 (Spence) and the most recent is 1985 (Tedlock). The emphasis of the English translations does become more culturally based.


        Lewis Spence's London version of 1909 is the first translation commonly available to the English-speaking world. However, it is a paraphrase from the French translation of Ximenez' Spanish translation of Quiché Mayan; it literally is, in Octavio Paz' term, "a translation of a translation of a translation" (9) (though Paz meant that the transfer of nonverbal experience to language conventions to a final text is the three-part translation of writing itself). Either literally or metaphorically, Spence proves Paz' point that "Every translation, up to a certain point, is an invention" (9). After a preamble, Spence's text begins:

Over a universe wrapped in the gloom of a dense and primeval night passed the god Hurakan, the mighty wind. He called out "earth," and the solid land appeared. The chief gods took counsel; they were Hurakan, Gucumatz, the serpent covered with green feathers, and Xpiyacoc and Xmucane, the mother and father gods. As a result of their deliberations animals were created. But as yet man was not. (Popol Vuh 9-10)

The whole translation is essentially a plot outline; all of the Popol Vuh is reduced to eighteen pages of a small pamphlet.
        This version of the narrative does not exemplify any of Astrov's three considerations for translation--linguistic accuracy, aesthetic style, or cultural context. Spence himself apologizes in the introductory remarks for the limitations he worked with: "Unfortunately both the Spanish and the French translations leave much to be desired so far as their accuracy is concerned, and they are rendered of little use by reason of the misleading notes which accompany them" (Spence, Popol Vuh 1). Spence cannot give a version that is linguistically accurate, but he does clarify the lineage of his work. He offers no explanatory notes {21} on details of the translation. What cultural framework he attempts is a very general discussion of Mayan gods and North American Indian mythology and poetics.
        This version would make it appear that the Popol Vuh is a simple plot line; the overall literary structure is obliterated by reducing the text to a summary. Spence's vocabulary is formal and Latinate, including terms like "primeval" and "deliberations." The inversion of noun-verb order, as in the phrase "over a universe . . . passed the god Hurukan," lends a formal tone. Two of the five sentences have passive verb constructions: "were Created," and "was not [created]"; these make the tone ceremonial.
        The singular, masculine, and abstract wind god who calls for the creation of this Earth parallels the God of Genesis ("and God said, Let there be Light: and there was light"). Spence lists the Quiché gods, but the process of creation is Biblical. Although a few specific Christian references are clear in the Spanish-era text, the Mesoamerican concept of deity is distinctive; "Theogonic multiplicity results in part from the gods having many aspects. Firstly, each was not only one but four individuals" (Coe 165). Mayan gods can also appear as consorts of the opposite sex. Spence's wind god is an anachronism in the text, appearing as a single male god. Spence does list the names of the four gods in the original Quiché, but this only suggests the complex pantheon of Mayan theology.
        In addition to the paraphrase of the Popol Vuh, Spence includes commentary about the culture of the Mayans. However, like his scholarship on Atlantis (Atlantis in America), much of the background to the Mayan work is speculative. Spence tries to assert a simplified pan-Indianism by comparing creation accounts of Athapascans, Muscokis (sic), Zunis, Iroquois, Mixtecs, and Guaymis; Spence claims the stories of these very different tribes illustrate "the fact of ethnological unity among the American tribes" (Popol Vuh 32). He also assumes the written language is rudimentary, "still in a state of transition from the pictographic to the phonetic-ideographic stage" (Popol Vuh 31). Spence's background information is opinion with few substantiated references.
        Further, Spence imposes English poetics upon the Quiché, despite not knowing the language. He writes that "like most barbarous compositions which depended for their popularity upon the ease with which they could be memorized, the Popol Vuh was originally composed in metre" (Popol Vuh 5). He claims that the first line "almost scans in iambics" (Popol Vuh 5). He presumes that his own English versification system is universal, and he rationalizes any discrepancy as a problem of the Mayan informant: "the native compiler of the Popol {22} Vuh appears to have been unable to recollect the precise rhythm of the whole . . . many passages attest its original odic character" (Popol Vuh 55). Spence's chauvinism makes his work typical of a Victorian translation style which Susan Bassnett-McGuire describes as emphasizing "production of a text of second-rate literary merit for an elite minority" (73).


        The next translation into English, in 1950, was again twice removed from the original Quiché text. The collaboration of Sylvanus Morley and Delia Goetz with Adrián Recinos resulted in a large volume with an introductory essay by Recinos, a brief comment by Morley, the English text (with extensive footnotes), bibliography, index, and a translation of a brief Quiché genealogy, "Paper Concerning the Origin of the Lords." The English was based on Recinos' Spanish translation of 1946. Extensive footnotes discuss Quiché linguistics, Bourbourg's translation for comparison, and some ethnological explanation of Mayan cultural references. The thorough discussion of culture is extra-textual. This translation requires the reader to scan the text at the top of the page with constant interruptions for footnotes; it is more a scholarly study than an aesthetic experience.
        Although Recinos proposes in his introduction that the Popol Vuh is literary, his translation is written in a journalistic style. It is in prose form, like Ximenez' text, with no attention to poetic line. Because Recinos, Morley, and Goetz do not translate the proper names of Quiché deities, footnotes are crucial, and the extensive pantheon in the text becomes cumbersome. Aside from this, the diction is straightforward, but stylistic quality is not a priority. The static verb "to be" carries the meaning of most sentences, so a declamatory quality slows down the narrative. Copulatives such as "there was" and the use of passive voice also make the story less dramatic. Passive voice is true to the Quiché (Recinos 50-51), which gives this translation the advantage of mimicking the original language. But in English this sort of language does not lend a sense of mystery to the moments of creation; "linguistic transfer" (Snell-Hornby 43) is favored over elegant English style.
        The Recinos-Goetz-Morley translation does include some apparently intentional parallelism to reflect the original Quiché poetics. Parallelism also corresponds to Biblical style, and even meaning seems framed in Biblical terms, such as "Then came the word," which is very close to the Gospel of St. John, "In the beginning was the Word." In the opening of this translation of the Popol Vuh, this sentence appears to be the pivot of the narrative; after it, the gods Tepeu and Gucumatz {23} "came together" in the void to discuss creation.
        The work of Recinos, Morley and Goetz shows an interest in scholarly research about the Popol Vuh; the lack of attention to poetic quality indicates that they do not present the work as an artistic creation.


        About twenty years later, in 1971, Munro Edmonson did the first English translation directly from Ximenez' Quiché text. Edmonson, a serious linguist, continued on to translate one of the Chilam Balam manuscripts and to publish numerous articles about Mayan language and literature. His linguistic prowess is shown to be conjoined with a conviction that translation is a literary, not just an ethnographic, undertaking: "It is my conviction that the Popol Vuh is primarily a work of literature, and that it cannot be properly read apart from the literary form in which it is expressed" (Popol Vuh xi). He goes on to further justify his position that the work is foremost a valid literature: "It is a treasure of ethnograhic information. But it is first and most surprisingly a coherent literary work, with scope and unity" (Popol Vuh xiii-xiv). His tone is somewhat defensive, or at least it shows his expectation of a challenge, when he states "surprisingly" the Popol Vuh is a "coherent literary work."
        Edmonson classifies the narrative in terms of what is familiar to him and his audience; he compares the Popol Vuh to the epic genre of Greek origins:

It would be inappropriate to call the Popol Vuh the epic of the Quiché. Although it belongs to a heroic (or near-heroic) type of literature, it is not the story of a hero: it is (and says it is) the story of a people . . . in the language and concepts available to him, the author has set down everything that "Quiché" means in its full mythic, historic, and ethnic ambiguity, from the origin of the world. (Popol Vuh xiii)

Edmonson sets the Mayan text on a level with Homer, Dante, and Milton, who all present "full mythic, historic" context. He stops short, however, of identifying the serious religious nature of the Popol Vuh. Although he does not present the Mayans as "savages" as Spence does (Popol Vuh 9), neither does he credit their text with a sacred status.
        What Edmonson achieves in his translation is a transformation of the unparagraphed prose from the Ximenez manuscript into a verse form of parallel couplets. Walter Ong notes that such parallelism is a common feature of orally transmitted literature (34-36). Tedlock (Spoken Word 220-27) and Burns argue that the "couplets" of the Popol {24} Vuh are a characteristic feature of Mayan oral literature: "A common feature in Mayan oral literature is the use of parallel construction. Sometimes a sentence or phrase is repeated word for word in a line or two lines" (Burns 28). Recinos, although his translation is prose, still is aware of parallelism in the original syntax, "its frequent repetitions" (xiii). Recinos admits that he sacrifices aesthetics for "the fidelity which must be the translator's guide" (xiii). His decison not to versify is, therefore, a conscious compromise of his translation.
        The first versification of the Popol Vuh was a set of excerpts published in 1969, before Edmonson's translation, by Miguel Leon-Portilla (49-51, 69-91,120). A Nahuatl scholar and student of Angel Maria Garibay K, Leon-Portilla accepted Garibay's idea of difrasismo in Nahuatl verse: "a parallel couplet containing a pair of metaphors that together expresses a single thought" (19, 65-7). Leon-Portilla applied the Nahuatl model of couplets to some selections from the Popol Vuh.
        Edmonson published his translation after Leon-Portilla's experiments with the Popol Vuh. His translation of the complete Popol Vuh emphasizes poetics. Edmonson explains his understanding of semantic couplets or "keying":

The form itself, however, tends to produce a kind of "keying," in which two successive lines may be quite diverse but must share key words which are closely linked in meaning. Many of these are traditional pairs: sun-moon, day-light, deer-bird, black-white. Sometimes the coupling is opaque in English, however clear it may be in Quiché, as in white-laugh. ("White" also means to throw white bone dice; "laugh" also means to play ball.) (Popol Vuh xii)

        A look at the Edmonson translation shows that his decision to use poetic lines has advantages and some problems. He accurately represents the "keying," an authenticated Quiché form. However, cultural context is not possible in the verse of short lines, so footnotes are crucial. Quetzal Serpent, Mothers and Fathers, and Heart of Heaven, all deities, are not explained by the text, and few English speakers are familiar with them. The Mayan concept of godliness is quite unlike monotheism. However, extensive footnotes that break up the visually patterned stanzas are more often linguistic comment than cultural explanation. Mayan gods are not described beyond their association with the calendar (Popol Vuh 6). This translation is not easy for beginning students of Mayan culture to follow.
        The verse is lean, reminiscent of the work of Robert Creeley. In one passage, lines consist of one word:

            Or forest. (Popol Vuh 9)

This sparse list is hardly poetic in English. When generic terms are combined--"Tree" "Hole" "forest"--the effect is limited. "Hole" is translated as "cave" by Recinos and "hollow" by Tedlock; both words refer more specifically to landscape than does "hole."
        The spacing suggests a rhythm, even for these short lines, and throughout, the couplets reinforce a rhythmic, not prose reading of the work. At times the repetition of phrases becomes uninteresting, as in "Truly it was yet quiet/ Truly it was yet stilled./ It was quiet/ Truly it was calm" (8-9). This compares to Recinos, Goetz and Morley: "all was in suspense, all calm, in silence; all motionless, still . . ." (82). Edmonson does sustain the integrity of the semantic couplets, but at times there is an aesthetic cost.
        Edmonson's translation is essential to students of the Popol Vuh to show its original verse format with roots in the oral tradition and the Mayan hieroglyphics, which were often written in pairs (Tedlock, Popol Vuh 31). This exercise of "linguistic fidelity" (Astrov), however, presupposes familiarity with culture.


        In 1985 Dennis Tedlock published a translation based on fieldwork in Guatemala during the summer of 1975 and all of 1976. His prose rendition attempts to reestablish a link between contemporary Mayan Indians and the Popol Vuh. Tedlock collected Quiché oral texts and studied contemporary oral patterns of discourse. In addition, he trained as a Quiché diviner, or daykeeper, in the indigenous shamanistic tradition. He brings to his translation the concept of "upstreaming" (Fenton 71-85); that is, he uses contemporary culture as a starting point for recovering historic culture. Tedlock uses contemporary field research into Quiché oral tradition to reconstruct the spirit of the hieroglyphic Popol Vuh manuscript.
        Cultural authenticity is the guiding principle of Tedlock's translation. He explains his apprenticeship to a daykeeper, and he still returns to Guatemala every 260 days for religious observances. Also, he {26} establishes the divining system as a valid link to the act of reading the Popol Vuh:

Diviners are by profession interpreters of difficult texts. They can even start from a nonverbal sign, such as the crossing of a road by a coyote or the hatching of an egg in a dream, and arrive at a "reading," as we would say. (Popol Vuh 15)

Not only does Tedlock assert that a diviner reads signs in a fashion similar to that of a reader of a book, but also the geographic locale in its entirety becomes a text, an enlarged page upon which objects move like letters. He includes a map that shows Mayan citadels, and mountains and volcanoes where contemporary rites take place. He discusses the importance of geography to ritual in "Walking the World of the Popol Vuh" (69-97).
        Tedlock correlates the epic directly with contemporary oral tradition. He acknowledges Burns in his preface as "the first to reveal that conversation is the root of all Mayan discourse" (Popol Vuh 19). In An Epoch of Miracles, Burns explains how the storytelling mode of Yucatec Mayan discourse requires that two conversational roles be filled: "The person who does the main telling of the story, the narrator, shares the central stage of story performance with a respondent" (19). Burns points out that the Popol Vuh creation scene shows the gods Tepeu and Gucumatz creating the world through a conversation, not through the word of a single god. Tedlock models his translation after the oral conversation-stories that Burns identifies. He explains that his daykeeper-mentor, Andres Xiloj, is the respondent to the text, which is a "three-way dialogue among Andres Xiloj, the Popol Vuh text, and myself" (Popol Vuh 16). An example of Tedlock's modus operandi is an early translation of the Popol Vuh (section XIV), first published in the literary magazine Conjunctions (176-85). He shows an actual dialogue between Xiloj and himself as they study a section of the story.
        The other justification for relying on an oral tradition to supplement a written text is the probability that the original hieroglyphic version of the Popol Vuh was read through a more improvisational performance than a literal reading. Burns describes a contemporary Yucatec scribe who reads aloud from a book during a religious observance: "He elaborated what was written down, and so his verbal expression was much longer than the words contained on the written pages" (72). De Landa gives a sixteenth century account of a ritual reading of hieroglyphic books by a Mayan priest: "The most learned of the priests opened a book, and observed the predictions for that year, declared them to those present, preached to them a little, enjoining the necessary {27} observances" (71). The "declaring" does not seem to be a rote reading of a text. Further, Tedlock sees remnants of the hieroglyphic original in the alphabetic Ximenez manuscript in phrasing that seems to describe pictures, such as "This is the great tree of Seven Macaw, a name" (31). Tedlock proposes that an oral performance is a more authentic approach than a conventional word-for-word reading.
        Tedlock's translation expands the original text to include a compendium of divination, contemporary Mayan ways, and the Popol Vuh text; he exemplifies Jakobson's notion of "creative transposition" (239). On the other hand, his expansion of the original violates one of Hilaire Belloc's six rules for the translator, "the translator should never embellish" (311). He does create a readable narration with no footnotes. Endnotes include linguistic options and background information, but the text can stand on its own. All together the volume includes translator's preface, introduction, maps, photographs, glossary, notes and commentary, and a bibliography. Only an index is omitted. So Tedlock's book is a resource for Mayan studies as well as a translation.
        What is missing? By choosing to use a predominantly prose form, Tedlock presents the work as a story rather than the poem suggested by the structure of the language. Edmonson's versified translation shows an inherent poetic structure corroborated by Leon-Portilla and other scholars. Tedlock does occasionally resort to similar short-lined verse, but "only where the parallelism is both strongly marked and sustained" (Popol Vuh 245). He does not explain his choice of prose, though it is a reversal of his previous publications, especially of Zuni narratives in Finding the Center. In his preface he discloses only that his translation required "multiple trial runs" (Popol Vuh 16).
        The choice to use prose does not compromise the aesthetic quality of the translation. Tedlock is a gifted stylist. The opening of Part I reads well because of his use of verbs such as "murmurs," "ripples," "sighs," and "hums" (Popol Vuh 72). He chose these to be onomatopoetic: "In translating this passage I have chosen quiet sounds that can be expressed as verbs . . ." Popol Vuh 26). Tedlock integrates the use of couplets into the prose style as parallel clauses. He uses commas, not periods or semicolons, between the clauses to show close relationship, and parallel repetitions gain momentum. The recurrence of "only murmurs, ripples, in the dark, in the night" (Popol Vuh 72) builds up to the mysterious emergence of Sovereign Plumed Serpent, "in the water, a glittering light" (Popol Vuh 73). Tedlock adds dialogue among the gods to make his version read more like a story than an archaic religious text.
        The names of the gods are translated into English, so unfamiliar Quiché names do not slow down the narrative. The metaphor "Heart of {28} Sky" for Hurricane suggests multidimensional aspects of a Mayan deity, as does the listing of the three other aspects of Hurricane: "Thunderbolt Hurricane," "Newborn Hurricane," and "Raw Thunderbolt." Such complexity is finessed fluently in English, and the monotheistic concept is sidestepped.
        Tedlock expands the text of the Popol Vuh so that it incorporates cultural associations. All in all, Tedlock epitomizes the current trend of translators to favor "the orientation towards cultural rather than linguistic transfer" (Snell-Hornby 3). Additionally, Tedlock takes advantage of his facility with language, also demonstrated in his recent book of poetry, Days from a Dream Almanac. His may not be a strictly true translation, but Tedlock's version of the Popol Vuh achieves poetic quality.


        In conclusion, the stories behind translations of the Popol Vuh become a summary of Mayan studies. Read sequentially as a chronology, the stories of translation reflect changes in scholarship from 1908 to 1985. The relationship between translator and text begins as a remote observer, Spence, explains Mayan culture in terms of British poetics. In 1985 the observer, Tedlock, immerses himself in the Mayan point of view as much as he can. His translation elevates cultural authenticity over faithful replication of "keying."
        The poetic quality of translation is secondary at first, with Spence's abridged version and then the plain-spoken work of Recinos, Morley and Goetz. Edmonson, using ideas of Garibay K and Leon-Portilla about Nahuatl as well as Mayan poetic structures, creates a modified couplet form for his version. Tedlock's prose translation, less faithful to the original, does show attention to stylistic quality while incorporating some parallelism. Both Edmonson and Tedlock treat the Mayan text as significant literature.
        The Popol Vuh is especially difficult to translate because of the gap between the source language, including cultural context and time lapse, and the target language of contemporary English. This inherent discrepancy makes the priorities of the translators especially transparent. This distance also challenges the translators to stretch the English language to encompass unfamiliar ideas and poetic forms. Their successes, even if partial, contribute new possibilities to readers and writers of English, and the compelling history of the Mayan civilization is made less obscure.



Version 1:
     This the account of how all was in suspense, all calm, in silence; all motionless, still, and the expanse of the sky was empty.
     This is the first account, the first narrative. There was neither man, nor animal, birds, fishes, crabs, trees, stones, caves, ravines, grasses, nor forests; there was only the sky.
     The surface of the earth had not appeared. There was only the calm sea and the great expanse of the sky.
     There was nothing brought together, nothing which could make a noise, nor anything which might move, or tremble, or could make noise in the sky.
     There was nothing standing; only the calm water, the placid sea, alone and tranquil. Nothing existed.
     There was only immobility and silence in the darkness, in the night. Only the Creator, the Maker, Tepeu, Gucumatz, the Fore-fathers, were in the water surrounded with light. They were hidden under green and blue feathers, and were therefore called Gucumatz. By nature they were great sages and great thinkers. In this manner the sky existed and also the Heart of Heaven, which is the name of God and thus He is called.
     Then came the word. Tepeu and Gucumatz came together in the darkness, in the night, and Tepeu and Gucumatz talked together. They talked then, discussing and deliberating; they agreed, they united their words and their thoughts.
     Then while they meditated, it became clear to them that when dawn would break, man must appear. Then they planned the creation, and the growth of the trees and the thickets and the birth of life and the creation of man. Thus it was arranged in the darkness and in the night by the Heart of Heaven who is called Huracán.
     The first is called Caculhá Huracán. The second is Chipi-Caculhá. The third is Raxa-Caculhá. And these three are the Heart of Heaven.
     Then Tepeu and Gucumatz came together; then they conferred about life and light, what they would do so that there would be light and dawn, who it would be who would provide food and sustenance.
     Thus let it be done! Let the emptiness be filled! Let the water recede and make a void, let the earth appear and become solid; let it be done. Thus they spoke. Let there be light, let there be dawn in the sky and on the earth! There shall be neither glory nor grandeur in our creation and formation until the human being is made, man is formed. So they spoke.

--Sylvanus Morley and Delia Goetz with Adrián Recinos            


Version 2:          II
Here is the description
    Of these things:
Truly it was yet quiet,
    Truly it was yet stilled.
It was quiet.
    Truly it was calm.
Truly it was solitary,
    And it was also still empty, the
womb of heaven.

These are truly then the first words,
    The first utterances.
There was not one person yet,
    One animal,
    Or forest.
All by itself the sky existed.
    The face of the earth was not yet visible.
All by itself the sea lay dammed,
    And the womb of heaven,
    There was nothing whatever
    Or at rest.
Each thing was made silent,
    Each thing was made calm,
Was made invisible,
    Was made to rest in heaven.
There was not, then, anything in fact
    That was standing there.
Only the pooled water,
    Only the flat sea.
All by itself it lay dammed.
    There was not, then anything in fact that might have existed.

It was just still.
    It was quiet
In the darkness,
    In the night.
All alone the Former
    And Shaper,
    And Quetzal Serpent,
The Mothers
    And Fathers
Were in the water.
    Brilliant they were then,
And wrapped in quetzal
    And dove feathers.
Thence came the name
    Of Quetzal Serpent.
Great sages they were
    And great thinkers in their
    For indeed there is Heaven
And there is also the Heart of
That is the name
    Of the deity, it is said.

So then came his word here.
    It reached
To Majesty
    And Quetzal Serpent
There in the obscurity,
    In the nighttime.
It spoke to Majesty
    And Quetzal Serpent, and they spoke.
Then they thought;
    Then they pondered
Then they found themselves;
    They assembled
Their words,
    Their thoughts.
Then they gave birth--
    Then they heartened themselves--
Then they caused to be created
    And they bore man.
Then they thought about the birth,
    The creation
Of trees
    And shrubs,
And the birth of life
And humanity
    In the obscurity,
In the nighttime
Through him who is the Heart of Heaven,
    I Leg by name.
I Leg Lightning is the first,
    And the second is Dwarf Lightning.
Third then is Green Lightning,
    So that the three of them are the Heart of Heaven.
Then they came to Majesty
    And Quetzal Serpent, and then was the invention
Of light
    And life.
"What if it were planted?
    Then something would brighten--
A supporter,
    A nourisher.
So be it.
    You must decide on it.
There is the water to get rid of,
    To be emptied out,
To create this,
    The earth
And have it surfaced
    And levelled
When it is planted,
    When it is brightened--
    And earth.
But there can be no adoration
    Or glorification
Of what we have formed,
    What we have shaped,
Until we have created a human form,
    A human shape," so they said.
So then this the earth was created by them.
    Only their word was the creation of it.
To create the earth, "Earth," they said.

--Munro Edmonson          


Version 3:

This is the account, here it is:
        Now it still ripples, now it still murmurs, ripples. it still sighs, still hums, and it is empty under the sky.
        Here follow the first words, the first eloquence:
        There is not yet one person, one animal, bird, fish, crab, tree, rock, hollow, canyon, meadow, forest. Only the sky alone is there; the face of the earth is not clear. Only the sea alone is pooled under all the sky; there is nothing whatever gathered together. It is at rest; not a single thing stirs. It is held back, kept at rest under the sky.
        Whatever there is that might be is simply not there: only the pooled water, only the calm sea, only it alone is pooled.
        Whatever might be is simply not there: only murmurs, ripples in the dark, in the night. Only the Maker, Modeler alone, Sovereign Plumed Serpent, the Bearers, Begetters are in the water, a glittering light. They are there, they are enclosed in quetzal feathers, in blue-green.
        Thus the name, "Plumed Serpent." They are great knowers, great thinkers in their very being.
        And of course there is the sky, and there is also the Heart of Sky. This is the name of the god, as it is spoken.
        And then came his word, he came here to the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, here in the blackness, in the early dawn. He spoke with the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, and they talked, then they thought, then they worried. They agreed with each other, they joined their words, their thoughts. Then it was clear, then they reached accord in the light, and then humanity was clear, when they conceived the growth, the generation of trees, of bushes, and the growth of life, of humankind, in the blackness, in the early dawn, all because of the Heart of Sky, named Hurricane. Thunderbolt Hurricane comes first, the second is Newborn Thunderbolt, and the third is Raw Thunderbolt.
        So there were three of them, as Heart of Sky, who came to the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, when the dawn of life was conceived:
        "How should it be sown, how should it dawn? Who is to be the provider, nurturer?"
        "Let it be this way, think about it: this water should be removed, emptied out for the formation of the earth's own plate and platform, then comes the sowing, the dawning of earth. But there will be no high days and no bright praise for our work, our design, until the rise of the human work, the human design," they said.
        And then the earth arose because of them, it was simply their word that brought it forth. For the forming of the earth they said "Earth." It arose suddenly, just like a cloud, like a mist, now forming, unfolding. Then the mountains were separated from the water, all at once the great mountains came forth. By their genius alone, by their cutting edge alone they carried out the conception of the mountain-plain whose face grew instant groves of cypress and pine.

--Dennis Tedlock



Astrov, Margot. The Winged Serpent: American Indian Prose and Poetry. 1946. New York: Capricorn Books, l962.

Bassnett-McGuire, Susan. Translation Studies. London and New York: Methuen, 1990.

Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken Books, 1969.

Belloc, Hilaire. "On Translation." Selected Essays by Hilaire Belloc. Ed. John Edward Dineen. Philadelphia and London: J. B. Lippincott, 1936. 281-89.

Brasseur de Bourbourg, Charles Etienne. Popol Vuh: Le livre sacré et les mythes de l'antiquité americaine. Paris: 1861.

Burns, Allan. An Epoch of Miracles: Oral Literature of the Yucatec Maya. Austin: U of Texas P, 1983.

Coe, Michael D. The Maya, 4th ed. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1967.

Derrida, Jacques. The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation. New York: Schocken Books, 1985.

Edmonson, Munro S., trans. The Book of Counsel: The Popol Vuh of the Quiché Maya of Guatemala. New Orleans: Tulane U P, 1971.

------. Lore: An Introduction to the Science of Folklore and Literature. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.

Fenton, William N. "Fieldwork, Museum Studies, and Ethnohistorical Research." Ethnohistory 13 (1965): 71-85.

Guthrie, Kenneth S., trans. "The Popol Vuh or Book of the Holy Assembly." The Word 4-8 (1905-1907).

Helps, Sir Arthur. The Spanish Conquest. 4 vols. London: 1855-61.

Himelbau, Jack. Quiché Worlds in Creation: The Popol Vuh as a Narrative Work. Culver City, CA: Labyrinthos, 1989.

Jakobson, Roman. "On Linguistic Aspects of Translation." On Translation. Ed. R.A. Brower. Cambridge: Harvard U P, 1959.

de Landa, Fr. Diego. Yucatan: Before and After the Conquest. Trans. William Gates. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1978.

Leon-Portilla, Miguel. Literaturas de Mesoamerica. Mexico: Secretaria de Educacion Publica, 1984.

------. Pre-Columbian Literatures of Mexico. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1969.

McClear, Margaret. "Popol Vuh: Structure and Meaning." Thesis St. Louis University, 1970.

Nelson, Ralph. Popol Vuh: The Great Mythological Book of the Ancient Maya. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974.

Ong, Walter. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London and New York: Methuen, 1962.

Ortiz, Alfonso. "Problems of Translation in Oral Narratives." Lecture. NEH Summer Institute. Newberry Library, Chicago, 22 June 1990.

Paz, Octavio. Traducción: Literatura y Literalidad. Barcelona: Tusquets Editor, 1971.

Recinos, Adrián, Delia Goetz, and Sylvanus G. Morley, trans. Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiché Mayas. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1950.

Sahagun, Fr. Bernardino de. Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España. 3 vols. Mexico: 1829.

Snell-Hornby, Mary. Translation Studies: An Integrated Approach. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. Co., 1988.

Spence, Lewis. Atlantis in America. London: E. Benn, 1925.

------. An Introduction to Mythology. London: G.G. Harrap, 1921.

------. The Popol Vuh: The Mythic and Heroic Sagas of the Kiches of Central America. London, 1908.

Tedlock, Barbara. "The Nature of Time Among the Highland Maya." Lecture. NEH Summer Institute. Newberry Library, Chicago, 26 June 1990.

Tedlock, Dennis. Finding the Center: Narrative Poetry of the Zuñi Indians. New York: Dial, 1972.

------, trans. Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985.

------. "Reading the Popol Vuh over the Shoulder of a Diviner and Finding Out What's So Funny." Conjunctions 3 (1982): 176-85.

------. The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1983.

------. "Walking the World of the Popol Vuh." Recovering the Word: Essays on Native American Literature. Ed. Arnold Krupat and Brian Swann. Berkeley: U of California P, 1987. 469-97.


Wolfgang Hochbruck and Beatrix Dudensing-Reichel

        Some of the earliest literary texts written in European languages by Native American authors were written in the 17th century by students at Harvard's Indian College.1 The fact that they were written in Latin and Greek, the languages of University education, as well as their limited accessibility,2 probably explains why these pieces have so far received next to no critical attention.3 Two texts by Harvard Indian students have survived. The main purpose of this article is to reprint them together with approximate translations as well as observations on the form, structure, and grammaticality of the texts and their background in literary tradition. In addition, the problem of their authorship will be discussed. Finally, an attempt will be made to position them historically and ideologically within the context of 17th century colonial discourse.
        In 1656, some twenty years after its foundation, Harvard College incorporated the first institution of higher education for the aboriginal population in the English colonies. The aim of the "Indian College"4 was the education of Indian youths who appeared to be promising proselytes and who could later propagate the gospel as well as European civilization among their tribes. In this the Puritans were following the example of the Spanish colonizers, whose attempts at training Native Americans as teachers and preachers, however, proved more successful. The comparable success of the Spanish (and, to a lesser degree, the French Jesuits) can be attributed to their relative flexibility in regard to their students' needs and wants. They shaped their training accordingly, whereas the Puritans, utterly convinced of the singular rightfulness of their ways and methods, made their Indian students adhere to the same rigid code to which they subjected themselves.5 What awaited the student at Harvard becomes apparent from the 1665 code of College Laws:

In the first yeare after admission for four dayes of the weeke all Students shall be exercised in the Study of the Greeke and Hebrew Tongues, onely beginning Logicke in the Morning towardes the latter end of the yeare unlesse the Tutor shall see Cause by reason of their ripenesse in the Languages to read Logicke sooner. Also they shall spend the second yeare in Logicke with the exercise of the former Languages, and the third yeare in the principles of Ethickes and the fourth in metaphisicks and Mathematicks still {36} carrying on their former studies of the weeke for Rhetoricke, Oratory and Divinity.6

        Descriptions of the College and the number of its students given in the primary and secondary sources vary.7 Apparently only a small number of Indian students attended regularly, and few of those lived to tell the tale. The unfamiliar system of education as well as the living conditions and the diet appear to have taken a deadly toll. Of those who did not fall victim to disease, at least two were murdered,8 and "only one Indian, Caleb Cheeshateaumuck, class of 1665, completed the four year program."9

I. Caleb Cheeshateaumauk: "Honoratissimi Benefactores" (1663)
        Walter Meserve, probably following Drake's Biography and History of the Indians of North America (1834), spells the name of this Indian College graduate "Chaesahteaumuk." Meserve believed that the piece of writing in the archive of the Royal Society, London, was the Indian's "graduation address to his `most honored benefactors,' written and delivered in Latin."10 The single paragraph on Caleb Cheeshateaumauk11 in Meserve's article served as an unquestioned basis for information for scholars up to the present. To quote just one example, Andrew Wiget writes: "Caleb Chaesahteamuk [sic], a Natick and the first Native American college graduate, was fluent in English, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin when he gave his 1665 Harvard commencement address in the latter tongue."12
        Unfortunately, most of this is assumption. In fact, John Winthrop the Younger sent Cheeshateaumauk's "Honoratissimi Benefactores" to Robert Boyle, "together with a similar piece by another American Indian whose Christian name was Joel."13
        To Robert Boyle, whose purview embraced both the Royal Society and the Propagation of the Gospel, he forwarded two papers in Latin, warranted the work of two young aboriginals, who had been Hebraically redesignated Joel and Caleb and enrolled at Harvard. Winthrop had been so impressed (as he seldom was by Indians) that he wondered if the Royal Society might not be interested also.14
        The date and contents of the letter provide two important pieces of information which suggest that "Honoratissimi Benefactores" was not written or even intended as a graduation address. The `Joel' to whom Winthrop refers must have been Joel Hiacoomes or "Iacoomis as he signs himself on a fly-leaf of a Comenius Janua Linguarum."15 He and Caleb were in the same class, but Joel was killed before his graduation.16 More conclusive is the date on the letter: according to the {37} Harvard records Caleb graduated in 1665 whereas Winthrop's letter is dated November 3rd, 1663. Not many students write their graduation address two years in advance, and it becomes obvious that in conjunction with Winthrop's letter the text was meant to be an address expressing appreciation and gratitude towards persons like Boyle, who raised and donated funds for the education of the Indian students and were in a very economical sense "Honoratissimi Benefactores."
The manuscript attributed to Cheeshateaumauk17 reads as follows:

Honoratissimi Benefactores
     Referunt historici de Orpheo musico et insigni Poeta quod ab Appolline Lyram acceperit eaque tantum valuerit, ut illius Cantu sylvas saxumque moverit et Arbores ingentes post se traxerit, ferasque ferocissimas mitiores rediderit imo, quod accepta Lyrâ ad inferos descenderit et Plutonem et Proserpinam suo carmine demulserit, et Eurydicen uxorem ab inferis ad superos evexerit: Hoc symbolum esse statuunt Philosophi Antiquissimi, ut ostendant quod tanta et vis et virtus doctrinae et politioris literaturae ad mutandum Barborum Ingenium: qui sunt tanquam arbores, saxa, et bruta animantia: et eorum quasi matephorisin efficiendam, eosque tanquam Tigres Cicurandos et post se trahendos.
     Deus vos delegit esse patronos nostros, et cum omni sapientiâ intimâque Commiseratione vos ornavit, ut nobis paganis salutiferam opem feratis, qui vitam progeniemque a majoribus nostris ducebamus, tam animo quam corporeque nudi fuimus, et ab omni humanitate alieni fuimus, in deserto huc et illuc variisque erroribus ducti fuim[us].
     O terque quaterque ornatissimi, amantissimique viri, quas quantasque quam maximas, immensasque gratias vobis tribuamus: eo quod omnium rerum Copiam nobis suppetitaveritis propter educationem nostram, et ad sustentationem corporum nostrorum: immensas maximasque expensas effudistis.
     Et praecipuè quas quantasque, Gratias Deo Opt.[imo] M[a]x.[imo] dabimus qui sanctas scripturas nobis revelavit, Dominumque Jesum Christum nobis demonstravit, qui est via veritatis et vitae. Praeter haec omnia, per viscera miserecordiae divinae, aliqua spes relicta sit, ut instrumenta fiamus, ad declarandum et propogandum evangelium Cognatis nostris Conterraneisque: ut illi etiam Deum Cognoscant: et Christum.
     Quamvis non posumus par pari redere vobis, reliquisque Benefactoribus nostris, veruntamen speramus. nos non defuturos apud Deum supplicationibus importunis exorare pro illis pijs miserecordibus viris, qui supersunt in vetere Angliâ, qui pro nobis tantam vim auri, argentique effuderunt ad salutem animarum nostrarum procurandam et pro vobis etiam, qui instrumenta, et quasi aquae ductus fuistis omnia ista beneficentia nobis Conferendi.
Vestre Dignitati devotissimus: Caleb Cheeshateaumauk

        The Latin text contains several minor grammatical mistakes. Some are spelling errors; e.g. "posumus," "redere," "miserecordibus," "propogandum," "veruntamen," and, repeatedly, "tanquam" instead of possumus, reddere, misericordibus, propagandum, verumtamen, and tamquam. In "Barborum" the second syllable to spell Barbarorum was omitted. A problematic spelling is "Tigres Cicurandos" (obviously not Citurandos as Morison has it), for cicurare is a Latin word very rarely used. The only source that Cheeshateaumauk could have known is Varro, De Lingua Latina, 7, 91. The meaning, however, is the same as in securare, so "Cicurandos," if not from Varro, could be a misspelling (substitution of "c" for "s" can occasionally be found in Puritan texts) or the word was misheard--which would imply that the text was dictated. This could also account for the other spelling mistakes in the text.
        The most puzzling phrase in the manuscript is "quasi matephorisin efficiendam" near the end of the first paragraph. Along with Latin, Greek was part of the curriculum at Harvard, and the author of the text obviously meant to include here a word borrowed from the Greek, probably metamorphosis--which would make sense. Winthrop told Boyle that he "had questioned the Indians in Latin and received good answers in the same language, and heard them both express several sentences in Greek also."18 If one of the two Indian students actually spoke Greek, it certainly wasn't Cheeshateaumauk. In order to mistake metamorphosis so as to spell something like `metaphorisin' the author cannot have been too familiar with Greek. To use a word and not be able to spell it at all would again indicate that the text may have been dictated rather than composed in written form. This possibility will be considered again later on.
        In English, the text reads approximately as follows:

Most honored benefactors,
     Historians tell about Orpheus the musician and outstanding poet, that he received a lyre from Apollo, and that he was so excellent on it that the forests and the rocks were moved by his song. He made huge trees follow behind him, and indeed rendered the most ferocious beasts tamer. Because of the lyre he accepted, he descended into the nether world, lulled Pluto and Proserpina with his song and led Eurydice, his wife, out of the nether world into the upper world. The ancient philosophers state that this serves as a symbol to show how powerful the force and virtue of education and of refined literature are in the transformation of the barbarians' nature. They are like the trees, the rocks, and the brute beasts, and a substantial change (metamorphosis) has to be effected on them. They have to be secured like tigers and {39} must be induced to follow.
     The Lord delegated you to be our patrons, and he endowed you with all wisdom and intimate compassion, so that you may perform the work of bringing blessing to us pagans, who derive our life and origin from our forebears. We were naked in our souls as well as in our bodies, we were aliens from all humanity, and we were led around in the desert by various errors.
     Oh threefold and fourfold most illustrious and most loving men, what kind of thanks, if not the greatest and most immense, should we give to you, for that you have supported us with an abundance of all things for our education and for the sustenance of our bodies. You have poured forth immense, the greatest, resources.
     And we will especially give great thanks to God the most excellent and highest, who has revealed the sacred scriptures to us, and who has shown to us our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the way of truth and of life. Besides all this, another hope has been left us through the depths of divine mercy: that we may be instruments to spread and propagate the gospel among our kin and neighbours, so that they also may know the Lord and Christ.
     Even though we can not commensurately reciprocate your kindness and that of our other benefactors, we do hope, however. We are not left alone praying before the Lord with importunate supplications for those pious and merciful men who are still in the old England, who disbursed so much gold and silver for us to obtain the salvation of our souls, and for you as well, who were instruments like aquaeducts in bestowing all these benefits on us.
Most devoted to your dignity: Caleb Cheeshateaumauk

The five paragraphs of the letter can be roughly divided into two parts. The first part compares certain aspects of the Orpheus myth to the present situation of the students; the second part, following up this demonstration of learnedness, is an expression of gratitude to the benefactors combined with a tribute of thanks to the Lord and Christ. The use of the Orpheus myth is of particular interest both for its function as a documentation of scholastic achievements and for the way in which a classical myth was coopted to the needs of the author. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, respectively, Orpheus had been interpreted as the unhappy lover and as a bringer of humanism. The Orpheus figure in this text accesses an older tradition; the figure combines the classical position in which Orpheus acts as a bringer of civilization with the typical early Christian topos in which Orpheus plays the similar role of priest and harbinger of Christianity.19 Logically enough, this Christian interpretation specifically omits the loss of Eurydice and the final failure of Orpheus' rescue attempt, and {40} concentrates on the poet's ability to transform the spirits of nature and its inhabitants. The analogies the author draws are obvious: the teachers and, for the purpose of this letter, the financial donors like Boyle are likened to Orpheus; their efforts and missionary work to the lyre; and, lastly, the wildness of the stones, forests and animals to the savageness of nature's human inhabitants, among which were the Indian students themselves. This analogy between Indian students and "bruta animantia" is not, as it may initially appear, a Puritan device comparable to Cotton Mather's dictum about an Indian who warned his tribesmen against attacking the colony: "Thus was the tongue of a dog made useful to a feeble and sickly Lazarus."20 Within the text of "Honoratissimi Benefactores," "Philosophi Antiquissimi" are given as a source of this interpretation. More probably the author drew from the so-called Fathers, notably Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius: Clement was the first who dared to typify Christ through the Orpheus figure of Greek mythology,21 while Eusebius considered Christian man an instrument like Orpheus' lyre to pacify the fierce and angry passions of the barbarians.22 The curriculum at Harvard explicitly contained the study of "theology . . . from the sources: the Bible, the Fathers, and the great commentators,"23 so Cheeshateaumauk would have been exposed to Clement and Eusebius.
        Other passages and formulae in the text can also be traced to classical and biblical sources: "terque quaterque" with or without the "O" is used by Vergil on four occasions in the Aeneid, and "via veritatis et vitae" is obviously biblical (John, 14:6). All of these references serve the same purpose as the text itself: they exhibit the capacities and achievements of the Indian student and convey to financiers like Boyle that their donations were productively invested.

II. Eleazar: "In obitum Viri verè Reverendi D. Thomae Thacheri" (1679)
        The other surviving text by a Native American Harvard student is a reverence to his late teacher Thomas Thacher.24 It is written in a classical form: an elegy in Latin distichs with the four closing lines in Greek. Cotton Mather used this poem as an epitaph for Thacher in the third book of his Magnalia Christi Americana, which contains biographical essays on a number of New England priests and preachers. Introducing the poem, Mather writes:

An epitaph must now be sought for this Worthy Man. And because the Nation and the Quality of the Author, will make the Composure to become a Curiosity, I will here, for an Epitaph insert an Elegy, which was composed upon this Occasion, by an Indian Youth, who was then Student of {41} Harvard Colledge. (His name was, Eleazar.)

In obitum Viri verè Reverendi
D. Thomae Thacheri
Qui Ad
Dom. ex hâc Vitâ migravit, 18.8.1678
Tentabo Illustrem, tristi memorare dolore
Quem Lacrymis repetunt Tempora, nostra, Virum.
Memnona sic Mater, Mater ploravit Achillem,
Justis cum Lacrymis, cumque Dolore gravi
Mens stupet, ora silent, justum nunc palmo recusat
Officium: Quid? Opem Tristis Apollo negat?
Ast Thachere Tuus conabor dicere laudes
Laudes Virtutis, quae super Astra volat.
Consultis Rerum Dominis, Gentique togatae
Nota fuit virtus, ac tua Sancta Fides.
Vivis post Funus; Faelix post Fata; Jaces Tu?
Sed Stellas inter Gloria nempe Jaces
Mens Tua jam caelos repetit; Victoria parta est:
Iam Tuus est Christus, quod meruitque tuum.
Hic Finis Crucis; magnorum haec meta malorum;
Ulterius non quo progrediatur erit.
Crux jam cassa manes; requiescunt ossa Sepulchro;
Mors moritur; Vitae Vita Beata redit
Quum tuba per Densas sonitum dabit ultima Nubes,
Cum Domino Rediens Ferrea Sceptra geres.
Caeles tum scandes, ubi Patria Vero piorum
Praevius hanc patriam nunc tibi Jesus adit.
Illic vera Quies; illic sine fine voluptas;
Gaudia & Humanis non referenda sonis
' , ' ' ' ,
' , ,
' .

        Training in the Greek classics appears to have improved between 1663 and 1679. A mistake like Cheeshateaumauk's ominous "matephorisin" is not repeated. The form "{Greek}" should read "{Greek}," but "{Greek}" as a poetic sub-form can be found in Homer's Iliad 18:23 and in Theocritus 24:93. The orthographical mistakes ("palmo," "vero" instead of palma and vera) in a text revised by Cotton Mather are surprising, but could be attributed to the printer.

On the death of that truly venerable man/ D.Thomas Thacher/ who/ went to the Lord from this life, 18.8.1678


I seek to commemorate this illustrious man with sad grief,/ Whom our times reclaim with tears, this man./ Thus Memnon's mother, thus the mother wept for Achilles/ with justified tears, and with grieving pain/ the mind is stunned, the mouth silent. Now the hand refuses its proper/ service: What? Grieving Apollo refuses his help?/ Nonetheless, Thacher, I, one of yours,27 will try to speak praise/ praise of virtue, which ascends higher than the stars./ To the men of high learning, and to the people of standing28/ your virtue was known, also your holy faith./ You live after the funeral, happy after fate; you lie [dead?]/ But among the stars you lie indeed as glory/ your spirit already returns to the heavens; victory has been achieved:/ Yours already is Christ, yours what he merited/ Here is the end of the cross [of life's sorrow]; here the end of great evil;/ Further than that there is nowhere whence he could proceed./ You, cross, already stand empty; the bones rest in the grave;/ death dies; Blessed life returns to life/ when the last trumpet will send its sound through the dense clouds./ With the Lord returning, you bear iron sceptres./ Then you will ascend into the skies,29 where the home of the truly pious is/ Jesus precedes you now on the way to this homeland./ There is true rest, there is delight without end;/ joys human voices cannot describe.
     Dust receives your corpse, but your name will never perish on earth, famous in our own and in future times; and the spirit, flying from your limbs, climbs up to steep heaven, immortal, mingling with immortal spirits.

        The name of the author is given as "Eleazar Judus Senior Sophista."30 Although the text is far from being a masterpiece, form and meter are rather regular. As in "Honoratissimi Benefactores" some passages evoke classical models. In this poem, these allusions serve the same purpose as in Cheeshateaumauk's letter, i.e., to demonstrate learnedness. The results are sometimes puzzling. For example: the third line is a direct quotation from Ovid, Amores IX, 1. The Amores seem an unlikely text for a Puritan school, and they certainly are not exactly appropriate for use in an obituary elegy. Also, Cheeshateaumauk's use of Orpheus as mythological intertext seems more fitting than Eleazar's use of the warriors Memnon and Achilles of Homeric tradition in an eulogy on a man of the cloth. An interesting parallel emerges, though, in that both texts operate along a similar model. Eleazar, like Caleb, begins his text with an allusion to Greek mythology and then switches to biblical motifs, concentrating on aspects of salvation.

III. Indian students and the question of authorship
        Eleazar's poem was edited for reprint. This raises the question of {43} authorship again: could both texts discussed in this article possibly have been designed, dictated, or even written by somebody other than the signed authors? The answer is yes, possibly, but the problem cannot be solved easily, if at all. As was said before, "Honoratissimi Benefactores" bears some traces indicating that the text may have been dictated. In his letter to Boyle, John Winthrop, Junior, claimed that Caleb Cheeshateaumauk and Joel Hiacoomes wrote "with their owne hands,"31 which does not necessarily imply that the texts were their own idea, even though this may be pushing the argument too far.
        On the whole, it would not come as a surprise if the texts by Cheeshateaumauk and Hiacoomes (the latter of which was lost) were falsifications. Both texts were expressions of gratitude for received funding, and when it came to fund-raising campaigns, the Puritans showed remarkably little hesitation to make the end justify the means. The seal of the colony, depicting an Indian saying "Come Over and Help Us," was adopted for the sole purpose of instigating additional funding.32 If fundraising was the purpose of Winthrop's letter, the effort was successful, for Boyle not only supported missions among the Indians during his lifetime but also willed the substantial amount of 5400 to pious and charitable uses--money that went into "a school for Indians at Virginia's new college."33 There is more reason to be sceptical. Some Puritan officials apparently took a rather selective position when it came to preserving documents relating to Indian affairs:

. . . one can say with confidence that the interpretations provided in Winthrop's History are unlikely to be accurate representations of the vanished texts. . . . Winthrop probably rewrote the substance of the Indian treaties to meet the Puritans' political and ideological needs, and then he or a devoted descendant destroyed the originals.34

        Even though Francis Jennings concedes that "the case cannot be proved because the essential evidence is gone," he presents a strong argument that John Winthrop Senior falsified records. Jennings records another occasion when John Eliot, the famous missionary, tried to conceal that he had attempted to take the credit for missionary efforts that were not his and made some changes in an application for funds, writing that "`his earlier statement had a great (I) redundant which maketh the sence untrue,' brightly adding that everything would read quite accurately if only the name of the Indian Hiacoomes was substituted for the first person singular pronoun that Eliot has used as the subject of his credit-grabbing sentence." Jennings goes on to remark that "this must be the only time that the term redundant has been used {44} to mean `substituted.'"35 The aim was to gain money: "Winslow used Eliot's letters, including the `I-Hiacoomes' one, to win Parliament's authorization for a nationwide collection of missionary funds, and the New England Company was established to transmit the funds to Eliot's mission."36 All this may serve to illustrate why the authorship of Cheeshateaumauk and Hiacoomes must be seen as doubtful. If a "substitution" like the one described above happened once, why not twice? This is after all obviously the same Joel Hiacoomes whose letter went via Winthrop to Boyle.
        On the other hand, none of this can conclusively prove that Cheeshateaumauk and Eleazar were not the authors of the respective texts attributed to them. To discount their authorship on the basis of the ideological content of the texts is not possible. As a matter of fact missionary zealots like Eliot and Winthrop would not have needed to dictate or falsify their students' literary efforts. These young Indians were educated under a system which aimed at the erasure of their tribal identities. If the system was effective, the results were texts like "Honoratissimi Benefactores"--self-deprecating and abounding in exuberant praise for the "benefactors."
        From the perspective of those of their contemporaries who adhered to the traditional beliefs and values, the Indian students had forsaken their cultural identity.37 "The Indian who embraced Christianity was compelled, in effect, to commit cultural suicide. He was required to renounce not only his own personal past, but that of his forefathers as well, forsaking--and despising--all traditional beliefs."38 The position held by the Indian students was at best one between the cultures. As authors, however, Joel, Caleb, and Eleazar even became contributors to the Puritan colonial master narrative and could be used as part of the colonial discourse.39 To try to ascribe undercurrents of traditional meaning to these works does not make sense.
        Within the context of an incipient literature written by Native Americans, the Harvard Indian college for several reasons turned out to be a dead-end road. One reason is, of course, that the most promising students died prematurely--Joel Hiacoomes, as stated before, was murdered; Eleazar died shortly before his graduation; and Caleb survived his graduation to live just one more year--and the school itself was abandoned after King Philip's war. Secondly, Latin and Greek were rapidly going out of use as the standard languages of education. Assimilationist sentiments, however, remained the rule rather than the exception with early Native American texts well into the 19th century.



        1The authors are grateful to Prof. Dr. Paul G. Schmidt, specialist for mediaeval Latin at Freiburg University, for his help with the texts discussed in this article, also to E. Stein, and especially to Beth Satre for her comments and the revision of the manuscript. The authors take responsibility for any remaining mistakes.

        2After most of the research for this article had been completed the authors obtained a copy of Samuel G. Morison, Harvard College in the Seventeenth Century, Vol. 1, Cambridge: Harvard UP 1936, and found that it contained on p. 355 one of the texts the authors had assumed to be unpublished. The one-page manuscript, starting `Honoratissimi Benefactores' and signed `Caleb Cheeshateaumauk,' is in the Boyle correspondence (BL 2.12) in the archive of the Royal Society, London.

        3Walter T. Meserve, "English Works of Seventeenth-Century Indians," American Quarterly, 8, 1956, 264-76, focused on English texts of the period.

        4Gert Raeithel, Geschichte der nordamerikanischen Kultur, Vol. l: Vom Puritanismus bis zum Bürgerkrieg, Weinheim/Berlin: Quadriga, 1987, p. 98.

        5Cf. James Axtell, The European and the Indian. Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America, New York/Oxford: Oxford UP, 1981, p. 66.

        6Laws as set by President Charles Chauncey, quoted after Morison, Harvard College in the 17th C., p. 144f.

        7Cf. e.g., Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest, Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1975, p. 247f.; Neal Salisbury, "Red Puritans: The `Praying Indians' of Massachusetts Bay and John Eliot," William and Mary Quarterly, 31, 1974, 27-54, p. 46f. The most extensive and probably the most reliable account is to be found in Morison, Harvard in the 17th C., pp. 342ff.

        8For more detailed accounts see Morison, pp. 352ff.; James Axtell, The Invasion Within. The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America, New York/Oxford: Oxford UP, 1985, pp. 182ff.; Alden T. Vaughan, New England Frontier. Puritans and Indians 1620-1675, Boston/Toronto: Little, Brown, 1965, pp. 282ff.

        9Vaughan, New England Frontier, p. 284. In a recent article Margaret C. Szasz and Carmelita Ryan have claimed that "two (Joel Hiacoomes and Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck) completed their education," but all sources and data available to the authors indicate that in fact only the latter graduated. Szasz/Ryan, "American Indian Education," in Wilcomb Washburn, ed., History of Indian-White Relations (William Sturtevant, ed., Handbook of the American Indian, Vol. 4), 284-300, p. 286.

        10Meserve, "English Works of Seventeenth-Century Indians," p. 264.

        11This is the spelling of the name on the manuscript, which therefore will be used in this article.

        12Andrew Wiget, Native American Literature, Boston: Twayne, 1985, pp. 48-49.

        13Alan J. Clark, Deputy Librarian, The Royal Society, London; letter to W.H., 16.5.1989. The letter by Joel (Hiacoomes) has not survived (letter to W.H., 7.3.1991). We are grateful to Mr. Clark, who not only provided a copy of the manuscript but also added information both helpful and enlightening to our task.

        14Robert C. Black III, The Younger John Winthrop, New York/London: Columbia UP, 1966, pp. 307-08.

        15Morison, Harvard in the 17th C., p. 354.

        16He survived a shipwreck off the coast of Massachusetts only to be murdered by local Indians; ibid., p. 356; Meserve, "English Works," p. 274.

        17This is a transcript of the original manuscript. The version printed in Morison, p. 355, does contain several mistakes corrected here.

        18Louis B. Wright, The Cultural Life of the American Colonies, 1607- 1763, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957, p. 117; see also Morison, Harvard in the 17th C., p. 354.

        19Cf. the article on "Orpheus" in Elizabeth Frenzel, Stoffe der Weltliteratur, Stuttgart: Kröner, 1983, pp. 573-79; also Emmet Robbins, "Famous Orpheus," in John Warden, ed., Orpheus. A Metamorphosis of a Myth, Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1982, pp. 3-23.

        20C. Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), quoted after Elemire Zolla, The Writer and the Shaman, New York, 1973, p. 35.

        21Eleanor Irwin, "The New Song of Orpheus and the New Song of Christ," in Warden, Orpheus, pp. 51-62, p.51.

        22Ibid., p. 56.

        23Morison, Harvard College in the 17th C., p. 276.

        24Reverend Thomas Thacher, *1.5.1620, came to Boston in 1635.

        25Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana, or the Ecclesiastical History of New-England, London: Parkhurst, 1702, Vol. III, p. 153.

        26An early English rendition of this poem by a "Philo Muses" in the American Magazine & Historical Chronicle not only changes the meter into (rather badly rhyming) heroic couplets but deletes the Greek part. Instead of the original 28 lines the poem is almost doubled in size (50 lines). For example: the first two lines turn into: "While weeping Friends around thy Funeral mourn/ And pay their last sad Honours to thine Urn/ The Muse officious to attend the Hearse/ Offers her Tribute in Elegiac Verse." "Philo Muses," "Poetical Essays," American Magazine & Historical Chronicle, 1, 1743/44, 166-70, p. 166.

        27The original possibly had "tuas," to read "your praise."

        28The phrase consultus iuris, "knowledgeable in matters of law," is common; "rerum" sounds a bit awkward. "Gentique togatae" could also mean "ordained people."

        29Probably "caelos."

        30And not "Indus" as Morison writes in Harvard College in the 17th C., p. 196.

        31Ibid., p. 354

        32Axtell, The Invasion Within, p. 134.

        33Ibid., p. l90.

        34Jennings, The Invasion of America, p. 182.

        35Francis Jennings, "Goals and Functions of Puritan Missions to the Indians," Ethnohistory, 18, 1971, 197-212, p. 208.

        36Ibid., p. 209.

        37The voices of some traditionalists and dissenters are also preserved in, for example, John Eliot's Indian Dialogues, in Roger Williams' Key into the Language of America, and in the Jesuit Relations. Eliot and Williams present typical dialogues with obstinate Indians in order to equip fellow missionaries and teachers with material against possible questions from their students and congregations, and the Jesuits document many cases of Indians defending their traditions with skill and cunning. For more detail, cf. James P. Ronda, "`We Are Well As We Are': An Indian Critique of Seventeenth-Century Christian Missions," William and Mary Quarterly, 34, 1977, 66-82.

        38Ibid., p. 67.

        39The first Native American author who successfully used English for his own purposes (and personal advantage) rather than for the aims pursued by his instructors was also the only Harvard student to survive longer; one "John Wompow-ess" or "Wampus" (also Wompas and Wampas), who changed professions several times during his life and, after King Philip's war, was in jail for debt. In this situation he used his freshman English to write a "`humble Peticion . . . to the King's most excellent Majesty,' . . . praying his gracious Sovereign to issue a royal command to `Sir John Leveritt Knight Governor of Massij Chussit Bay' that he be released forthwith." Morison, Harvard College in the 17th C., pp. 356-57.


Laura Murray

The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption, and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

Church of Scotland, The Confession of Faith, 1756        

...the best way in which the master can serve his own interests is to work away, day in, day out, with constant care and attention, weaving the ethical and affective, as well as economic, bonds which durably tie his khammes to him . . . if the master wants to persuade the khammes to devote himself over a long period to the pursuit of the master's interests, he has to associate him completely with those interests, masking the dyssymetry of the relationship by symbolically denying it in his behaviour. The khammes is the man to whom one entrusts one's goods, one's house, and one's honour. . . . And just as [the khammes] never feels entirely freed from his obligations towards his former master, so, after what he calls a `change of heart' he may accuse his master of `treachery' in abandoning someone he had `adopted.'

Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, 1977        


        In 1754, Eleazar Wheelock opened his Indian Charity-School in Lebanon, Connecticut, with the goal of educating Indians to be missionaries and schoolteachers among their own people. He began with an endowment of land and a couple of buildings, two small Delaware boys for students, and unbounded optimism. Not only did he expect Indians from various tribes and of various ages to be amenable to religious, linguistic, and cultural conversion, but, as he explains in his Plain and Faithful Narrative of the Indian Charity-School, he expected that training these Indians in obedience and humility would both fulfill his duty to God and the King, and reduce Indian violence against English settlers. In the same narrative, the first of several accounts of the school written for fundraising purposes, Wheelock also {49} justifies his idea of educating Indian men rather than white men to be missionaries:1 Indians do not trust the English, he reminds his patrons, but they will trust other Indians. Furthermore, he claims that Indian missionaries cost less, will be more culturally compatible, will not "scorn to be advised or reproved" by their superiors, and will not need interpreters (15-23).
        Like other white educators of Native peoples before him and since, Wheelock believed that he had to remove Indian students from their families in order to "cure them of such savage and sordid Practices, as they have been inured to from their Mother's Womb" (25) and he set about "curing" them with great fervor and rigor. As the years went by, however, almost all of Wheelock's assumptions at this early stage of his project in Indian education turned out to be false, and during a period of intense disillusionment with his work with the Indians, he turned most of his attentions instead to educating white boys when he founded Dartmouth College in 1769.
        Among the documents of Wheelock's work in Indian education are the letters and confessions written to him by nineteen of his Indian students,2 which were collected and published, along with related letters and speeches, as part of the Dartmouth College Manuscript Series in 1932. In this paper, I will discuss the letters of two of Wheelock's students, Hezekiah Calvin and David Fowler. Their letters are more numerous than those of most of Wheelock's Indian students,3 and because they span several years (two and a half years in Calvin's case, and four in Fowler's), the letters of these two students in particular allow us insight into the nature of Wheelock's relationships with his students and the role of writing within those relationships.
        Calvin and Fowler wrote letters for various purposes and on various occasions. At the school, Wheelock required students to write up or sign obsessively detailed confessions of sins. Calvin and Fowler in particular also used writing to ask permission and register complaints even when they were in Lebanon with Wheelock; perhaps they did so because Wheelock required it, or perhaps writing allowed them to broach subjects they did not feel they could discuss with Wheelock face to face. When they were posted to teach away from Wheelock, both Calvin and Fowler wrote to him about many matters, both spiritual and material. However, they were not often rewarded with replies. Wheelock may have written more letters to his Indian students than have been preserved, but among the thousands of letters Wheelock laboriously copied out for his records only a small number are addressed to his Indian students, and as we shall see, the letters of Calvin and Fowler (and other students) contain many complaints about Wheelock's lack of response: it appears that it was common for {50} Wheelock to leave the students' letters unanswered. While the students were trying to encourage or maintain a correspondence with him, Wheelock was directing more of his correspondence to British benefactors and missionary colleagues, sometimes enclosing some of his students' letters as proof of his success in producing literate Indians. Thus Calvin's and Fowler's letters had a dual audience rather than a single correspondent: we can think of them as part of a collaborative text in which Wheelock's part, expected by his students and promised by his claims to fatherly dedication, was never fulfilled. Wheelock's silence intensified Calvin's and Fowler's dependence on him--in the same way that the Confession of Faith, my epigraph, understands the effect of God's silence on the faithful--but Wheelock's silence also increased his students' resistance to his authority.
        James Scott, in his important study of the subtle manifestations of resistance in conditions of domination, writes that "each and every inference about the attitude behind an act of deference must . . . be based on evidence external to the act itself" (24). Neither the deference nor the defiance in the letters of Calvin and Fowler can be interpreted without considering the context of their silent dual audience, and also the intensity and complexity of the relationships between the Indian students and Wheelock. For although the students went to Wheelock's school voluntarily or were sent by their parents, they soon found themselves enmeshed in powerful bonds of duty and debt which were difficult for them to escape. Hezekiah Calvin's language of bondage and obligation in the following letter to Wheelock richly evokes this situation:

Your goodness binds me to you in all thankfulness, but how shall I, or in what Language or words shall I express the sense of Gratitude due to your care & tenderness who have all along laid so many obligations on me, so many & in so high degree, that I may as well Number them, which is impossible . . . . (52)4

The ever-multiplying obligations were not only emotional. For example, when James Simon wanted to leave the school, Wheelock wrote the student's mother5 an angry letter:

I received your James not to please myself but at your earnest Desire by your Daughter Sarah, who told me you had given him to me to bring up and despose of as my own Son, and only upon such Considerations I took him . . . & when he is fit for it I designd to put him into good Business as I would a Child of my own . . . but if I have not understood you right . . . I insist upon it that you let me know it now, before I spend any more Money to be thrown {51} away upon him, there are hundreds who would be glad to come into his Room and be at my dispose as much my own Children are-- (225-26)

        Financial factors clearly enter into this part of the letter--"Money to be thrown away upon him" is a rather strong phrase--but Wheelock does not spell things out until the postscript, where he directly threatens that Sarah the elder, James's mother, will have to pay back the full cost of her son's education if he leaves the school. Before and between these bluntly-stated financial concerns, the letter bears a tone of injured generosity and insulted fatherly love.
        The language of emotion and the business dimension of the relationship would not have been contradictory to Wheelock; legally and customarily, English children in the eighteenth century were considered to be property of their parents or guardians, with the attendant duties and constraints. Thus when Wheelock claims that his students are like his own children, their likeness is based on the fact that like Wheelock's children they are "at [his] dispose," or as he puts it elsewhere, available for "special Usefulness" (Narrative 26). The students' parents, on the other hand, cast a different light on the ways in which their children have become Wheelock's children. They expect Wheelock to treat their children as his own, "according to which they are wont to treat their Captives" (Narrative 41, my italics): there is a certain nice irony in this assertion, as the parents accuse Wheelock of capturing their children, and use that accusation to ensure his good treatment of them.6 But as James Axtell points out, "what the Indians . . . soon discovered . . . was that English children were treated much differently from children in the longhouse" (209), and they learned, furthermore, that Wheelock's fatherly affection for his Indian students was distorted by racist expectations of failure and backsliding.
        The father-child metaphor used by all parties in describing the relationship between Wheelock and his students was a conception which harmonized with both Christian doctrine and Indian expectations; although defined variously, it was mutually agreed upon. The collective definition of this relationship is in many ways similar to Pierre Bourdieu's formulation of the master-khammes relationship in rural Algeria, sketched out in an epigraph to this paper, in which "there is neither deceiver nor deceived" (196). Bourdieu puts forth a general thesis about the intimate and ever-labour-intensive ways in which hierarchy is maintained in societies lacking mechanisms to guarantee and objectify it:7

. . . the system contains only two ways (and they prove in the end to be just one way) of getting and keeping a lasting {52} hold over someone: gifts or debts, the overtly economic obligations of debt, or the `moral,' `affective' obligations created and maintained by exchange, in short, overt (physical or economic) violence, or symbolic violence--censored, euphemized, i.e. unrecognizable, socially recognized violence. There is an intelligible relation--not a contradiction--between these two forms of violence, which coexist in the same social formation and sometimes in the same relationship: when domination can only be exercised in its elementary form, i.e. directly, between one person and another, it cannot take place overtly and must be disguised under the veil of enchanted relationships, the official model of which is presented by relations between kinsmen; in order to be socially recognized it must get itself misrecognized. (191)

        Like the Algerian masters studied by Bourdieu, Wheelock manipulated two sorts of obligations, gifts and debts, invoking debt obligations only in extreme situations (such as James Simon's crisis of confidence in him), because this "overt violence," as Bourdieu would call it, threatened the stability of his "affective" authority over his students. "Symbolic violence"--"the gentle, invisible form of violence, which is never recognized as such, and is not so much undergone as chosen, the violence of credit, confidence, obligation, personal loyalty, hospitality, gifts, gratitude, piety" (192) was more effective for Wheelock than direct economic violence.8 But the affective relation of father and son was also sought by some Indians who willingly sent their children to Wheelock's school, thinking that by encouraging ties with the missionaries they would have more bargaining power and influence. The students, once ensconced in this affective relationship with Wheelock, worked strenuously within it to gain concessions from Wheelock before they considered ending the relationship.9
        Eventually, however, the Indian students did consider ending the relationship; in fact every one of them who lived long enough or studied long enough to take up a post in the field eventually broke with Wheelock, although many of them remained Christians. The limits of the applicability of Bourdieu's model to missionary-Christian Indian relations in colonial America are thus instructive. Bourdieu is thinking about an essentially closed system:

Agents lastingly `bind' each other, not only as parents and children, but also as creditor and debtor, master and khammes, only through the dispositions which the group inculcates in them and continuously reinforces, and which render unthinkable practices which would appear as legitimate and even be taken for granted in the disenchanted economy of {53} `naked self-interest.' (196)

        Colonial New England, however, was part of extensive networks of culture, capital, and communication which rendered more things "thinkable" than Bourdieu's model would indicate. The Indian students, even while enmeshed in relationships with Wheelock, still maintained circles in which they could speak and act outside of Wheelock's knowledge or control, as we shall see particularly in Hezekiah Calvin's case. These circles, "sequestered social sites at which . . . resistance can be nurtured and given meaning" (Scott 20) permitted the development of what James Scott terms "hidden transcripts," discourses of resistance that operate in all but the most atomizing conditions of domination. Another set of "transcripts" was also operating alongside the discourse of Wheelock's relations with his students: Wheelock, despite his authority over his Indian students, was a participant in an economy of gifts and debts with his patrons in Britain. When he dedicated his Narrative to the Marquis of Lothian, Wheelock had to abase himself rhetorically almost as much as his students were required to do for him: he was indebted to British benefactors for their charity as his students were to him. Thus Wheelock's participation in dual economies of debts and gifts provided an opening for his students to subvert his authority over them, while their relations with their people gave them the exteriority to dare to "recognize" their relationship with Wheelock and refuse its "enchantment."


        Hezekiah Calvin, a Delaware, came to Wheelock's school as a small boy in 1757, arriving on the same horse that had carried one of the school's first two students home to die. To Wheelock--whose Presbyterianism did not preclude an enthusiastic component of superstition--this replacement of one student lost with one gained, arriving on the very same horse, was a sign of divine favor (Narrative 30). But Calvin did not turn out to be the miraculous purveyor of Christianity his arrival may have augured for Wheelock. The twelve letters Calvin wrote to Wheelock between February 1766 and the fall of 1768, as well as several letters about him from others, tell of his loneliness, doubts, drinking, and general cultural dislocation. Posted in 1766 as a schoolteacher to Fort Hunter, New York, Calvin found himself burdened with complicated community demands, persistent discipline problems in his school, and chronic headaches (51). He did not speak the language-- later he described himself among the Mohawks as a "dumb stump that has no tonnge to use" (58)--and he felt isolated both from his family and from Wheelock.
        One bright spot in Calvin's life around this time was his courtship of Mary Secutor, another Indian student at Wheelock's school, but his hope for marriage was soon quashed when her father wrote to Wheelock asking him to prevent the match (for unspecified reasons), which Wheelock did. Devastated by this decision, Calvin's reaction was to lay out in a letter to Wheelock several ideas about what he might do next: go to sea, return to the Mohawks even though he doubted he would "be likely of doing them any good" (58), farm, or go home "that I might learn somwhat of my own Native Language" (58).10 As for Mary Secutor, Calvin had his conditions: "I can leave her if you will let me go home & never to return again" (58), he wrote. But in the very next sentence he is all acquiescence: "I leave the affair wholly with you to conclude; for thou canst advise as a father, &c" (58). The "&c" here indicates that Calvin was rehearsing a ritual well-known to both him and Wheelock (it is tempting to read it also as a hint that Calvin had in mind some other labels for Wheelock besides "father"); the entire letter is full of such switches between complex emotion or negotiation and formulaic obedience. However, the rhetorical balancing act is impossible to sustain for very long: "My Mind is full. I cant express myself," Calvin concludes, "And thus I End Subscribing myself to be your Dutiful Pupil . . ." (58).
        All of Calvin's letters, hardly ever pausing for periods, have a breathless quality that echoes what he calls his "uneasiness." He uses the word "uneasy" with great frequency,11 and it evokes not only a mood but a cultural contradiction: nothing was easy for Calvin, not even leaving the school which made him miserable. Calvin kept returning to Lebanon even after he was finished at the school, and in October 1767 he wrote to Wheelock from there:

I am uneasy, & it seems to me if Dr Wheelock does not give me leave to go, I must go without leave but I had rather go with a Dismission, not without Liberty, but I am uneasy enough to do either of them. . . . I am uneasy, Sir I shal turn out as Jacob Wolley did if I tarry much longer, so I should rather go before the Docr sees that time so I end
     Your Undutiful Pupil Hezekiah Calvin (59, my italics)

Calvin may have made such a request in writing because writing allowed him to control the balance of complaints and gratitude better than he could in person. In writing, he may have had more courage to stand up to Wheelock. However, writing was also an intrinsic part of the "symbolic violence" that constituted the relationship between Wheelock and Calvin, a bond consisting in a large degree of distance, discomfort and discipline both represented by and guaranteed by {55} writing. Bourdieu defines "symbolic violence" as "that form of domination which, transcending the opposition usually drawn between sense relations and power relations, communication and domination, is only exerted through the communication in which it is disguised" (237): that is, the concrete details of a hierarchical relation are not only representations or signs of that relation, but are constitutive of it. Thus, paradoxical as it is that Calvin's own letters announcing his dissatisfaction could be tools in maintaining the relationship which disciplines him, his writing both disguised and ensured Wheelock's authority.
        One of the things that disempowered Calvin was the absence of reply from Wheelock to his letters, even when they resonated relentlessly with the word "home" and begged for response:

There is somthing that makes me want to go home, what, I cant tell, Home is in my Mind all the time I want to go Home soon & see my Relations, & it seems to me to Tarry home a while or all the Time, & let me see if that I am able to support myself. I have tarryed upon Charity long enough . . . . (63)

In July 1767, Wheelock suggested in a letter to the missionary John Brainerd that Calvin go to work with him at his mission, saying "Hezekiah must do or I have done with him" (55); there exists, however, no communication with Calvin himself on this or any other subject. Perhaps Wheelock met with Calvin or sent messages refusing Calvin's demands for freedom. In any case, by May 1768 Calvin's rhetoric has escalated to a degree that strongly indicates that his previous letters have not drawn responses:

My mind is full of such bad thoughts, so that I cant relate all my bad thoughts, & when my thoughts are off this my Mind is Home continually laying out work for me to do. . . . But I beleive I should soon be tired of Home & yet my Mind is all the while Cleaving to go home, & somtimes it excite a motion in my Breast to to go without leting the Doctor know of my Intentions, when I am alone I am almost crazy I will catch my hair & pull & Cry, for to go Home . . . hopeing the Docter will give me Leave to go home I subscribe myself . . . . (64)

Whether or not Calvin went home, we do know that he visited the Narragansetts in Rhode Island, and here, as we move to documentary evidence beyond Calvin's own letters, we see Calvin's independence from Wheelock assert itself more fully. A letter written to Wheelock in June 1768 by Edward Deake, a white schoolmaster at Charleston, Rhode Island, reports a whole string of accusations Calvin had levelled against Wheelock, including charges of stealing from students, stealing {56} from the commissioners, mistreating pupils, and failing to provide adequate education; the list ends with the statement that "ye Indians are ready to conclude, that their Fellow-Indians will never receive any great Benefit of ye Large sums of Money contributed by good People, to promote so good a Caise" (65). The charges are so numerous, and the written list of them such a convincing document, that Deake, having written them out but taken aback by their force, adds as an afterthought "P.S. The above has not enter'd my Heart as Truth. I write in hast, Hope you'll excuse me" (65). Deake's indirect report of Calvin's clear and unabashed criticism reminds us, limited as we are by scanty documentation of Calvin's opinions, to refrain from assuming Calvin's letters to Wheelock to reflect his broader thoughts and statements: writing may have helped Calvin to express what he was afraid to say directly to Wheelock, but Calvin did feel comfortable speaking directly to his Narragansett friends and acquaintances. This communication usually went unrecorded; Deake's letter provides us with only one window into the "hidden transcripts" of resistance to power, a window into an alternate narrative to set beside Wheelock's Narratives of the Indian Charity-School which claim a "Plain and Faithful" evenhandedness.12
        The last document of Hezekiah Calvin's life is a brief report from Wheelock that Calvin had been arrested for "forging a pass for a Negro" (47). Calvin did, then, put his literacy to use in his larger network of relations, appropriating the tool Wheelock--his master and a slave master too--had given him. Calvin's aid to an escaped slave is also surely evidence of how he conceptualized his own relationship with Wheelock, a relationship Calvin did not feel he could terminate unilaterally: at least six times in writing he had sought a formal guarantee of his freedom from Wheelock, without which he felt he could only remain an "undutiful servant." Not only did Calvin seek to be freed from symbolic obligations "so many & in so high degree" (52) he had deemed them too numerous to be counted, but he also no doubt wanted to be released from a more quantifiable financial debt to Wheelock as well. Calvin sought, in effect, "free papers" to affirm the cancellation of all debts, just as a slave needed written confirmation of manumission.
        If such a comparison seems extreme, we can consider that with his slaves Wheelock was known to be affectionate; he was even "on occasion ready to give a slave his freedom if the slave proved competent and law-abiding" (McCallum, Eleazar Wheelock 68). Wheelock's Indian students, however, were only granted freedom if Wheelock deemed them selfish ingrates or incompetent drunkards and apostates, and even then, they had to run away to escape humiliation {57} and financial debts. Not one of Wheelock's Indian students left Wheelock's service by mutual agreement. For example, when Samson Occom, Wheelock's star student, broke off relations with Wheelock because of Wheelock's misappropriation of funds Occom had raised for Indian education, Wheelock laid the blame on Occom; a more common situation was Samuel Ashpo's suspension from his post for "Quarrellg, Indecent, unChristian behaviour" (46). Only students who died very young, such as Joseph Wooley or Tobias Shattock, remained in Wheelock's good graces to the end of their lives.
        For using his literacy for his own ends Calvin was punished--it is not known what his sentence was, but there are no further records of his life. "I hear that poor Hezekiah Calvin has got into Prison at Littleease . . . & that it is probable he will fare badly. I hope God will humble him & do him Good by it" (47), Wheelock wrote, with his usual habit of blaming all of his students' misfortunes on their inherent pride.13 Pride may seem to be precisely what is in short supply in Calvin's letters, which sound like the words of a man who has barely been allowed to retain the minimum level of pride needed to survive. But the pride Wheelock feared was the independence and self-esteem which did not derive from or represent itself in letters directed to him. Wheelock encouraged his students to write letters in order to reveal this thing he called "pride" so it could be attacked and refuted point by point, but since he was not the only source of his students' self-esteem and critical thought, and since the letters were not their only avenue of communication, such containment was not possible.
        Paradoxically, only through mobilizing his education in a way that suited him and got him thrown in prison did Calvin free himself from Wheelock once and for all. Once Calvin's letters cease we can read the silence they leave behind as Calvin's unequivocal statement of independence from Wheelock.


        In contrast to Hezekiah Calvin, David Fowler, a Montauk from Long Island, was rather a teacher's pet at Wheelock's school. While Calvin tended to sign his letters "your unworthy servant," sometimes adding "undutiful and ungrateful" for good measure, Fowler's standard concluding phrase was "your affectionate though unworthy pupil," which within the standard self-abasements of eighteenth-century style is quite noticeably more confident. Fowler wrote to Wheelock about a young woman he was courting, Amy, saying "I believe I may venter to write my secrets to you as I wont to do. since I have so often seen and felt your tender Cares and Affections" (102). He even turned his difficult relations with the Oneidas into a confirmation of his closeness {58} to Wheelock. Comments like "I live like a Dog here, my Folks are poor & nasty, I eat with Dogs, for, they eat & drink out of the same as I do" (91) not only evoke cultural and linguistic alienation as Calvin's complaints about the Mohawks do, but imply ties to the English way of life that Fowler aspired to.14 When Fowler says of the Oneidas that "they are lazy and inhuman pack of Creatures as I ever saw in the World" (98) he is strategically invoking rhetoric that he might have heard used against himself in order to make himself seem more like Wheelock. Fowler was also very adept at the necessary skills of flattery, as one of his outbursts of thankfulness--which shows not only abjection but the pride of being distinguished from other Indians demonstrates: "O that my Heart would melt with Gratitude both to God and Man for his wonderful goodness to me," he wrote to Wheelock, "for he has distinguishd me from many of my poor Brethren, in seting me up to be their Instructor" (106). The conflation of God and "Man" through the pronoun "his" has the effect of equalizing Fowler's gratitude to Wheelock and his gratitude to his more heavenly Father.15
        The earliest letter we have from Fowler, despite his favored status, is a confession. Several such confessions exist from several students, so Fowler's is only one example of Wheelock's most undisguised use of his students' writing (or ventriloquisms of it) to enforce discipline, and to establish his own credibility in the eyes of his superiors. Wheelock was certain that he and his students were always being watched from above, and he was as concerned about earthly benefactors as he was about Godly omniscience; in his Narratives he anxiously reports the tactics of various enemies of the school such as "letters sent abroad to be concealed from the injured party" (Continuation 1771: 41), and he links political with spiritual trouble-making by tending to consider all interference as "the work of the great enemy indeed" (Continuation 1765: 15). Thus for reputation's sake as well as religious rigor, Wheelock insisted that students' misdemeanors be fully and publicly reported and reprimanded.
        Discipline of other students was also an issue. Fowler's misstep was to leave the school without Wheelock's permission, an act of independence that could have sparked imitation in other students if it were not abjectly confessed, as the wording of the confession makes clear:

I David Fowler acknowledge, that while Mr. Wheelock was abroad on a Journey, I being in a bad State of Health and not able to pursue my Studies, and understanding that my aged Father was much in Debt and reduced to great Difficulty thereby which moved my Compassion towards him, and made me earnestly Desire to contribue to his Releif which I supposed I was able to do tho' my Indisposition was {59} such as would not allow me to prosecute my Studies. I went away without Mr Wheelocks Leave, and continued absent till yesterday. In doing which I acknowledge I acted Disorderly, and gave a bad Example to others which if they Should follow must Terminate in the Disgrace and ruin of this School, and restrain charitably Disposed Persons from further Expressions of their Charity towards it, or Endeavours to promote it.
     I did not doubt but my Reasons were Such as Mr Wheelock would have thought Sufficient if I had Submitted them to his Judgment and Determination. and I acknowledge that in my neglecting to do it as I did I have treated Mr Wheelock unworthily. I ask his Forgiveness . . . and promise by divine grace I will walk orderly, and Shew proper Respect to the Authority of the School for Time to come. And I earnestly Desire that my late conduct may not encourage Others to do the like . . . . (87)

This is a dramatization of hierarchy, an unequivocal statement that even if an Indian man thinks through a problem and comes up with the same conclusion as a white man, his response is not correct until "submitted . . . to [the] Judgment and Determination" of the white man. Wheelock and Fowler do not disagree here about Fowler's action: this is not a confession of drunkenness or blasphemy or fornication, but purely a matter of insubordination. It shows the white teacher/Indian student relationship in its pure "disenchanted" form.
        Fowler's confession is in Wheelock's hand, which means either that Wheelock wrote it or that he copied it. If Wheelock wrote the confession, he went to great lengths to show both the validity and humanity of Fowler's actions as well as their inadmissibility: the combination is strikingly sadistic, but it clarifies for us the fact that insubordination was only considered dangerous if it occurred publicly. Because other students might have known of Fowler's initiative in leaving the school, he had to make a public apology--to pay his "symbolic taxes" through presentation of a "simulacrum of sincere obedience" (58), as Scott puts it. If Fowler wrote the confession, we might see the juxtaposition of justification of private motivations versus disavowal of public actions as recalcitrance: he was going along with the required ritual of subordination, but not without justifying his actions first. In either case, the writing down of Fowler's actions was itself a punishment, reminding the confessor of the inferiority of his judgement and causing him to relive the embarrassment of misconduct reproved.16 Most of the letters of Fowler and his classmates contain an element of confession or apology, and even when full of good news they shared the performance element of the confession. Letters detailing {60} conscientious work and Christian spirit were the positive counterpart of the confessions, because when Wheelock sent them or reports of them to Britain, the credit went to him or to God, not to the students' own hard work and devotion; thus these letters also insisted on the students' inferior and dependent status.
        The first serious break between Fowler and Wheelock took place when Fowler bought wedding clothes for a price Wheelock thought unreasonable. In August 1766, Fowler wrote from Lebanon--perhaps he wrote this statement down in order to give it more weight or to give himself courage to be clear--revising his assessment of their relationship:

I think it very hard that I must be blam'd so much as I have been since my Return from home, and all for taking up those things at Mr Breeds, when I have Orders from Mr Wheelock to get them, for which I am now accounted a Devil or Proude as the Devil. . . . You know, Sir, I have always been governd and advis'd by you with all ease imaginable.
     This brings into my mind what Treatment I met since I came here. yea it is shameful, when I have been so faithful to you as if I was your Negro, yea I have almost kill'd myself in Labouring. . . . I am greiv'd that I have troubled you so much as I have. I am sorry those things were not denied me at first and then it would been allwell and easy before now.--But asure you, Sir, you shall receive Payment from me yearly till every Fathing be paid, it shall not be said all that Money and Pains which was spent for David Fowler on Indian was for nought. I can get Payment as well as white Man. O Dear me! I cant say no more, I am
      your unworthy Servant David Fowler. (103)

Fowler had thought himself to be a son, as is evident in his earlier letters ("I . . . ask a favour as a Child from kind Father or Benefactor" [102], he had written just three months earlier), but he found out rather abruptly as he was cheerily planning for his wedding that this was not at all the case.
        Of course Fowler knew that he was not in any irrevocable sense a son of Wheelock's; what he really discovered was that Wheelock was unwilling to maintain the mutually-agreed-upon fiction of the father-son relationship. Thus it was Wheelock, not Fowler, who broke the "enchantment" of the relationship, to use Bourdieu's term, by denying trust and breaking promises to Fowler. But it was Fowler who then dared to "recognize" his relationship to Wheelock for what it was. Bourdieu writes that "if the system [of exchange of gifts and debts] is to work, the agents must not be entirely unaware of the truth of their {61} exchanges . . . while at the same time they must refuse to know and above all to recognize it" (6). Fowler broke this compact in his letter when, like Hezekiah Calvin, he likened himself to a slave, and then proceeded to bring the financial dimensions of the relationship into the open. Furthermore, by calling himself "David Fowler on Indian," and insisting he could "get Payment as well as white man," Fowler revealed his hitherto unspeakable knowledge of Wheelock's racist expectations that Indians could not and would not pay back debts.
        For his part, Wheelock could not allow Fowler to reduce their relationship to financial terms. As James Scott explains, "any particular refusal to comply is not merely a tiny breach in a symbolic wall; it necessarily calls into question all the other acts that this form of subordination entails" (205). Not only did Wheelock need to make sure that his patrons always "misrecognized" his enterprise, which he preferred to present exclusively in terms of Christian love, but Wheelock too was caught up in the symbolic enchantment and too accustomed to thinking in terms of kinship and emotion to give that discourse up easily. Thus his reply to Fowler, one of the few replies to his Indian students in McCallum's collection, masterfully attempts to restore the veneer to their relationship, and it vividly demonstrates what David Murray describes as "the way decorum, and all the arsenal of a Christian gentleman, can be used as a way of keeping social inferiors off balance and aware of their inferiority" (55). "Now David consr a little," Wheelock writes with a condescending weariness, "Is this Just comely and reasonable Treatment of me" (104). He goes on to reiterate, oozing sympathy and patience, his version of events, the fact that both of them have to be careful because "ye Eyes of all Europe & America wre Upon yo and me too," and his faith that if Fowler goes his own way he will not "feal very Easie" until he returns to the fold.
        Although he continued to work for Wheelock for a short time after this dispute, Fowler was no more "Easie" within the relationship than Wheelock thought he would be without it. Like Calvin and others of Wheelock's Indian students, Fowler received replies to his letters much less frequently than he expected. As schoolteacher to the Oneidas, while working and sharing a house with Samuel Kirkland--a non-Indian missionary who had also been a student of Wheelock's--Fowler was frustrated that Kirkland got more attention from Wheelock, and he complained to Wheelock about it:

I take it very hard that I have not receiv'd one Line when others have received Folio's after Folio's.--But since I am forsaken--I now beg the Favour of you to bury my Name entirely and never mention it no more to any one abroad but {62} bury into oblivion though you may hear of my good Behaviour my Managments and my Prospects and what soever you may hear from me that is worthy to be reported let it never go out off your Doors,--But I shall always remember my obligations to you till the Day my of Death--My Scholars learn very fast some of them have got to the twenty fourth Chapter of Matthew (108)

We know that Wheelock required his students to report back to him from their posts; here we learn from Fowler that the students also required Wheelock to write to them.17 Fowler clearly regards Wheelock's silence as a breach of obligation ("But I shall always remember my obligations to you till the Day of my Death," he writes).
        Fowler knew that Wheelock needed model students to people the narratives he sent overseas to solicit funding; one of Fowler's letters written the previous spring apparently replies to Wheelock's request for a letter to be used for fundraising, saying "I am very sorry I cain't write you a Letter, which can be seen abroad. because Mr Kirtland is so much hurrid to get down: but he can give you a proper Idea of my School and my own Affairs" (102). By refusing Wheelock the right to write about him because he would not write to him, Fowler exposed the falsity of any ideal of dialogue that we might associate with letter-writing. As we saw in Calvin's case, when Wheelock heard from a student, his reaction was often not to write back to that student, but to write to Britain or to non-Indian colleagues about that student. Thus while Fowler needed letters from Wheelock for emotional and material reasons, Wheelock too gained not only gratitude and information from them but used them to raise his status as well as money--"symbolic capital" as well as "economic capital" in Bourdieu's terms--on the other side of the Atlantic. Hezekiah Calvin's repeated pleas for a written dismissal from Wheelock demonstrated that students needed to establish dialogue with Wheelock before they could reestablish dialogue with their families; likewise, the students' letters, particularly polite and correct letters such as David Fowler's, gave Wheelock grounds on which to establish dialogue with England and Scotland. Fowler understood the dynamics of these interconnected dialogues. The pièce de resistance in the letter in which he refuses Wheelock the privilege of displaying his successes is his offhand comment that "My Scholars learn very fast some of them have got to the twenty fourth Chapter of Matthew," a remark that flaunts with devastating bravado Wheelock's dependence on such information.
        Fowler soon felt the need to apologize for this brazen, and quite unenforceable, disciplining of Wheelock. The letter which follows short on the heels of the challenge is an intense and abject apology. It does,{63} however, register some sort of excuse through a complaint about Kirkland's authoritarianism--"As I am an Instructor I am able to act for myself, without having a master over me"and an odd solution to the problem of his receiving no letters from Wheelock: Fowler asks Wheelock to ask Kirkland not to "mention one Syllable" about any letter he receives from Wheelock (109).
        Forsaking Wheelock's "design" for Christianizing the Iroquois some time in 1767, Fowler returned to Long Island to teach. In his last letter to Wheelock, written from Long Island, Fowler claims that Wheelock has not dealt with him justly in granting to Samuel Kirkland certain tools that were rightly Fowler's. He recalls that Wheelock had given the tools to him, quotes Wheelock's saying that "to give Gifts is like casting them into the Sea" (113) and then, having set up his argument, asks Wheelock how he could grant to Kirkland things he had previously given to another. Furthermore, Fowler says, he considers these things to be not gifts, but payment for "Hunger, Cold, Heat, and Weariness." He refuses to consider himself indebted to Wheelock, and thus attacks a source of Wheelock's power over him. Fowler continues:

Pray Sir, consider a little what I have done for Mr Kirtland. I helpd to build his House and cleared two Fields, all this work I give him freely, as you would give a meal of Victuals to a perishing man. (113)

A diligent schoolboy, Fowler has learned to imitate his schoolmaster, but now he has turned that mimicry to his own ends, imitating the condescending phrasing he had heard from Wheelock: "Now David consider a little" (104), he was told when he compared himself to Wheelock's slave and threatened to leave Wheelock, and "Pray Sir, consider a little," he writes back.
        As Homi Bhabha points out, mimicry encouraged by the colonizer has its price. When the colonizer indulges a "desire for a reformed, recognizable Other, as a subject of a difference that is almost the same, but not quite" (126), he allows for an "area between mimicry and mockery, where the reforming, civilizing mission is threatened by the displacing gaze of its disciplinary double" (127). Not only does Fowler appropriate Wheelock's rhetoric: he also mobilizes the dynamics of debts and gifts--usually controlled by Wheelock--to put himself in the superior position with respect to Kirkland. The "perishing man" is now reduced to the pitiful place usually occupied by the "poor Indian," while the Indian is now in the place of charitable benefactor. Wheelock might have considered Fowler's gifts of labor to Kirkland to be not gifts but payment of always already incurred debts--a lowly Indian could not give gifts because he was infinitely indebted--and thus {64} Fowler's equation of his own gift of labour with Wheelock's gift of tools is an aggressive refusal of Wheelock's understanding of the symbolic economy between master and student. Fowler demands the right to "give . . . freely" and to assume the corresponding status and allegiance in symbolic exchange. "Now I call for my own propety" (113), he writes.
        At this point in the letter, Fowler abruptly switches style: the tone of the last two paragraphs is strikingly blunt and rushed compared to the measured cadences of the first two. "Dont fail of geting Money and send it down to Sister Occom. if you dont allow me but three Pound I shall be glad of it because I shall be troubled if I dont get the Money," he writes; "I write in utmost hast for my company are waiting." We can read this sudden switch two ways: either it was a conscious strategy of Fowler's to lay his requests out with absolute clarity and urgency after drawing Wheelock in with rhetorical mimicry and elegant argument, or else the switch was indeed the product of a moment of haste and desperation. If the latter is the case, the letter illuminates the material differential between Wheelock and Fowler: it contrasts the rhetoric of which Fowler was capable with the language afforded by his conditions as a poor and hungry man who had to get the letter out by the first opportunity because he desperately needed the money.
        However, the shift in style could also represent a shift in strategy on Fowler's part. By switching to a blunt and apparently careless style, Fowler "ruined" his letter so that Wheelock could not display it to benefactors as a fine example of his student's linguistic facility. Fowler flies in the face of "appropriate" rhetorical form and formal etiquette that, according to Bourdieu, are the crux of the mutual misrecognition that constitutes hierarchical relationships:

What distinguishes the gift from mere `fair exchange' is the labour devoted to form: the presentation, the manner of giving, must be such, that the outward forms of the act present a practical denial of the content of the act, symbolically transmuting an interested exchange or a simple power relation into a relationship set up in due form for form's sake, i.e. inspired by pure respect for the customs and conventions recognized by the group. (194)

In the second half of his last letter to Wheelock, David Fowler refuses to follow the form of prior relations with Wheelock: he departs from decorum, and he abandons the obsequiousness usually attendant on requests for money. He has thus reduced Wheelock's generosity to self-interest, and reduced a father-son relationship to an undisguised power relationship.18



        The letters of both David Fowler and Hezekiah Calvin demonstrate an elaborate combination of deference and defiance which is determined by the specific and immediate conditions of their writing as well as the overall lines of their relationship with Wheelock. Upon first reading, Calvin's letters in particular may seem to present a picture of a pitiful Indian man grovelling at the feet of a white man. However, even moments of apparently transparent acquiescence in the letters may not be what they claim to be, since members of subordinate groups often learn "in situations short of those rare all-or-nothing struggles, to clothe their resistance and defiance in ritualisms of subordination that serve both to diguise their purpose and to provide them with a real route of retreat that may soften the consequences of a possible failure" (Scott 96).
        This is not to say that all obsequiousness in the letters is simply a disguise for "real" feelings hidden beneath the surface; the different levels of discourse all infuse and complicate each other so that above all the letters are characterized by ambivalence and ambidexterity between discourses. Did we not know that both Calvin and Fowler ultimately broke away from Wheelock's authority, we might not be able to read resistance in so much of their writing. Neither am I arguing that there was no option other than subtle resistance for Indians in New England in the 1760s; on the contrary, of course, violence, retreat, and cautious diplomacy were all options exercised by the majority of Indians at that time. The number of Indians "adopted" by Wheelock and his missionary colleagues was exceedingly small. Rather, I would argue that it was the availability of those other paths of action more dangerous to the colonizers which infused the textual resistance of Calvin and Fowler with real possibility, to Wheelock's uneasiness and to their own advantage. They were thus in a position to negotiate within and without Wheelock's strictures to retain or regain some degree of autonomy from his authority.19
        In closing, I would like to sketch out a more recent context for the reading of these letters--that is, the Dartmouth College Manuscript Series in 1932--which sets my own reading off in relief, and leads to comparison between these letters and later texts produced by American Indians in collaborative situations with white Americans. James McCallum edited the Letters of Eleazar Wheelock's Indians--the possessive here speaks volumes about McCallum's approach--as part of a series of books devoted to illuminating Dartmouth's early history. The first few sentences of his introduction show with breathtaking clarity the kind of response he expected the letters to evoke:


In this volume the Indian scholars who attended Moor's Charity School during the lifetime of Eleazar Wheelock have been allowed to speak for themselves. At times the editor has been obliged to prompt them by means of footnotes, but his ambition has been to gather these contemporaries of Pontiac around a council fire (which to them would have been quite novel), that they might by themselves confess their sins, carry on their courtships, and express their religious convictions. Many of the letters are quaint; some are humorous; a few are of importance historically--all are misspelled. The reader who is not accustomed to such material will be amused at first as though he were watching some captive animal performing his tricks . . . . (11)

This passage epitomizes white attitudes towards Indian writing over the whole span of time between the writing of the letters--which are among the earliest preserved texts actually written down by Indians themselves--and the era of their republication, another period of intense interest in Indian writing. The condescending magnanimity of McCallum's first statement that "Eleazar Wheelock's Indians" have "been allowed to speak for themselves" comes up again and again in white authors' or editors' or amanuenses' commentary on Indian texts.
        In fact, there was very little charity involved in letting Hezekiah Calvin, David Fowler, and their classmates speak for themselves through their letters: Arnold Krupat, David Murray and other scholars of Native American writing have noted that as the Indians began to "vanish," by massacre, disease, displacement, or ideological erasure, there was a great demand for their re-appearance on paper, and a special premium on having them directly address a white audience. As Krupat explains it, white guilt demanded statements of forgiveness and justification from representative Indians: "the production of an Indian's own statement of his inevitable disappearance required that the Indian be represented as speaking in his own voice" (35).
        Although Krupat is speaking of nineteenth century Indian autobiographies, I would argue that the need on the part of white Americans to hear American Indians themselves say that their demise was inevitable is also manifested in autobiographies as late as the 1930s, such as John Neihardt's rendition of Black Elk's autobiography;20 these texts have played a supporting role within the dominant ideology even while representing resistance to and subversion of that ideology. In a move ideologically analogous to Neihardt's transformation of Black Elk's narrative into an elegy for a lost race, McCallum attempts to contain any critical or disruptive content in the letters of Wheelock's students {67} by reducing the letters to a token of his own generosity. As Wheelock sought to subject his Indian students through the gift of Christianity and the corresponding debt they would incur to him, McCallum offers permission to speak and invokes the debt of gratitude in order to permit him (or his ideal readers) to discount as ungrateful any defiance the letters may bear.
        McCallum's offer of freedom of speech to the Indian letter-writers, carefully circumscribed as it is, is immediately utterly undermined by his perversely cute notion of his being "obliged to prompt them" from some hundred and fifty years' distance, and by his admittedly inappropriate metaphor of having them sit around a council fire and chat with each other. In trying to locate the source of McCallum's burdensome obligation, we can rule out David Fowler, certainly, as well as other students who asked that their writing not be made public. For example, Joseph Johnson explicitly requested confidentiality: "please sir to overlook my hast, and the many Blunders which I suppose are in this paper. I have no time to write it over or correct it. dont Expose it. so I remain your Humble Servant" (133). McCallum's sense of obligation comes, rather, from his own desire to enhance the importance of his editorial role, and from the Dartmouth College Manuscript Series' inclination to uphold a rosy view of Dartmouth's history in Indian education.21 Furthermore, we might say that McCallum is ideologically obliged to confirm that, as he puts it, "the Indian . . . is a dullard, often a drunkard, an unwilling pupil . . . a consumptive, simple, and simple-minded" (11), even when educated and Christianized. Thus, like Wheelock, McCallum implies that his primary obligation is to the Indians, when in fact he is invoking this obligation in order to fulfill other obligations to various networks of institutional, racial, and personal politics.
        In later texts produced by whites and Indians in collaboration, similar distortion of the agency and obligations involved in the production of the work often takes place. A white person in charge of publication or dissemination can make an Indian text into something very much like a confession by remaining silent about his or her involvement in the material, when in fact the Indian who spoke or wrote it meant it to be an argument, a meditation, part of a dialogue, or a protest. From the letters between Wheelock and his students-- which I take as a whole to be a collaborative text albeit a dysfunctional one--through autobiographies of Black Hawk, Black Elk, Sam Blowsnake, Don Talayesva,22 and so on, white mediators efface their own presence, while exercising considerable influence over the material by asking questions, editing, writing responses, or inventing. Like Wheelock, who used his students' writing to raise his own status in the {68} eyes of benefactors and peers, the journalists, poets, and anthropologists who have "collected" so many Indian autobiographies are being disingenuous if they claim that their only obligation is to their Indian collaborator.
        Many contemporary cross-cultural collaborative projects are much more self-conscious about the interplay of differing or conflicting obligations and intentions, and much work is currently attempting to restore the context of production to early Indian writing produced with white mediation or collaboration. David Murray writes that

only in this way, paradoxically, does the subject have a chance of not becoming totally object, since what we then become aware of is the interplay of two or more voices. If the white voice which is asking the questions and eliciting and guiding the story by means of them is suppressed in the final text, the effect is not, as often claimed, to allow the speaking subject to appear in his own right, but to give a false, because incomplete, account of the production of the text. (67)
        The letters of Hezekiah Calvin and David Fowler to Eleazar Wheelock will not let us forget the dysfunctional dialogue of which they are a part, and thus they are a valuable companion-piece for later collaborative texts which are less obviously askew. Even when Wheelock absents himself from dialogue with the students, we are constantly aware, through their demands or mimicry or argument, of his presence. The letters simultaneously demonstrate constraints on the conditions of production and a determination to resist those constraints; they force us to come up with complex readings by continually frustrating both celebratory readings of resistance and bleaker readings of total subjection to the ideology of the colonizer.23


        1Wheelock educated girls as well as boys at his school, but he trained the girls to be not schoolteachers or missionaries themselves but helpmates to the male graduates. For a discussion of these female students, see Szasz, Chapter 9, "Indian Women Between Two Worlds: Moor's School and Coeducation in the 1760s." Few letters from female students exist; however, the letters and confessions of Sarah Simon and Mary Secutor do merit more attention. Wheelock also educated non-Indian boys; I do not discuss their writings in this paper.

        2McCallum lists eighty-nine names of Indians who attended the charity-school during Wheelock's lifetime, but notes that Macclure, Wheelock's first biographer and a student at the school, puts the number at one hundred and fifty (298). Of the total, many students left the school for either personal,{69} medical, or political reasons after only a short stay, and many died extremely young.

        3Most students are represented only by one or two letters or confessions; Joseph Johnson and Samson Occom are the only profuse letter-writers besides Hezekiah Calvin and David Fowler. Johnson's letters span over seven years and are especially rich in their manipulation of the idea of the "poor Indian" and in their depiction of Johnson's development from wayward student to important Indian leader. I cannot do his writings justice here. Samson Occom was Wheelock's first and best-documented Indian student; he studied with Wheelock before the establishment of the charity-school, however, and discussion of his extensive writings and complex dealings with Wheelock is not within the purview of this paper. Blodgett's biography provides an outline of Occom's life and excerpts from letters and sermons, and Occom's letters from England are included in Richardson.

        4All quotations from the letters of Wheelock and his Indian students are from McCallum; I will indicate only page numbers. I have not changed spelling or punctuation that may seem erratic to twentieth-century readers.

        5The mother, Sarah Simon (the elder), must have heard Hezekiah Calvin's claims that her daughter and another female student had "been kept as close to work, as if they were your Slaves. . . . Jeams Simon is to be Bound to a Farmer" (65), and she probably also heard her other son's complaint that "if we poor Indians Shall work as much as to pay for our learning, we Can go Some other pace as good as here from learning . . ." (21). Wheelock's authority was less complete when family networks remained close; Sarah Simon evidently kept close watch on Wheelock's treatment of her children and they reported back to her as well as to Wheelock.

        6Contrary to some settler mythology, Indians treated captive children well, formally adopting them in the place of those who died from disease or warfare. Indians even adopted missionaries: Samuel Kirkland, a white student of Wheelock's, remembered Sir William Johnson telling him when he arrived to establish a mission among the Senecas in 1764 that "if I was cordially received by the Seneka's, I should in a week or two be adopted in some one of the principal families and that I must pay particular attention to my new relations. It would give me the liberty of applying to them for any thing I wanted" (Journals 4). Kirkland had to obey his adoptive Indian father's counsel in return for protection from hostile factions in the community. Thus the Indian parents' comparison of residential education and captivity did not necessarily carry the same violent valence for them as it would have for Wheelock. On the other hand, Indians were indeed sometimes captured-- literally rather than metaphorically--to be educated: students at the College of William and Mary in the eighteenth century were forcibly held in order to ensure the peaceful behavior of their kin (Axtell 191). Much later in the history of Indian education, the first Indian students to be admitted to Hampton School in the late nineteenth century were prisoners of war.

        7Bourdieu is speaking here of pre-capitalist formations, such as rural Algeria; he is also speaking of authority structures within one society whereas {70} I am discussing the interaction between two societies. I would argue, however, that the early colonial situation in America can be lluminated by his paradigm since the authority of white settlers over Indians was clearly desired but not at all secure, and had to be continually reinforced by a combined strategy of economic violence (land grabs), physical violence, and symbolic violence (encouragement of dependency relationships through religious conversion).

        8Wheelock had the luxury to make this choice of symbolic violence because he was supported by other types of violence. The colony as a whole preferred physical and economic violence as a strategy to subdue the Indians, and we saw that Wheelock justified his project in Indian education in terms of community security: he was certainly aware of the power of subtle juggling of strategies described by Bourdieu.

        9In his article about the diaries of the Virginia planter Colonel Landon Carter (written between 1752 and 1778), Rhys Isaac analyses the ways in which slaves took advantage of Carter's inconsistent deployment of two models of authority--the patriarchy of governance versus a more sentimental paternalism--to gain concessions from their master. Isaac argues that "the plantation organization was a framework . . . within which a struggle for advantage was relentlessly pursued" (287) and thus finds even in slavery a space for power for the slave; his study serves as a useful companion-piece for my analysis of the (perhaps surprisingly) similar dynamics between Wheelock and his students.

        10Wheelock taught his students Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and English, but Calvin learned soon enough that the neglect of his native language and languages that he would need among the Iroquois left him unable to communicate with people at home and in his work. Calvin's thoughts of "home," expressed so passionately in his letters, must have been intensified by this sense of loss.

        11The word "uneasy" comes up in other students' writing as well. Sarah Simon (the younger), for example, writes "my being So unwell it make me unesa" (228), and her letter dramatizes this uneasiness in its many "buts" and convoluted syntax as she tries to get Wheelock to permit her to leave the school.

        12James Scott might make an even larger claim for Calvin's criticism of Wheelock: "as long as the elite treat such assaults on their dignity as tantamount to open rebellion," he writes, "symbolic defiance and rebellion do amount to the same thing" (196). I would not equate these acts, but considering that Edward Deake clearly did consider Calvin's intercourse with the Narragansetts to be threatening, the importance of spheres of communication among the Indians which allowed Calvin to think beyond the strictures of his relationship with Wheelock is clear.

        13 Axtell points out that "When Jacob Wooley, a twenty-year-old Delaware, got drunk, threw a clench-fisted tantrum, cursed God, and tried to throw his bed out the window, Wheelock judged him not culturally disoriented or personally frustrated but simply guilty of `Pride of Heart'" (211).
        Confessions of misdemeanors of all sorts, often written by Wheelock and signed by the student in question, always include abject apologies for "Pride"; {71} Wheelock never missed a chance to warn his star student Samson Occom of "that Indian distemper, Pride," even when there was no particular evidence of such a sin to provoke his concern (Blodgett 95). On the other hand, Wheelock allowed himself considerably more pride than he allowed his students; in his narratives he alternates between giving all the credit for the successes of the school to God, and taking some of it himself, and he did not repudiate the fulsome praises in his students' letters.

        14Fowler repeats the story about eating with dogs in three different letters (pages 91, 94, 99), and Murray notes (56-57) that he sounds not unlike an ethnographer undergoing rites of passage into an alien culture.

        15Wheelock's students not infrequently compare, conflate or simply juxtapose God with Wheelock in their letters, but Wheelock's dependence on the favor of British benefactors and colleagues makes this association seem ironically inappropriate. Whereas God, according to the Confession of the Faith, "is alone and unto himself all sufficient, nor standing in need of any creatures that he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory, in, by, unto, and upon them" (31), Wheelock did indeed stand in need of the "creatures" he had made. Not only reputation was at stake; Samson Occom, Wheelock's first Indian student, raised the money on which Dartmouth College was built, and Axtell claims (204) that Wheelock was initially prompted to open the Charity-School by a need to supplement his ministerial salary.

        16The confessions certainly merit more attention. For example, if Jacob Wooley's confession (254, see also note 13) was written by Wheelock--it surely was, since Wooley was not so literate under other circumstances--it is an obsessively vivid reenactment of Wooley's violent display of temper. Wheelock forced Wooley to describe his own actions from the point of view of a judge: the disgust Wooley was forced to display towards himself is excruciating when compared with the disgust and anger that he must have already felt in order to behave so violently in the first place. Further study of these confessions might discover whether they can be considered, in Scott's terms, mere "rituals of subordination," or whether they had more profound effects on the subjectivities of the students.

        17Joseph Johnson wrote to Wheelock acknowledging that ". . . it is not only your Order, but my Indispensable Duty to write to you at every opportunity . . ." (127). Sometimes, however, Johnson emphasized his duty in order to allude to Wheelock's neglect of his reciprocal duty, as did Jacob Wooley in his correspondence with Samuel Kirkland (Journals 17). If Wheelock neglected to respond to his students' letters, he was burdened by other writing duties: his Narratives were written to fulfill his obligations to the Commissioners and their funding sources. Samuel Kirkland, the apparent recipient of "Folio's after Folio's" from Wheelock, kept a journal only because he was required to by his employers. He recalled in his later years that "reviewing, correcting, and transcribing these documents . . . is certainly an irksome & disagreeable task, as it affords very little intellectual improvement of the understanding or pleasure to the heart. . . . Yet I am conscious it is a part of my duty" (Journals 43). All in all, then, the writing of the white missionaries, which I do not treat {72} in this paper, was constrained by obligation like the writing of their students and can be read with similar dynamics in mind.

        18Although I have not located later letters from Fowler to Wheelock, Fowler continued his selective appropriation of tools and strategies taught him by Wheelock. Fowler became a leading citizen of Brothertown, a Christian Indian settlement among the Oneida; the Brothertown Indians explained to Samuel Kirkland that they intended to "move up and collect the remnant of their scattered Tribes to one place and become a people" (Journals 162), escaping the land-grabbing and liquor-trading settlers in the East. Although the Brothertown project was never easy or widely popular, it did demonstrate a conscious strategy to resist assimilation or eradication; from their years with Wheelock, Indians such as Fowler were well practiced at the day-to-day maintenance of this type of strategy.

        19Wheelock's Indian students have a few pages of notice in Louise Erdrich and Michael Dorris's novel, The Crown of Columbus, when Vivian, a professor at Dartmouth College, comes across their letters and declares the students "totally brainwashed" (137). As should be evident, I do not concur with this reading. However, more serious studies of Indian education have presented similar portraits of educated Indians. In his excellent survey of the colonizing function of American Indian Education from the early 1600s to the 1980s, Jorge Noriega writes that "Indian students targeted for training in the early stages of U.S. colonialist education were used essentially as a virus, a medium through which to hurry along a calculated process of sociocultural decay `from within'" (379). Although this description of colonialist strategy is painfully apt when applied to Indian education from the nineteenth century and on, the students educated by Wheelock were perhaps not very successful as "viruses"; most of them did not actively participate in the colonizing and Christianizing project for long. Furthermore, those who did become prominent diplomats or leaders--Tobias Shattock, Joseph Johnson, Joseph Brant, and Samson Occom, for example--may have been imbued with colonizer ideology to some extent, but they came to Wheelock as agents seeking tools (literacy, and familiarity with the culture, goals, and methods of the colonizer) to use to their own ends; I would like to avoid the lack of agency the metaphor "virus" may suggest.

        20Michael Staub puts Black Elk's autobiography and other 1930s Native American texts in the context of the politically progressive documentary trend of this period, and claims that editors of these collaboratively-produced texts are self-conscious about their project. It is a welcome argument among many articles representing these texts as wholly transparent tools of dominant ideology, but it is ultimately not convincing, particularly with respect to Black Elk, especially when we take into account the way Black Elk's autobiography was and has been read by large popular audiences--that is, as a message from a dying culture.

        21In his Foreword to the Letters, Dartmouth College Manuscript Series General Editor Leon B. Richardson claims that "The history of Dartmouth College, during its period of inception and during the earlier years of its existence, differs markedly from that of its contemporary institutions" since Dartmouth was "founded primarily to promote the christianizing of the {73} Indians." This is a myth, since it was in fact the founding of Dartmouth that marked the waning of Wheelock's interest in educating Indians. Despite the college's motto, "Vox Clamantis in Deserto," and the Indian man bearing a book on its crest, the history of Dartmouth's commitment to Native American education is clearly equivocal: money raised by Samson Occom for the education of Indians was absorbed by the Dartmouth budget, but Dartmouth graduated only three Indians in the eighteenth century and eight in the nineteenth (Axtell 215).

        22Black Hawk originally dictated his autobiography to Antoine Le Clair, who translated it and passed it on to John B. Patterson for editing and rewriting. Black Elk Speaks was substantially changed by its editor, John G. Neihardt, as has been shown by Raymond DeMallie, Sally McCluskey, G. Thomas Couser, and others. Paul Radin published Crashing Thunder: The Autobiography of an American Indian as an autobiography of Sam Blowsnake, but it is in fact a compilation of writings and oral testimony given by both Sam and his brother Jasper (Krupat 95-106). Like Blowsnake, Don Talayesva wrote down many of his reminiscences (some eight thousand pages of diary, in fact); what is presented to the reader of Sun Chief is a highly edited selection of this writing (Brumble 106). Talayesva is particularly interesting in comparison with Fowler and Calvin because of the way his writing was solicited and directed by the anthropologist Leo Simmons. See Krupat and Brumble for discussion of further examples of collaborations misrepresented by white editors.

        23Thanks to Oliver Buckton, Mary Chapman, Annette Jaimes, Shalini Puri, Katheryn Rios, and Charlotte Sussman, who provided incisive and wide-ranging comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


Axtell, James. The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America. New York: Oxford U P, 1985.

Bhabha, Homi. "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse." October 28, 1984.

Blodgett, Harold. Samson Occom. Hanover: Dartmouth College Publications, 1935.

Bourdieu, Pierre. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Trans. Richard Nice. Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 1977.

Brumble, H. David III. American Indian Autobiography. Berkeley: U of California P, 1988.

Church of Scotland. The Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, with the Scripture-Proofs at Large . . . of Public Authority in the Church of Scotland. Edinburgh: 1756.

Erdrich, Louise, and Michael Dorris. The Crown of Columbus. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

Isaac, Rhys. "Communication and Control: Authority, Metaphors and Power Contests on Colonel Landon Carter's Virginia Plantation, {74} 1752-1778." Sean Wilentz, ed. Rites of Power: Symbolism, Ritual, and Politics Since the Middle Ages. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 1985.

Jackson, Donald, ed. Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak: Black Hawk, An Autobiography. 1833. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1955.

Krupat, Arnold. For Those Who Come After: A Study of Native American Autobiography. Berkeley: U of California P, 1985.

McCallum, James Dow, ed. The Letters of Eleazar Wheelock's Indians. Hanover: Dartmouth College Publications, 1932.

------. Eleazar Wheelock, Founder of Dartmouth College. Hanover: Dartmouth College Publications, 1939.

Murray, David. Forked Tongues: Speech, Writing, and Representation in North American Indian Texts. Bloomington: Indiana U P, 1991.

Neihardt, John G., ed. Black Elk Speaks. 1932. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1979.

Noriega, Jorge. "American Indian Education in the United States: Indoctrination for Subordination to Colonialism." M. Annette Jaimes, ed. The State of Native America. Boston: South End Press, 1992.

Pilkington, Walter, ed. The Journals of Samuel Kirkland. Clinton, New York: Hamilton College, 1980.

Radin, Paul. Crashing Thunder. 1926. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1983.

Richardson, L.B. An Indian Preacher in England. Hanover: Dartmouth College Publications, 1933.

Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven: Yale U P, 1990.

Simmons, Leo, ed. Sun Chief: The Autobiography of a Hopi Indian. 1942. New Haven: Yale U P, 1974.

Staub, Michael. "(Re)Collecting the Past: Writing Native American Speech." American Quarterly 43.3 (1991): 425-56.

Szasz, Margaret Connell. Indian Education in the American Colonies, 1607-1783. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1988.

Wheelock, Eleazar. A plain and faithful Narrative of the Original Design, Rise, Progress and present State of the Indian Charity-School at Lebanon, in Connecticut. Boston: Richard and Samuel Draper, 1763.

------. A Continuation of the Narrative. . . . From the Year 1768 to the Incorporation of it with Dartmouth-College, and Removal and Settlement of it in Hanover, in the Province of New Hampshire. 1771.

------. A Continuation of the Narrative. . . . With a Dedication to the Honorable Trust in London . . . . Hartford: Ebenezer Watson, 1775.



A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff

I. Background
        Occom (1723-92) was raised as a traditional Mohegan, the northernmost branch of the Pequots and fiercest of the New England tribes. For a brief period in the mid-seventeenth century, the Mohegans, then numbering 2,000, greatly expanded their territory. By the end of the seventeenth century, this territory had been greatly decreased by land cessions. Because the settlers regarded the nomadic Mohegans as idle thieves, they issued orders to remove the Indians from the towns. By the end of the seventeenth century, Mohegans were no longer independent. The first successful attempt to gather Mohegans into villages was made in 1717. Eight years later, the tribe numbered only 351 and was split into two opposing camps, located one-half mile apart on the west side of the Mohegan river between New London and Norwich, Connecticut.
        Born in a wigwam, Occom was the son of Joshua Tomocham and Sarah, who was reputed to be descended from Uncas, the famous Mohegan chief. Joshua's father, "Tomockham alias Ashneon," had settled near Uncas Hill (later Mohegan) late in the seventeenth century (Love 21-22). In his autobiographical sketch dated 17 September 1768, Occom describes the life his parents and their fellow Mohegans led during his youth: "I was born a Heathen and Brought up in Heathenism, till I was between 16 & 17 years of age, at a place called Mohegan, in New London, Connecticut, in New England. My Parents Liv'd a wandering Life, as did all the Indians at Mohegan; they Chiefly Depended upon Hunting, Fishing, & Fowling for their Living and had no Connections with the English, excepting to Traffic with them, in their Small Trifles; and they Strictly maintained and followed their Heathenish Ways, Customs, & Religion, though there was some Preaching among them . . ."1
        The preaching of evangelical missionaries like George Whitefield aroused strong religious zeal in sixteen-year-old Occom. After his conversion a year later, Occom longed to learn to read in order to study the scriptures. In 1743, he went to Lebanon, Connecticut, to study with the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, one of the greatest of the New England evangelical preachers: "So I went up, thinking I should be back again in a few Days: when I got up there, he received me With kindness and Compassion and instead of Staying a Fortnight or 3 weeks, I Spent 4 years with him."2 Occom left when ill health and eye {76} strain prevented him from studying longer.
        Occom then accepted the invitation of the Montauk Indians of Long Island to become their schoolmaster. In 1751, over Wheelock's objections, he married Mary Fowler, a Montauk. After his marriage, Occom was perpetually in desperate financial straits because salary was always too small to support his rapidly increasing family, which eventually numbered ten children. He supplemented his income by working as a farmer, fisherman, cooper, and bookbinder. Ordained in 1759, Occom spent the next year as an itinerant minister in lower New England.3 Occom became a missionary to the Oneida Indians in 1761. Determined to work among his own people, Occom moved his family in 1764 to Mohegan, after his application to serve as missionary to the Niantics and other neighboring tribes was approved. That year he also assisted Whitefield in raising money for Wheelock's Indian Charity School in Lebanon, Connecticut.
        Because of his success as a preacher and fund-raiser, Occom was sent to Great Britain to raise money for the school. Accompanied by the Reverend Nathanial Whitaker of Norwich, he set sail in December 1765. In Great Britain, he found a culture far different from the white or Indian cultures of his native land. Both awed and appalled, Occom called London "such Confusion as I never Dreamt of--there was Some at Churches, singing & Preaching, in the Streets some Cursing Swaring & Damning one another, others was hollowing, Whestling, talking gigling, & Laughing, & Coaches and footmen passing and repassing. Crossing and Criss-Crossing, and the Poor Begars Praying, Crying, and Beging upon their knees . . ." (quoted in Blodgett 88).
        Supported by Whitefield and his followers, such as the second Earl of Dartmouth, Occom preached at least three hundred sermons and raised over 11,000 in two years. He impressed all he met with his propriety, modesty, and dignity. Less impressed were Whitaker and Wheelock, who prodded him lest his native pride get out of hand (Blodgett 94). Despite his increased sense of individual worth and pride in his Indianness, Occom was beset by worries about his family, which was totally dependent on Wheelock for sustenance. After arriving home in 1768, Occom was less inclined to follow Wheelock's advice or to accept low pay without protest. Relations with Wheelock worsened when Occom learned that his mentor had removed the Indian Charity School from Lebanon, Connecticut, to Hanover, New Hampshire, where it became present-day Dartmouth College. After hearing this news and reports that its Indian enrollment had shrunk to three, an angry Occom fired off a letter to Wheelock, dated 24 July 1771, reminding his friend of the school's original purpose:


I am very jealous that instead of your Semenary Becoming alma Mater, she will be too alba mater to Suckle the Tawnees, for She is already aDorned up too much like the Popish Virgin Mary. She'll be Naturally ashamed to Suckle the Tawnees for she is already equal in Power, Honor and Authority to any College in Europe, I think your College has too much Worked by Grandeur for the Poor Indians, they'll never have much benefit of it, . . . .
       But when we got Home behold all glory had Decayed and now I am afraid, we shall be Deem'd as Liars and Deceivers, in Europe, unless you gather Indians quickly to your College, in Great Numbers and not to have so many whites in the Charity, . . . . (quoted in Blodgett 122-23).

In 1774, Occom published A Choice Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1774). Undoubtedly inspired by the acclaim for his Sermon Preached by Samson Occom (1772), the volume was partly prepared for use by Christian Indians. New editions appeared in 1785 and 1792. A fine singer, Occom had met most of the contemporary hymn writers during his tour of Great Britain. Although the extent to which Occom wrote specific hymns is difficult to determine, authorities credit him with those not found in other hymnals or assigned to other hymnologists. Most of these reflect the subject matter and style of his sermons (Blodgett 144-45).
        Occom became increasingly involved in Indian affairs. Earlier he had helped the Mohegans try to settle their land claims. He now enthusiastically supported the plan of Joseph Johnson, his Mohegan son-in-law, to remove the Christian Indians of New England to lands offered by the Oneida in western New York. The Revolutionary War halted these plans. A staunch believer in neutrality for Indians, Occom felt that the war was the work of the devil. In an address probably written in early 1776, Occom urged Indians "not to intermeddle in these Quarrils among the White People."4
        Little is known of Occom's activities during the war. For six years beginning in 1784 he traveled through New England to raise funds for the settlement on the Oneida lands. He moved his own family there in 1789. Occom devoted his last years to helping the Christian Indians defend their land claims against Oneida efforts to reclaim the land and white plots to lease Christian Indian land for much less than its value. When he died in 1792 at the age of 69, his funeral was attended by more than three hundred Indians.

II. The Sermon
        Probably the first book published in English by an American Indian,{78} the Sermon Preached by Samson Occom . . . at the Execution of Moses Paul, an Indian (1772) was so popular that it was reprinted at least nineteen times and translated into Welsh in 1827. The occasion for the sermon was the murder of Moses Cook, a respected citizen of Waterbury, Connecticut, by Moses Paul, a Christian Mohegan who committed the act while drunk. Held on 2 September 1772, the execution attracted a large audience of Indians and whites because it was New Haven's first hanging in twenty years, and because it afforded a unique opportunity to hear an Indian preach against his people's alcoholism.
        The theology of the sermon is based on New Light Calvinism, which stressed dramatic conversion and held that virtue was a characteristic present in all humankind.5 The appeal of this evangelical theology for Indians, as it was for African Americans, was the promise of racial equality under God and a standard of conduct against which they might judge the actions of white Christians. Its form is derived from the execution sermon, a once popular genre that may well make a comeback if proposals to televise executions are approved. In "True Confessions and Dying Warnings in Colonial New England," Lawrence Towner attributes the popularity of the genre to its relationship to religious practices in the early colonial period, when probing the depths of one's soul and confessing to one's sinfulness were part of private and church ritual. Confessions became as common in seventeenth and eighteenth-century courts as they were in churches. Towner argues that the genre's real significance is as "a form of hortatory literature consciously designed to make criminal acts detestable and to induce proper behavior in society as a whole" (533). Whereas in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, confessors were usually members from within society, by the eighteenth century they were more likely to be black, Indian, Irish, or foreign pirates. Between 1702 and 1776, eleven Indians were executed (Towner 537 n. 6).
        In "Early American Gallows Literature," Ronald A. Bosco indicates that the first example of gallows literature published in America is Samuel Danforth's The Cry of Sodom Enquired Into (1674). During the next 126 years, a total of 163 execution-related titles were published. Several dealt with the execution of Indians, including one published just four years before Occom's: Timothy Pitkin's A Sermon Preached at . . . the Execution of John Jacob, an Indian, for Murder (81-82, 92). Wayne C. Minnick notes in "The New England Execution Sermon, 1639-1800" that authors of these sermons "ranked among the best educated, most influential men of their society." The delivery of the execution sermon, far from being a function which "attracted cheap showmen inclined to capitalize upon grisly but impelling circumstanc-{79}es," was "a serious expression of religious impulse by some of New England's finest minds" (78). Among the great practioners of this genre were Increase and Cotton Mather. The execution sermon followed a distinct structure: a text that was elaborated and paraphrased into a doctrine; the delineation of a series of propositions derived from the doctrine; and a general and specific application of the doctrine (79, 81).
        In agreeing to deliver Paul's execution sermon, Occom took on the delicate task of communicating with both white and Indian audiences without alienating either one. The murder of a respected white citizen by a drunken, Christian Indian must have confirmed the worst suspicions of those whites convinced that Indians were unsalvagable, inhuman instruments of the devil who must be removed or exterminated. Occom is successful in his threefold task: he communicates to his mixed audience the universality of sin and redemption, urges the condemned prisoner to accept Christ, and exhorts his fellow Indians to change their ways. In his preface Occom states that he deliberately uses "common, plain, everyday talk" that little children, Negroes, and Indians can understand. The text he selects is one Minick notes among the most popular for execution sermons: Romans 6.23--"For the Wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (81). On the surface, the bulk of the sermon seems to be just a passionate discourse on the standard propositions common then and now in evangelical preaching--the temptations of sin, the unending horrors of hell that unrepentant sinners will endure after death, and the eternal joys of heaven awaiting those who are saved. However, because these propositions are delivered by an Indian, they convey the implicit message that human nature, not race, makes us susceptible to temptation and that God's love of all people makes redemption equally possible for us all.
        Both his preface and his remarks to the "reverend gentlemen and fathers in Israel" are cast in a humble tone. After acknowledging his need for their guidance in understanding God's oracles and begging them not to be offended, Occom tactfully reminds the whites of their duty to encounter sin and fight the battles of the Lord. Casting aside this humility, Occom forcefully takes a "tough love" stance when he addresses Paul and the Indian audience. His comments to the condemned man are a balancing act. On the one hand, he tells Paul that the murder of Moses Cook is especially contemptible because the prisoner, as a Christian convert, committed the act with his eyes open. On the other, by urging Paul to repent, Occom reminds his audience that God can forgive the worst of offenses, even the murder of a white man by a drunken Indian. The great popularity of the sermon undoubtedly stemmed from the sections directed to Paul and "My poor {80} Kindred." In the latter, Occom vividly describes how alcoholism has destroyed Indian families. Occom does not specifically blame Indian alcoholism on whites, though his Indian audience would have been acutely aware of the fact that the problem did not exist before the coming of whites. Instead, he insists that Indians accept responsibility for their alcoholism and for the evils it has brought to Indian people: "God made us men, and we chuse to be beast and devils, God made us rational creatures, and we chuse to be fools" (101). To eradicate the problem, Occom exhorts them to "break off from your drunkenness," repent, and accept Christ as their savior (103).
        One of the few temperance sermons published during the late eighteenth century, Occom's sermon is a powerful early statement of how alcohol devastated Indian families. It is also an important example of how an Indian author adapted Western European theology and a literary genre for his own purposes. In addition, it reveals how early Indian authors effectively communicated with a variety of audiences.6


        1Blodgett 31. Biographical information is derived from this source.

        2Blodgett 27. The autobiographical statement and the sermon are included in the Heath American Literature Anthology, ed. Paul Lauter, 1. 730-51.

        3Occom was ordained by the London Society, also known as the New England Company. Its Boston Commissioners represented the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England, which was controlled by the Church of England. Occom also had dealings with the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, controlled by the Scotch Presbyterians and also called The Scotch Society. See Blodgett 37 n. 1, 51.

        4Blodgett 163. The address is quoted in its entirety in Love 228-29.

        5Alan Heimert analyzes New Light Calvinism in Religion and the American Mind.

        6David Murray discusses Occom's rhetorical strategies in Forked Tongues 49-57.


Blodgett, Harold. Samson Occom. Dartmouth College Manuscript Ser. 3. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 1935.

Bosco, Ronald A. "Early American Gallows Literature: An Annotated Checklist." Resources for American Literary Study 8 (1978): 81-105.

Danforth, Samuel. The Cry of Sodom Enquired Into. Boston: Johnson, {81} 1674.

DeForest, John W. History of the Indians of Connecticut from the Earliest Known Period to 1850. Hartford: Hammersley, 1851. Rpt. Hamden: Archon, 1964.

Heimert, Alan. Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard U P, 1966.

Jennings, Francis. The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest. 1975. New York: Norton, 1976.

Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 2 vols. New York: Heath, 1990.

Love, W. Deloss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Boston: Pilgrim, 1899.

Means, Carroll Alton. "Mohegan-Pequot Relationships as Indicated by the Events Leading to the Pequot Massacre of 1637 and Subsequent Claims in the Mohegan Land Controversy." Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut 21 (1947): 26-34.

Minnick, Wayne C. "The New England Execution Sermon 1639-1800." Speech Monographs 35 (1968): 77-89.

Murray, David. Forked Tongues: Speech, Writing and Representation in North American Indian Texts. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U P, 1991.

Occom, Samson. A Choice Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Intended for the Edification of Sincere Christians of All Denominations. New London: Timothy Green, 1774.

------. A Sermon Preached by Samson Occom . . . at the Execution of Moses Paul, an Indian Who Was Executed at New-Haven, on the 2d of September 1772. . . . Bennington: William Watson, 1772. 10th ed., 1780.

Pitkin, Tomothy. A Sermon Preached at . . . the Execution of John Jacob, an Indian for Murder. Hartford: Green and Watson, 1768.

Richardson, Leon Burr. An Indian Preacher in England, Being Letters and Diaries Relating to the Mission of the Reverend Samson Occom and the Reverend Nathaniel Whitaker. . . . Dartmouth College Manuscript Ser 2. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 1938.

Towner, Lawrence W. "True Confessions and Dying Warnings in Colonial New England." Sibley's Heir: A Volume in Memory of Clifford Kenyon Shipton. Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1982. 523-39. [No editor listed]

Wallace, Anthony F.C. "Political Organization and Land Tenure among the Northeast Indians, 1600-1830." Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 13 (1957): 301-21.



Preached by


Minister of the Gospel, and Missionary to the Indians;

at the Execution of



Who was executed at New-Haven, September 2, 1772, for the murder
of MOSES COOK, late of Waterbury, on the seventh of December
1771; preached at the desire of said Paul.

Tenth edition. [n.d.]

Bennington: Printed for William Watson [c. 1780].



        THE world is already full of books; and the people of God are abundantly furnished with excellent books upon divine subjects; and it seems, that every subject has been written upon over and over again: And the people in very deed have had precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little; and so in the whole, they have much, yea very much, they have enough and more than enough. And when I come to consider these things, I am ready to say with myself, What folly and madness is it in me to suffer any thing of mine to appear in print, to expose my ignorance to the world.
        It seems altogether unlikely that my performance will do any manner of service in the world, since the most excellent writings of worthy and learned men are disregarded. -- But there are two or three considerations that have induced me to be willing to suffer my broken hints to appear in the world. One, is, that the books that are in the world are written in very high and refined language; and the sermons that are delivered every sabbath in general, are in a very high and lofty stile so that the common people understand but little of them. But I think they can't help understanding my talk; it is common, plain, every-day talk: Little children may understand me. And poor Negroes may plainly and fully understand my meaning; and it may be of service to them. Again, it may in a particular manner be serviceable to my poor kindred the Indians. Further, as it comes from an uncommon quarter, it may induce people to read it, because it is from an Indian. Lastly, God works where and when he pleases, and by what instruments he sees fit, and he can and has used weak and unlikely instruments to bring about his great work.
        It was a stormy, and very uncomfortable day, when the following discourse was delivered, and about one half of it was not delivered as it was written, and now it is a little altered and enlarged in some places.


        BY the melancholy providence of God, and at the earnest desire and invitation of the poor condemned criminal, I am here before this great concourse of people at this time, to give the last discourse to the poor miserable object who is to be executed this day before your eyes, for the due reward of his folly and madness, and enormous wickedness. It is an unwelcome task to me to speak upon such occasion; but since it is the desire of the poor man himself, who is to die a shameful death this day, in conscience I cannot deny him; I must endeavor to do the {84} great work the dying man requests.
        I conclude that this great concourse of people have come together to see the execution of justice upon this poor Indian; and I suppose the bigest part of you look upon yourselves christians, and as such I hope you will demean yourselves; and that you will have suitable commiseration towards this poor object. Tho' you can't in justice pray for his life to be continued in this world, yet you can pray earnestly for the salvation of his poor soul, consistently with the mind of God. Let this be therefore the fervent exercise of your souls: For this is the last day we have to pray for him. As for you that don't regard religion, it cannot be expected, that you will put up one petition for this miserable creature: Yet I would entreat you seriously to consider the frailty of corrupt nature, and behave yourselves as becomes rational creatures.
        And in a word, Let us all be suitably affected with the melancholy occasion of the day; knowing, that we are all dying creatures, and accountable unto God. Though this poor condemned creature will in a few minutes know more than all of us, either in unutterable joy, or in inconceivable wo, yet we shall certainly know as much as he in a few days.


THE sacred words that I have chosen to speak from, upon this
undesirable occasion, are found written in the
Epistle of St. Paul to the


For the Wages of Sin is Death, but the Gift of God is Eternal Life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

        DEATH is called the king of terrors, and it ought to be the subject of every man and woman's thoughts daily; because it is that unto which they are liable every moment of their lives: And therefore it cannot be unreasonable to think, speak and hear of it at any time, and especially on this mournful occasion; for we must all come to it, how soon we cannot tell; whether we are prepared or not prepared, ready or not ready, whether death is welcome or not welcome, we must feel the force of it: Whether we concern ourselves with death or not, it will concern itself with us. Seeing that this is the case with every one of us, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness; how ought men to exert themselves in preparation for death, continually; for they know not what a day or an hour may bring forth, {85} with respect to them. But alas! according to the appearance of mankind in general; death is the least thought of. They go on from day to day as if they were to live here forever, as if this was the only life. They contrive, rack their inventions, disturb their rest, and even hazard their lives in all manner of dangers, both by sea and land; yea, they leave no stone unturned that they may live in the world, and at the same time have little or no contrivance to die well. God and their souls are neglected, and heaven and eternal happiness are disregarded; Christ and his religion are despised -- yet most of these very men intend to be happy when they come to die, not considering that there must be great preparation in order to die well. Yea there is none so fit to live as those that are fit to die; those that are not fit to die are not fit to live. Life and death are nearly connected; we generally own that it is a great and solemn thing to die. If this be true, then it is a great and solemn thing to live, for as we live so we shall die. But I say again, how do mankind realize these things? They are busy about the things of this world as if there was no death before them. Dr. Watts pictures them out to the life in his psalms:

        See the vain race of mortals move,
       Like shadows o'er the plain,
        They rage and strive, desire and love,
        But all the noise is vain.

        Some walk in honour's gaudy show,
        Some dig for golden ore,
        They toil for heirs they know not who,
       And strait are seen no more.1

        But on the other hand, life is the most precious thing, and ought to be the most desired by all rational creatures. It ought to be prized above all things; yet there is nothing so abused and despised as life, and nothing so neglected: I mean eternal life is shamefully disregarded by men in general, and eternal death is chosen rather than life. This is the general complaint of the bible from the beginning to the end. As long as Christ is neglected, life is refused, as long as sin is cherished, death is chosen. And this seems to be the woful case of mankind of all nations, according to their appearance in these days: For it is too plain to be denied, that vice and immorality, and floods of iniquity are abounding every where amongst all nations, and all orders and ranks of men, and in every sect of people. Yea there is a great agreement and harmony among all nations, and from the highest to the lowest to practice sin and iniquity; and the pure religion of Jesus Christ is turned {86} out of doors, and is dying without; or, in other words, the Lord Jesus Christ is turned out of doors by men in general, and even by his professed people. "He came to his own, and his own received him not."2 But the devil is admitted, he has free access to the houses and hearts of the children of men: Thus life is refused and death is chosen.
        But in further speaking upon our text by divine assistance, I shall consider these two general propositions.
        I. That sin is the cause of all the miseries that befall the children of men, both as to their bodies and souls, for time and eternity.
        II. That eternal life and happiness is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
        In speaking to the first proposition, I shall first consider the nature of sin; and secondly I shall consider the consequences of sin or the wages of sin, which is death. First then, we are to describe the nature of sin.
        Sin is the transgression of the law:--This is the scripture definition of sin.--Now the law of God being holy, just and good; sin must be altogether unholy, unjust and evil. If I was to define sin, I should call it a contrariety to God; and as such it must be the vilest thing in the world; it is full of all evil; it is the evil of evils; the only evil in which dwells no good thing; and it is most destructive to God's creation, wherever it takes effect. It was sin that transformed the very angels in heaven, into devils; and it was sin that caused hell to be made. If it had not been for sin, there never would have been such a thing as hell or devil, death or misery.
        And if sin is such a thing as we have just described, it must be worse than the devils in hell itself.--Sin is full of deadly poison; it is full of malignity and hatred against God; against all his divine perfections and attributes, against his wisdom, against his power, against his holiness and goodness, against his mercy and justice, against his law and gospel; yea against his very being and existence. Were it in the power of sin, it would even dethrone God, and set itself on the throne.
        When Christ the Son of the Most High came down from the glorious world above, into this wretched world of sin and sorrow, to seek and to save that which was lost, sin or sinners rose up against him, as soon as he entered our world, and pursued him with hellish malice, night and day, for above thirty years together, till they killed him.
        Further, sin is against the Holy Ghost; it opposes all its good and holy operations upon the children of men. When, and wherever there is the out pouring of the Spirit of God, upon the children of men, in a way of conviction and conversion; sin will immediately prompt the {87} devil and his children to rise up against it, and they will oppose the work with all their power, and in every shape. And if open opposition will not do, the devil will mimic the work and thus prevent the good effect.
        Thus we find by the scripture accounts, that whenever God raises up men, and uses them as instruments of conviction and conversion, the devil and his instruments will rise up to destroy both the reformers and the reformed. Thus it has been from the early days of christianity to this day. We have found it so in our day. In the time of the outpouring of the Spirit of God in these colonies, to the conviction and reformation of many; immediately sin and the devil influenced numbers to rise up against the good work of God, calling it a delusion, and work of the devil. And thus sin also opposes every motion of the Spirit of God, in the heart of every christian; this makes a warfare in the soul.
        2. I shall endeavor to show the sad consequences or effects of sin upon the children of men.
        Sin has poisoned them, and made them distracted or fools. The psalmist says, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.3 And Solomon, through his proverbs, calls ungodly sinners fools; and their sin he calls their folly and foolishness.4 The apostle James says, But the tongue can no man tame, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.5 It is the heart that is in the first place full of deadly poison. The tongue is only an interpreter of the heart. Sin has vitiated the whole man, both soul and body; all the powers are corrupted; it has turned the minds of men against all good, towards all evil. So poisoned are they according to the prophet, Isa. v. 20. "Wo unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter." And Christ Jesus saith in John iii. 19, 20. "And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light lest his deeds should be reproved." Sin hath stupified mankind, they are now ignorant of God their Maker; neither do they enquire after him. And they are ignorant of themselves, they know not what is good for them, neither do they understand their danger; and they have no fear of God before their eyes.
        Further, sin hath blinded their eyes, so that they cannot discern spiritual things; neither do they see the way that they should go, and they are as deaf as adders, so that they cannot hear the joyful sound of the gospel that brings glad tidings of peace and pardon to the sinners of mankind. Neither do they regard the charmer charming never so wisely. -- Not only so, but sin has made man proud, though he has nothing to be proud of; for he has lost his excellency, his beauty and {88} happiness; he is a bankrupt and is excommunicated from God; he was turned out of paradise by God himself, and became a vagabond in God's world, and as such he has no right or title to the least crumb of mercy, in the world: Yet he is proud, he is haughty, and exalts himself above God, though he is wretched and miserable, and poor and blind and naked. He glories in his shame. Sin has made him beastly and devilish; yea, he is sunk beneath the beasts, and is worse than the ravenous beasts of the wilderness. He is become ill-natured, cruel and murderous; he is contentious and quarrelsome. I said he is worse than the ravenous beasts, for wolves and bears don't devour their own kind, but man does; yea, we have numberless instances of women killing their own children; such women I think are worse than she-tygers.
        Sin has made man dishonest, and deceitful, so that he goes about cheating and defrauding and deceiving his fellow-men in the world: Yea, he has become a cheat himself, he goes about in vain shew; we do not know where to find man.--Sometimes we find as an angel of God; and at other times we find as a devil, even one and the same man. Sin has made a man a liar even from the womb; so there is no believing nor trusting him. The royal psalmist says, "The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies."6 His language is also corrupted. Whereas he had a pure and holy language, in his innocency, to adore and praise God his Maker, he now curses and swears, and profanes, the holy name of God, and curses and damns his fellow creatures. In a word, man is a most unruly and ungovernable creature, and is become as the wild ass's colt, and is harder to tame than any of God's creatures in this world.--In short, man is worse than all the creatures in this lower world, his propensity is to evil and that continually; he is more like the devil than any creature we can think of: And I think it is not going beyond the word of God, to say man is the most devilish creature in the world. Christ said to his disciples, One of you is a devil; to the Jews he said, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.7 Thus every unconverted soul is a child of the devil, sin has made them so.
        We have given some few hints of the nature of sin, and the effects of sin on mankind.
        We shall in the next place consider the wages or the reward of sin, which is death.
        Sin is the cause of all the miseries that attend poor sinful man, which will finally bring him to death, death temporal and eternal. I shall first consider his temporal death.
        His temporal death then begins as soon as he is born. Though it seems to us that he is just beginning to live, yet in fact he is just {89} entered into a state of death; St. Paul says "w[h]erefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."8 Man is surrounded with ten thousand instruments of death, and is liable to death every moment of his life; a thousand diseases await him on every side continually; the sentence of death has pass'd upon them as soon as they are born; yea they are struck with death as soon as they breathe. And it seems all the enjoyments of men in this world are also poisoned with sin; for God said to Adam after he had sinned, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shall thou eat of it all the days of thy life."9 By this we plainly see that every thing that grows out of the ground is cursed, and all creatures that God hath made for man are cursed also; and whatever God curses is a cursed thing indeed. Thus death and destruction is in all the enjoyments of men in this life, every enjoyment in this world is liable to misfortune in a thousand ways, both by sea and land.
        How many ships, that have been loaded with the choicest treasures of the earth, have been swallowed up in the ocean, many times just before they enter their desired haven. And vast treasures have been consumed by fire on the land, &c. -- And the fruits of the earth are liable to many judgments. And the dearest and nearest enjoyments of men are generally balanced with equal sorrow and grief. -- A man and his wife who have lived together in happiness for many years; that have comforted each other in various changes of life, must at last be separated; one or the other must be taken away first by death, and then the poor survivor is drowned in tears, in sorrow, mourning and grief. And when a child or children are taken away by death, the bereaved parents are bowed down with sorrow and deep mourning. When Joseph was sold by his brethren unto the Ishmaelites, they took his coat and rolled it in blood, and carried it to their father, and the good old patriarch knew it to be Joseph's coat, and he concluded that his dear Joseph was devoured by evil beasts; and he was plunged all over in sorrow and bitter mourning, and he refused to be comforted. And so when tender parents are taken away by death, the children are left comfortless. All this is the sad effects of sin -- These are the wages of sin.
        And secondly we are to consider man's spiritual death, while he is here in this world. We find it thus written in the word of God, "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat: but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."10 And yet he did eat of it, and so he and all his posterity are but dead men. And St. Paul to the Ephesians saith, "You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins."11 -- The great Mr.{90} Henry says, in this place, that unregenerate souls are dead in trespasses and sins.12 All those who are in their sins, are dead in sins; yea, in trespasses and sins; and which may signify all sorts of sins, habitual and actual; sins of heart and life. Sin is the death of the soul. Wherever that prevails, there is a privation of all spiritual life. Sinners are dead in state, being destitute of the principles and powers of spiritual life; and cut off from God the fountain of life: and they are dead in law, as a condemned malefactor is said to be a dead man. Now a dead man, in a natural sense, is unactive, and is of no service to the living: There is no correspondence between the dead and the living: There is no agreement or union between them, no fellowship at all between the dead and the living. A dead man is altogether ignorant of the intercourse among the living: -- Just so it is with men that are spiritually dead; they have no agreeable activity. Their activity in sin, is their deadness and inactivity towards God. They are of no service to God; and they have no correspondence with heaven; and there is no agreement or fellowship between them and the living God; and they are totally ignorant of the agreeable and sweet intercourse there is between God and his children here below: and they are ignorant, and know nothing of that blessed fellowship and union there is among the saints here below. They are ready to say indeed, behold how they love one another! But they know nothing of that love, that the children of God enjoy. As sin is in opposition to God; so sinners are at enmity against God; there is no manner of agreement between them.
        Let us consider further. God is a living God, he is all life, the fountain of life; and a sinner is a dead soul; there is nothing but death in him. And now judge ye, what agreement can there be between them? God is a holy and pure God, and a sinner is an unholy and filthy creature; -- God is a righteous Being, and a sinner is an unrighteous creature; God is light, and a sinner is darkness itself, &c. Further, what agreement can there be between God and a liar, a thief, a drunkard, a swearer, a profane creature, a whoremonger, an adulterer, an idolater, &c. No one that has any sense, dare say that there is any agreement. Further, as sinners are dead to God, as such, they have no delight in God, and godliness; they have no taste for the religion of Jesus Christ: they have no pleasure in the holy exercise of religion. Prayer is no pleasant work with them; or if they have any pleasure in it, it is not out of love to God, but out of self-love, like the Pharisees of old; they loved to pray in open view of men, that they might have praise from them. And perhaps, they were not careful to pray in secret. These were dead souls, they were unholy, rotten hypocrites, and so all their prayers and religious exercises were cold, dead, and abominable services to God. Indeed they are dead to all the duties that God requires {91} of them: they are dead to the holy bible; to all the laws, commands, and precepts thereof; and to the ordinances of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. When they read the book of God, it is like an old almanack to them, a dead book. But it is because they are dead, and as such, all their services are against God, even their best services are an abomination unto God; yea, sinners are so dead in sin, that the threatnings of God don't move them. All the thunderings and lightnings of Mount-Sinai don't stir them. All the curses of the law are out against them; yea, every time they read these curses in the bible, they are cursing them to their faces, and to their very eyes; yet they are unconcern'd and go on in sin without fear. And lastly here, sin has so stupified the sinner, that he will not believe his own senses, he won't believe his own eyes, nor his own ears, he reads the book of God, but he does not believe what he reads. And he hears of God, and heaven, and eternal happiness, and of hell and eternal misery; but he believes none of those things; he goes on, as if there were no God, nor heaven and happiness; neither has he any fear of hell and eternal torments; and he sees his fellow-men dropping away daily on every side, yet he goes on carelessly in sin, as if he never was to die. And if he at any time thinks of dying, he hardly believes his own thoughts. ---- Death is at a great distance, so far off, that he dont concern himself about it, so as to prepare for it. God mournfully complains of his people, that they dont consider; -- O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end.
        The next thing I shall consider, is the actual death of the body, or separation between soul and body. At the cessation of natural life, there is no more joy or sorrow; no more hope nor fear, as to the body; no more contrivance and carrying on of business; no more merchandizing and trading; no more farming; no more buying and selling; no more building of any kind, no more contrivance at all to live in the world; no more honor nor reproach; no more praise; no more good report, nor evil report; no more learning of any trades, arts or sciences in the world; no more sinful pleasures, they are all at an end; recreations, visiting, tavern-hunting, musick and dancing, chambering and carousing, playing at dice and cards, or any game whatsoever; cursing and swearing, and profaning the holy name of God, drunkenness, fighting, debauchery, lying and cheating, in this world must cease forever. Not only so, but they must bid an eternal farewell to all the world; bid farewell to all their beloved sins and pleasures; and the places and possessions that knew them once, shall know them no more forever. And further, they must bid adieu to all sacred and divine things. They are obliged to leave the bible, and all the ordinances thereof; and to bid farewell to preachers, and all sermons, and all christian people, and {92} christian conversation; they must bid a long farewell to sabbaths and seasons, and opportunities of worship; yea an eternal farewell to all mercy and all hope; an eternal farewell to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and adieu to heaven and all happiness, to saints and all the inhabitants of the upper world. At your leisure please to read the destruction of Babylon; you will find it written in the 18th of the Revelations.
        On the other hand, the poor departed soul must take up its lodging in sorrow, wo and misery, in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched; where a multitude of frightful deformed devils dwell, and the damned ghosts of Adam's race; where darkness, horror and despair reigns, or where hope never comes, and where poor guilty naked souls will be tormented with exquisite torments, even the wrath of the Almighty poured out upon the damned souls; the smoke of their torments ascending up forever and ever; their mouths and nostrils streaming forth with living fire; and hellish groans, cries and shrieks all around them; and merciless devils upbraiding them for their folly and madness, and tormenting them incessantly. And there they must endure the most unsatiable, fruitless desire, and the most overwhelming shame and confusion and the most horrible fear, and the most doleful sorrow, and the most racking despair. When they cast their flaming eyes to heaven, with Lives in torments, they behold an angry GOD, whose eyes are as a flaming fire, and they are struck with ten thousand darts of pain; and the sight of the happiness of the saints above, adds to their pains and aggravates their misery. And when they reflect upon their past folly and madness in neglecting the great salvation in their day, it will pierce them with ten thousand inconceivable torments; it will as it were enkindle their hell afresh; and it will cause them to curse themselves bitterly, and curse the day in which they were born, and curse their parents that were the instruments of their being in the world; yea, they will curse, bitterly curse, and wish that very GOD that gave them their being to be in the same condition with them in hell torments. This is what is called the second death, and it is the last death, and eternal death to a guilty soul.
        And O eternity, eternity, eternity! Who can measure it? Who can count the years thereof? Arithmetic must fail, the thoughts of men and angels are drowned in it; how shall we describe eternity? To what shall we compare it? Were it possible to employ a fly to carry off this globe by the small particles thereof, and to carry them to such a distance that it would return once in ten thousand years for another particle, and so continue till it has carried off all this globe, and framed them together in some unknown space, till it has made just such a world as this is: {93} After all, eternity would remain the same unexhausted duration. This must be the unavoidable portion of all impenitent sinners, let them be who they will, great or small, honorable or ignoble, rich or poor, bond or free. Negroes, Indians, English, or of that nation soever; all that die in their sins must go to hell together; for the wages of sin is death.
        The next thing that I was to consider is this:
        That eternal life and happiness is the free gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
        Under this proposition I shall now endeavour to show what this life and happiness is.
        The life that is mentioned in our text is a spiritual life, it is the life of the soul; from sin to holiness, from darkness to light, a translation from the kingdom and dominion of satan, to the kingdom of God's grace. In other words, it is being restored to the image of God and delivered from the image of satan. And this life consists in union of the soul to God, and communion with God; a real participation of the divine nature, or in the Apostle's words, is a Christ formed within us; I live says he, yet not I but Christ liveth in me.13 And the Apostle John saith God is love and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.14 This is the life of the soul. It is called emphatically life, because it is a life that shall never have a period, a stable, a permanent, and unchangeable life, called in the scriptures everlasting life, or life eternal. And the happiness of this life consists in communion with God, or in the spiritual enjoyment of God. As much as a soul enjoys of God in this life, just so much of life and happiness he enjoys or possesses; yea, just so much of heaven he enjoys. A true christian, desires no other heaven but the enjoyment of God; a full and perfect enjoyment of God, is a full and perfect heaven and happiness to a gracious soul. -- Further, this life is called eternal life because God has planted a living principle in the soul; and whereas he was dead before, now he is made alive unto God; there is an active principle within him towards God, he now moves towards God in his religious devotions and exercises; is daily comfortably and sweetly walking with God; he breathes towards God, a living breath, in praises, prayers, adorations and thanksgivings; his prayers are now heard in the heavens, and his praises delight the ears of the Almighty, and his thanksgiving are accepted, so alive is he now to God, that it is his meat and drink, yea more than his meat and drink, to do the will of his heavenly Father. It is his delight, his happiness and pleasure to serve God. He does not drag himself to his duties now, but he does them out of choice, and with alacrity of soul. Yea, so alive is he to God, that he gives up himself and all that he has entirely to God, to be for him and no other; his whole aim is to glorify God, in all things, whether by life or death, {94} all the same to him.
        We have a bright example of this in St. Paul. After he was converted, he was all alive to God; he regarded not his life but was willing to spend and be spent in the service of his God; he was hated, revil'd, despised, laughed at, and called all manner of evil names; was scourged, stoned and imprisoned; and all could not stop his activity towards God. He would boldly and courageously go on in preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to poor lost and undone sinners; he would do the work God set him about, in spite of all opposition he met with either from men or devils, earth or hell; come death or come life, none of these things moved him, because he was alive unto God. Though he suffered hunger and thirst, cold and heat, poverty and nakedness by day and by night, by sea, and by land, and was in danger always; yet he would serve God amidst all these dangers. Read his amazing account in 2 Cor. 11. 23, and on.
        Another instance of marvellous love towards God, we have in Daniel. When there was a proclamation of prohibition, sent by the king to all his subjects forbidding them to call upon their gods, for 30 days; which was done by envious men, that they might find occasion against Daniel the servant of the most high God; yet he having the life of God in his soul regarded not the king's decree, but made his petition to his God, as often as he used to do though death was threatened to the disobedient. But he feared not the hell they had prepared; for it seems, the den resembled hell, and the lions represented the devils. And when he was actually cast into the lions den, the ravenous beasts became meek and innocent as lambs, before the prophet, because he was alive unto God; the spirit of the Most High was in him, and the lions were afraid before him. Thus it was with Daniel and Paul; they went through fire and water, as the common saying is, because they had eternal life in their souls in an eminent manner; and they regarded not this life for the cause and glory of God. And thus it has been in all ages with true Christians. Many of the fore-fathers of the English, in this country, had this life and are gone the same way, that the holy Prophets and Apostles went. Many of them went through all manner of sufferings for God; and a great number of them are gone home to heaven, in chariots of fire. I have seen the place in London, called Smithfield,15 where numbers were burnt to death for the religion of Jesus Christ. And there is the same life in true christians now in these days; and if there should persecutions arise in our day, I verily believe, true christians would suffer with the same spirit and temper of mind, as those did, who suffered in days past.--This is the life which our texts speaks of.
        We proceed in the next place to show, that this life, which we have described, is the free gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
        Sinners have forfeited all mercy into the hands of divine justice and have merited hell and damnation to themselves; for the wages of sin is everlasting death, but heaven and happiness is a free gift; it comes by favor; and all merit is excluded: and especially if we consider that we are fallen sinful creatures, and there is nothing in us that can recommend us to the favour of God; and we can do nothing that is agreeable and acceptable to God; and the mercies we enjoy in this life are altogether from the pure mercy of God; we are unequal to them. Good old Jacob cried out, under the sense of his unworthiness, "I am less than the least of all thy mercies," and we have nothing to give unto God if we essay to give all the service that we are capable of, we should give him nothing but what was his own, and when we give up ourselves unto God, both soul and body, we give him nothing; for we were his before; he had a right to do with us as he pleased, either to throw us into hell, or to save us.16--There is nothing that we can call our own, but our sins; and who is he that dares to say, I expect to have heaven for my sins? for our texts says, that the wages of sin is death. If we are thus unequal and unworthy of the least mercy in this life, how much more are we unworthy of eternal life? Yet God can find it in his heart to give it. And it is altogether unmerited; it is a free gift to undeserving and hell deserving sinners of mankind: it is altogether of God's sovereign good pleasure to give it. It is of free grace and sovereign mercy, and from the unbounded goodness of God; he was self-moved to it. And it is said that this life is given in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. It could not be given in any other way, but in and through the death and suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ; Christ himself is the gift, and he is the christian's life. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in him should not perish but have everlasting life."17 The word says further, "For by grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God."18 This is given through Jesus Christ our Lord; it is Christ that purchased it with his own blood; he prepared it with his divine and almighty power; and by the same power, and by the influence of his spirit, he prepares us for it; and by his divine grace preserve us to it. In a word, he is all in all in our eternal salvation; all this is the free gift of god.
        I have now gone through what I proposed from my text. And I shall now make some application of the whole.
        First to the criminal in particular; and then to the auditory in general.

My poor unhappy Brother MOSES,

        As it was your own desire that I should preach to you this last discourse, so I shall speak plainly to you.--You are the bone of my {96} bone, and flesh of my flesh. You are an Indian, a despised creature, but you have despised yourself; yea you have despised God more; you have trodden under foot his authority; you have despised his commands and precepts; And now as God says, be sure your sins will find you out. And now, poor Moses, your sins have found you out, and they have overtaken you this day; the day of your death is now come; the king of terrors is at hand; you have but a very few moments to breathe in this world.--The just law of man, and the holy laws of Jehovah, call aloud for the destruction of your mortal life; God says, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood of man shall his blood be shed."19 This is the ancient decree of heaven, and it is to be executed by man; nor have you the least gleam of hope of escape, for the unalterable sentence is past: The terrible day of execution is come; the unwelcome guard is about you; and the fatal instruments of death are now made ready; your coffin and your grave, your last lodging are open ready to receive you.
        Alas! poor Moses, now you know by sad, by woful experience, the living truth of our text, that the wages of sin is death. You have been already dead; yea, twice dead: By nature spiritually dead. And since the awful sentence of death has been passed upon you, you have been dead to all the pleasures of this life; or all the pleasures, lawful or unlawful, have been dead to you: And death, which is the wages of sin, is standing even on this side of your grave ready to put a final period to your mortal life; and just beyond the grave, eternal death awaits your poor soul, and devils are ready to drag your miserable soul down to their bottomless den, where everlasting wo and horror reigns; the place is filled with doleful shrieks, howls and groans of the damned. Oh! to what a miserable, forlorn, and wretched condition has your extravagance folly and wickedness brought you! i.e. if you die in your sins. And O! what manner of repentance ought you to manifest! How ought your heart to bleed for what you have done! How ought you to prostrate your soul before a bleeding God! And under self-condemnation, cry out ah Lord, ah Lord, what have I done?--Whatever partiality, injustice and error there may be among the judges of the earth, remember that you have deserved a thousand deaths, and a thousand hells, by reason of your sins, at the hands of a holy God. Should God come out against you in strict justice, alas! what could you say for yourself; for you have been brought up under the bright sunshine, and plain, and loud sound of the gospel; and you have had a good education; you can read and write well; and God has given you a good natural understanding: And therefore your sins are so much more agg[r]avated. You have not sinned in such an ignorant manner as others have done; but you have sinned with both your eyes open as it were, under the light even the glorious light of the gospel of the Lord {97} Jesus Christ.--You have sinned against the light of your own conscience, against your knowledge and understanding; you have sinned against the pure and holy laws of God, the just laws of men; you have sinned against heaven and earth; you have sinned against all the mercies and goodness of God; you have sinned against the whole bible, against the Old and New Testament; you have sinned against the blood of Christ, which is the blood of the everlasting covenant. O poor Moses, see what you have done! And now repent, repent, I say again repent; see how the blood you shed cries against you, and the avenger of blood is at your heels. O fly, fly, to the blood of the Lamb of God for the pardon of all your aggravated sins.
        But let us now turn to a more pleasant theme.--Though you have been a great sinner, a heaven-daring sinner; yet hark and hear the joyful sound from heaven, even from the King of kings, and Lord of lords; that the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the free gift offered to the greatest sinners, and upon their true repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ they shall be welcome to the life they have spoken of: it is offered upon free terms. He that hath no money may come; he that hath no righteousness, no goodness may come, the call is to poor undone sinners; the call is not to the righteous, but sinners calling them to repentance. Hear the voice of the Son of the Most High God, Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.20 This is a call, a gracious call to you poor Moses, under your present burden and distresses. And Christ alone has a right to call sinners to himself. It would be presumption for a mighty angel to call a poor sinner in this manner; and were it possible for you to apply to all God's creatures, they would with one voice tell you, that it was not in them to help you. Go to all the means of grace, they would prove miserable helps without Christ himself. Yea, apply to all the ministers of the gospel in the world, they would all say, that it was not in them, but would only prove as indexes, to point out to you, the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of sinners of mankind. Yea, go to all the angels in heaven they would do the same. Yea, go to God the Father himself without Christ, he could not help you, to speak after the manner of men, he would also point to the Lord Jesus Christ, and say this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased hear ye him. Thus you see, poor Moses, that there is none in heaven, or earth, that can help you, but Christ; he alone has power to save, and to give life.--God the eternal Father appointed him, chose him, authorized and fully commissioned him to save sinners. He came down from heaven into this lower world, and became as one of us, and stood in our room. He was the second Adam. And as God demanded correct obedience of the first Adam; the second fulfil'd it; and as the {98} first sinned and incurred the wrath and anger of God, the second endured it; he suffered in our room. As he became sin for us, he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; all our stripes were laid upon him; yea, he was finally condemned, because we were under condemnation; and at last was executed and put to death, for our sins; was lifted up between the heavens and the earth, and was crucified on the accursed tree; his blessed hands and feet were fastened there; there he died a shameful and ignominious death; There he finished the great work of our redemption: There his hearts blood was shed for our cleansing: There he fully satisfied the divine justice of God, for penitent, believing sinners, though they have been the chief of sinners.--O Moses! this is good news to you in this last day of your life; here is a crucified Saviour at hand for your sins; his blessed hands are outstretched, all in a gore of blood for you. This is the only Saviour, an Almighty Saviour, just such as you stand in infinite and perishing need of. O, poor Moses! hear the dying prayer of a gracious Saviour on the accursed tree. Father forgive them for they know not what they do. This was a prayer for his enemies and murderers; and it is for you, if you will now only repent and believe in him. O, why will you die eternally, poor Moses, since Christ has died for sinners? Why will you go to hell from beneath a bleeding Saviour as it were? This is the day of your execution, yet it is the accepted time, it is the day of salvation if you will now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Must Christ follow you into the prison by his servants and there intreat you to accept of eternal life, and will you refuse it? Must he follow you even to the gallows, and there beseech of you to accept him, and will you refuse him? Shall he be crucified hard by your gallows, as it were, and will you regard him not. O poor Moses, now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, and thou shalt be saved eternally. Come just as you are, with all your sins and abominations, with all your filthiness, with all your blood-guiltiness, with all your condemnation, and lay hold of the hope set before you this day. This is the last day of salvation with your soul; you will be beyond the bounds of mercy in a few minutes more. O `what a joyful day['] would it be if you would now openly believe in and receive the Lord Jesus Christ; it would be the beginning of heavenly days with your poor soul; instead of a melancholy day, it would be a wedding day to your soul: It would cause the very angels in heaven to rejoice, and the saints on earth to be glad; it would cause the angels to come down from the realms above, and wait hovering about your gallows, ready to convey your soul to the heavenly mansions. There to taste the possession of eternal glory and happiness, and join the heavenly choirs in singing the songs of Moses and the Lamb: There to set down forever with Abraham, Isaac and {99} Jacob in the kingdom of God's glory; and your shame and guilt shall be forever banished from the place, and all sorrow and fear forever fly away, and tears be wiped from your face; and there shall you forever admire the astonishing and amazing and infinite mercy of God in Christ Jesus, in pardoning such a monstrous sinner as you have been; there you will claim the highest note of praise, for the riches of free grace in Christ Jesus. But if you will not except of a Saviour so freely offered to you this last day of your life, you must this very day bid a farewell to God the Father Son and holy Ghost, to heaven and all the saints and angels that are there; and you must bid all the saints in this lower world an eternal farewell, and even the whole world. And so I must leave you in the hands of God; and I must turn to the whole auditory.
        Sirs.--We may plainly see, from what we have heard, and from the miserable object before us, into what a doleful condition sin has brought mankind, even into a state of death and misery. We are by nature as certainly under the sentence of death from God, as this miserable man is by the just determination of man; and we are all dying creatures, and we are, or ought to be sensible of it: and this is the dreadful fruit of sin. O let us then fly from all appearance of sin; let us fight against it with all our might; let us repent and turn to God, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that we may live forever: Let us all prepare for death, for we know not how soon, nor how suddenly we may be called out of the world.
        Permit me in particular, reverend gentlemen and fathers in Israel, to speak a few words to you, though I am very sensible that I need to be taught the first principles of the oracles of God, by the least of you. But since the Providence of God has so ordered it, that I must speak here on this occasion, I beg that you would not be offended nor be angry with me.
        God has raised you up from among your bretheren, and has qualified and authorized you to do his great work; and you are the servants of the Most High God, and ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ; you are Christ's ambassadors; you are called shepherds, watchmen overseers, or bishops, and you are rulers of the temples of God, or of the assemblies of God's people; you are God's angels, and as such you have nothing to do but to wait on God, and to do the work that the Lord Jesus Christ your blessed Lord and Master has set you about, not fearing the face of any man, nor seeking to please men, but your Master. You are to declare the whole counsel of God, and to give a portion to every soul in due season; as a physician gives a potion to his patients, according to their diseases, so you are to give a portion to every soul in due season according to their spiritual maladies: Whether {100} it be agreeable or not agreeable to them, you must give it to them; whether they will love you or hate you for it, you must do your work. Your work is to encounter sin and satan; this was the very end of the coming of Christ into the world, and the end of his death and sufferings; it was to make an end of sin and to destroy the works of the devil. And this is your work still, you are to fight the battles of the Lord. Therefore combine together, and be as terrible as an army with banners; attack this monster sin in all its shapes and windings, and lift up your voices as trumpets and not spare, call aloud, call your people to arms against this common enemy of mankind, that sin may not be their ruin. Call upon all orders ranks and degrees of people, to rise up against sin and satan. Arm yourselves with fervent prayer continually, this is a terrible weapon against the kingdom of satan. And preach the death and sufferings, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ; for nothing is so destructive to the kingdom of the devil as this is. But what need I speak any more? Let us all attend, and hear the great Apostle of the Gentiles speak unto us in Eph. 6 ch. from the tenth verse and onward. Finally my bretheren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked: And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perserverance, and supplication for all saints.
        I shall now address myself to the Indians, my bretheren and kindred according to the flesh.
        My Poor Kindred,
        You see the woful consequences of sin, by seeing this our poor miserable countryman now before us, who is to die this day for his sins and great wickedness. And it was the sin of drunkenness that has brought this destruction and untimely death upon him. There is a dreadful wo denounced from the Almighty against drunkards; and it is this sin, this abominable, this beastly and accursed sin of drunkenness, that has stript us of every desirable comfort in this life; by this we are poor miserable and wretched; by this sin we have no name nor credit {101} in the world among polite nations, for this sin we are despised in the world, and it is all right and just, for we despised ourselves more: and if we don't regard ourselves, who will regard us? And it is for our sins and especially for that accursed, that most devilish sin of drunkenness that we suffer every day. For the love of strong drink we spend all that we have, and everything we can get. By this sin we can't have comfortable houses, nor any thing comfortable in our houses; neither food nor raiment, nor decent utensils. We are obliged to put up with any sort o[f] shelter just to screen us from the severity of the weather, and we go about with very mean, ragged and dirty clothes, almost naked. And we are half-starved, for the most of the time obliged to pick up anything to eat. And our poor children are suffering every day for want of the necessaries of life; they are very often crying for want of food, and we have nothing to give them; and in the cold weather they are shivering and crying, being pinched with cold. All this is for the love of strong drink. And this is not all the misery and evil we bring on ourselves in this world; but when we are intoxicated with strong drink we drown our rational powers, by which we are distinguished from the brutal creation we unman ourselves, and bring ourselves not only level with the beasts of the field, but seven degrees beneath them; yea we bring ourselves level with the devils; I don't know but we make ourselves worse than devils, for I never heard of drunken devils.
        My poor kindred, do consider what a dreadful abominable sin drunkenness is. God made us men, and we chuse to be beast and devils, God made us rational creatures, and we chuse to be fools. Do consider further, and behold a drunkard and see how he looks when he has drowned his reason; how deformed and shameful does he appear? He disfigures every part of him, both soul and body, which was made after the Image of God. He appears with awful deformity, and his whole visage is dis-figured; if he attempts to speak he cannot bring out his words distinct, so as to be understood; if he walks he reels and staggers to and fro, and tumbles down. And see how he behaves, he is now laughing, and then he is crying, he is singing, and the next minute he is mourning, and is all love with every one, and anon he is raging and for fighting, and killing all before him, even the nearest and dearest relations and friends: Yea, nothing is too bad for a drunken man to do. He will do that which he would not do for the world, in his right mind; he may lie with his own sister or daughter as Lot did.
        Further, when a person is drunk, he is just good for nothing in the world; he is of no service to himself, to his family, to his neighbours, or his country; and how much more unfit is he to serve God: Yet we are just fit for the service of the devil.
        Again, a man in drunkenness is in all manner of dangers, he may be killed by his fellow-men, by wild beasts, and tame beasts; he may fall into the fire, into the water, or into a ditch; or he may fall down as he walks along, and break his bones or his neck; and he may cut him-self with edge-tools. Further if he has any money or anything valuable, he may lose it all, or may be robbed, or he may make a foolish bargain and be cheated out of all he has.
        I believe you know the truth of what I have just now said, many of you by sad experience; yet you will go on still in your drunkenness. Though you have been cheated over and over again, and you have lost your substance by drunkenness, yet you will venture to go on in this most destructive sin. O fools, when will ye be wise?--We all know the truth of what I have been saying, by what we have seen and heard of drunken deaths. How many have been drowned in our rivers, and how many frozen to death in the winter season! yet drunkards go on without fear and consideration: Alas, alas! What will become of all such drunkards? Without doubt they must all go to hell, except they truly repent and turn to God. Drunkenness is so common amongst us, that even our young men, (and what is still more shocking) young women are not ashamed to get drunk. Our young men will get drunk as soon as they will eat when they are hungry.--It is generally esteemed among men more abominable for a woman to be drunk than a man; and yet there is nothing more common amongst us than female drunkards. Women ought to be more modest than men; the holy scriptures recommend modesty to women in particular;-- But drunken women have no modesty at all. It is more intolerable for a woman to get drunk, if we consider further that she is in great danger of falling into the hands of the sons of Belial, or wicked men and being shamefully treated by them.
        And here I cannot but observe, we find in sacred writ, a wo denounced against men who put their bottles to their neighbors mouth to make them drunk, that they may see their nakedness: And no doubt there are such devilish men now in our days, as there were in the days of old.
        And to conclude, Consider my poor kindred, you that are drunkards, into what a miserable condition you have brought yourselves. There is a dreadful wo thundering against you every day, and the Lord says, That drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.
        And now let me exhort you all to break off from your drunkenness, by a gospel repentance, and believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved. Take warning by this doleful sight before us, and by all the dreadful judgments that have befallen poor drunkards. O let us reform our lives, and live as becomes dying creatures, in time to come. Let us {103} be persuaded that we are accountable creatures to God, and we must be called to an account in a few days. You that have been careless all your days, now awake to righteousness, and be concerned for your poor never-dying souls. Fight against all sins, and especially the sin that easily besets you, and behave in time to come as becomes rational creatures; and above all things receive and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall have eternal life; and when you come to die, your souls will be received into heaven, there to be with the Lord Jesus in eternal happiness, with all the saints in glory: Which God of his infinite mercy grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord.--Amen.


As it is expected that the inquisitive Public will be desirous to know some particulars of Moses Paul, the following sketch of his Life and character, were collected chiefly from his own mouth.

        MOSES PAUL, was born in the town of Barnstable, and province of the Massachusetts-Bay, about the year 1742.
        His Father, (as he has been told) died at the Siege of Louisbourg, in the year 1745.--He remembers but little of his Mother, only that she was a constant attendant on Divine Worship, in the Presbyterian Meeting House in Barnstable.
        When about five years old, he was bound an apprentice to Mr. John Manning, of Windham, in this Government, with whom he lived fourteen or fifteen years, and in whose family he learnt to read and write, and where he was instructed in many important articles of the Christian Religion.
        After he left Mr. Manning's family, he inlisted in the Provincial Army, in Col. Putnam's company and regiment. He says, that he contracted many sinful habits in the Army, which before his enlistment he was a stranger to the practice of.
        Soon after the campaign was over, he engaged in the seafaring business, which he followed for several years, as well in ships of war, as in Merchants service, where he got confirmed in those evil habits which he too easily imbibed in the Army, which almost entirely eradicated from his mind, those good principles in which he had been instructed, while he liv'd in Mr. Manning's family.
        For these three or four years, (since he has left the sea) he has resided in this Government, living but a little while in a place.--In the {104} month of September last, he went to New-Haven, and living in a very unsteady way, often getting intoxicated with strong drink, and following other dissolute practices, till on the seventh of December last, in the evening, at Mr. Clark's Tavern, in the Parish of Bethany, he wounded Mr. Moses Cook of Waterbury, (who put up at Mr. Clark's as a lodger) with a club, and of which wound he died on Thursday night following.--The murderer was the same evening pursued and taken, and the next day he was committed to Goal in New-Haven.
        On the twentieth of the same month, his trial came on in this county before the Honorable Superior Court, when after a fair and impartial hearing, which lasted a whole day, he was found guilty of the murder of said Cook, and sentenced to be hanged.
        He has been accused of committing other Murders; particularly of killing a Sailor in the West Indies, of which charges as a dying person he declares his innocency, and that he has ben guilty of no murder, but that for which he is condemned to die.
        He gratefully acknowledges the kindness of the Ministers in the town, for their unwearied attendance on him, in his imprisonment and hopes that their endeavors to promote his spiritual and eternal welfare, has been attended with some good effect.
        He earnestly wishes that his untimely end, may be a means of detering others, from following those sinful practices which has made him so Public an Example for his sin and folly.


       1One of the most popular British writers of his day, Isaac Watts (1674- 1748) was especially acclaimed for his hymns, which were the first in England to express spiritual emotions and to make hymn-singing a powerful devotional force. Occom quotes from Watts's Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament (1719), #613.
      Occom's spellings are retained. [ ] indicates the addition of a letter obviously omitted in error.

       2John 1.11

       3Psalms 14.1

       4For Solomon's comments on fools, see especially Proverbs 12.13, 14.8, 14.24, 15.2

       5James 3.8

       6Psalms 58.3

       7John 6.70, 8.44

       8Romans 5.12

       9Genesis 2.16-17

       10Genesis 2.16-17

       11Ephesians 2.1

       12Mathew Henry (1662-1714), a British non-conformist divine and commentator, is best known for his Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1710). Occom cites his commentary on Ephesians 2.1.

       13Galatians 2.20.

       14Occom paraphrases 1 John 4.8, 12-13.

      15Smithfield was an open area in London where jousts, tournaments, executions, burnings were held. In the nineteenth century it was the location of a great cattle market.

       16Genesis 32.10

       17John 3.16

       18Ephesians 2.8

       19Genesis 9.6

       20Mathew 11.28


John Lowe

        Christopher Newman, that quintessential American abroad, opens James's The American by occupying a huge circular divan at the Louvre; he sits, spreads his arms and legs, and fills up all the space he possibly can. He is, of course, from the West (where else?) and his WASP identity puts him on the interior of the American dream. A French aristocrat quite rightly nominates him for the title of "Duke of California."
        The word California has always had a certain magical poetic resonance for Americans, partly because of the state's tremendous size, but also because of its unique and abundant beauty. It is the original dream of the New World garden magnificently magnified and gilded. Indeed, the term "golden republic" refers to the native grasses, themselves emblematic of the state's general fecundity, but also to the mother-lodes of gold discovered in the mid-l800s, facts that underline the tensions inherent in the state's identity. Aware of these ironies, Yellow Bird (John Rollin Ridge), in The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit, gives us a saga of space and freedom set in the Golden Republic's halcyon days of the l850s. It is, to be sure, a story with a didactic purpose that pushes a moral message, and much of it is mediocre and slack; at its best, however, it is a powerful reminder of how both the interior and the exterior of the American dream have always depended on the appropriation of space for the concept of identity, and how the politics of displaced and relocated peoples can give rise to heroic and sometimes mythical folk literature. Increasingly, it has been the important task of those denied the benefits of American life--the poor, the dispossessed, blacks, Native Americans, and immigrants--to remind all Americans of who they are, and what America says it is. Fighting a battle for equality, armed with an awareness of our stated national principles and the demand that they be extended to all, they keep a national dynamic alive.
        John Rollin Ridge (Yellow Bird was his tribal name) was born in Georgia to one of the most powerful families in the Cherokee Nation. The Ridges saw the inevitability of the Federal Government's plan to relocate the Nation, and urged a negotiated acceptance, thus pitting themselves against the equally powerful Ross family. The issue had really been resolved, however, when gold was discovered in north Georgia.
        When the Rosses killed both Yellow Bird's father and grandfather, the family fled. Yellow Bird killed a man himself in a dispute, and went to California to mine gold. Failing, he embarked on a literary career, but remained fixated on finding a way to exact revenge. Meanwhile, he vented his spleen by indirectly damning U.S. imperialism in California when he dramatized the contemporary and compelling legend of Joaquin Murieta, seeing an affinity between their wronged ethnic, familial, and sexual honor. His publishers obviously saw it, too; the "Publishers' Preface" to the original edition, in its insistence that the author is "a `Cherokee Indian' born in the woods--reared in the midst of the wildest scenery--and familiar with all that is thrilling, fearful, and tragical in a forest life" (2), seems intent on establishing a romantic yet forbidding association between the author and the pre-existing tradition of the Noble Savage. This figure connected, in the popular imagination, with the mastery of treacherous space: the forest, forever linked in the Eurocentric mind with the moral "wood of error," the labyrinth, and the abode of the devil. The physical Western counterpart of these images could easily be found in the desert, the plains, the mountains, and all of these function in Joaquin's narrative; indeed, the expulsion from Eden/home is a constant theme.
        Joaquin Murieta, unlike Christopher Newman, but like Ridge himself, is on the exterior of the American dream, a Mexican whose homestead in California has been snatched from under him by the Anglo government. And yet, we must be careful in building this parallel; as his biographer notes, Ridge paradoxically favored assimilation as the ultimate answer to the "Indian question," and eagerly pursued wealth and position in Anglo America for himself and his family (Parins 2). Ridge seems to have been caught in limbo, neither inside nor outside, and his writing resonates with that tension, which helps account for what seems his exuberant relief in the expansive spatial metaphors of Murieta's story.
        The Joaquin myth was a composite of several bandits' careers. In Joaquin, Ridge faithfully follows the basic facts, but interweaves them with details suggested by his own life; as noted, his family was originally driven, along with most other Cherokees, from Northern Georgia, where the discovery of gold led to a land rush for Indian property. Ridge arrived in California in 1850, the same year that Joaquin rides up from Mexico. As his family was in Georgia, Joaquin is driven from his gold field claim, by both predatory Anglo marauders and an equally unjust set of laws which persecuted foreign-born miners with an outrageous tax. Unlike Ridge, however, Murieta terrorizes most of California and is pursued and finally killed by a crude gang of deputies under the leadership of Captain Harry Love. His head and the {108} hand of Three-Fingered Jack, his sidekick, are preserved in alcohol, and then go on display for years in the sideshows and "museums" of the state as a warning to others. Rumor has it that they were lost in the great San Francisco fire and earthquake, which would seem to be an appropriate coda to a heroic and brutal tale that takes much of its power from that of Nature.
        We might further note the metonymy involved here, and the hidden intent of Anglo society. The spatial confinement of the robbers' bodily parts backfires, for as their subsequent display across the state portrays, they are rather considered icons, retaining tremendous power. What makes Ridge's Joaquin story different from its many other variants, and adds to the residual power of the myth, is its romantic and poetic evocation of Joaquin and his enchanted progress through the edenic spaces of the Golden Republic. This aspect of the text perhaps accounts for its popularity in California, for in addition to providing the state with a heroic myth, it sets it against what Gaston Bachelard calls images of "felicitous space," which grow out of a kind of "topophilia," a mapping of space we love, space "that may be defended against adverse forces," and also space that may thus also be "eulogized" and therefore further "poeticized" (Bachelard xxxi).
        The concept of space and poetics has been given its most impressive treatment by Bachelard, a French phenomenologist and scientist, who led a rather obscure academic life in the crowded ambiance of Paris. In La Poetique de l'espace (1958), Bachelard traces our childhood identification of our psychic lives with areas in the houses we inhabit. He goes on to make profound links between the way we conceptualize the broader world of nature and our interior selves. Anyone familiar with the similar "topophilia" of Native American literatures will see the usefulness of Bachelard here, and the centrality of Joaquin Murieta to that pattern. I shall make broad use of his theories here in an attempt to portray the meaning of Ridge's apparently random semiotics of landscape, and to demonstrate their metaphysical and political implications.
        Joaquin begins traditionally but significantly with the narrator's words, "I sit down to write somewhat concerning the life and character of Joaquin Murieta" (7). The sedentary stance of the author, a trite commonplace, here becomes an effective contrast to an extraordinarily mobile hero, whom the narrator then refers to as a "truly wonderful man" who was nothing more nor less than the "natural production of the social and moral condition of the country in which he lived, acting upon certain peculiar circumstances favorable to such a result, and consequently, his individual history is a part of the most valuable history of the State" (7). The narrator is interested in establishing {109} Joaquin's amazing ability to range freely and quickly through the vast spaces of California; he therefore claims that although there were supposedly at least five "sanguinary devils" named Joaquin ranging the country at one and the same time, there was really only one Joaquin Murieta.
        Our omniscient guide then quickly sketches in the series of outrages that transformed Joaquin into an outlaw. Here the story has much in common, in a symbolic sense, with more current explorations of imperialism and empire, such as The Jewel in the Crown and David Lean's film of A Passage to India, for all three feature a cry of rape to signify what has been done to a country and a people. Daphne Manners, in Crown, actually is gang-raped, but the crime is falsely ascribed to Harry Kumar, an Indian; in Passage, the hysterical Adela Quested accuses her Indian friend, Dr. Aziz, of attempting to rape her in the Malabar caves. Both novels, written by Englishmen, ironically focus on unjust charges against men who represent whole cultures that have been "raped" by the British Raj. In Ridge's novel, the rape of Rosita (Joaquin's mistress) by Anglos similarly and ironically comments on the "rape" of displaced Hispanics in California, and obliquely on the "rape" of the Cherokees, whose tragic story of displacement and disintegration is surely on Ridge's mind as he maps out parallel events in California.
        In Joaquin, after the title figure has been ousted from successful ventures in mining and farming, he is forced to witness Rosita's rape, which is soon followed by the murder of his half-brother by a crazed vigilante mob of Anglos. These events have a catastrophic affect upon Joaquin, which is expressed in a spatial metaphor: "His soul swelled beyond its former boundaries, and the barriers of honor, rocked into atoms by the strong passion which shook his heart like an earthquake, crumbled around him. Then it was that he declared . . . he would live henceforth for revenge and that his path should be marked with blood" (12-13). Joaquin's circle of self, thwarted in its effort to grow via the traditional American way (hard work, enterprise, and democratic comradeship), has burst through into a new and larger circle through the passion of anger. His vow to cut a "bloody path" through the state as he avenges the wrongs done to him and his family presages ever widening circles of spatial/criminal conquest. His path echoes several principles set down in the 1840s by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his seminal essay "Circles." In one of literary transcendentalism's prime expressions, Emerson gives space and confinement elemental circular forms, first in the human eye, and then, significantly, in nature, for "the horizon" formed by the eyes is the second circle man knows, a "primary figure" that is repeated "without end" in nature (263). Here {110} and in his other essays Emerson maps out an imperial self that properly seeks expansion and power, a process generated from, and paralleled by, Nature itself. The concept of the self expressed by ever-expanding concentric circles has a demonic side as well; at one point in "Circles," Emerson relates his expanding circles of self to the explosive anger expressed by Joaquin: "But the heart refuses to be imprisoned; in its first and narrowest pulses it already tends outward with a vast force and to immense and innumerable expansions" (265).
        Theories of "self-reliance" and the "imperial self" fed into the ideology of manifest destiny; better manifestations, however, had much in common with the desires and aspirations of the people whose ethnic identity marked them as barriers--and therefore enemies--to Anglo dreams. These ideas would find magnificent expression in other key works of the period, particularly in Hawthorne's exploration of the "magic circles" of the self in The Scarlet Letter (1850) and in Melville's critique of unleashed darker elements of Emersonian and capitalist ideology, Moby-Dick (1851), books published only a few years before Joaquin. Although it is beyond the scope of this paper, The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta surely demands to be studied alongside these books and other masterworks of what we have called the "American Renaissance," as well as with newer members of the canon such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Harriet Jacobs. As in many of those narratives, in Joaquin Murieta we follow a somewhat romantic and poetic evocation of a hero through edenic spaces, but it is a vision that co-exists with a gruesome litany of murders, robberies and tortures. Yellow Bird was able to achieve this fusion, perhaps, because he was taking folkloric materials and transforming them into narrative virtually at their moment of formation. Bakhtin has demonstrated that the novel's roots must ultimately be sought in folklore, where the object of artistic representation is degraded to the level of a contemporary reality, and the fluid periods of history are ideal for furnishing such material (Bakhtin 39).
        Furthermore, as is often the case with an American "classic," Joaquin's narrative charts a key moment in American history, a time when prospectors from all over the world converged on the mother lode. The folklore that developed quickly became the stuff of legend and literature, with Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and others mining it. What has been left out of the literature, however, is the displacement of Mexican-Americans. The United States victory over Mexico in 1848 coincided almost exactly with the discovery of California gold. Two years later the state's legislature passed a "Foreign Miners' Tax Law"; ironically, Germans, French, and for a time, Chinese were permitted to stay, but Latino miners were forced out. The great Mexican ranches {111} in the state, with their hundreds of dependents, contributed a vast displaced population; some became outlaws who were supported by many in the Hispanic community.
        The force of history seemed to accelerate drastically during these years, and Joaquin's hectic narrative keeps fictional pace. As the narrator points out, one of the most amazing things about the ensuing and terrifying assassinations of the men who had brutalized Joaquin and his family is the swiftness with which the miscreants are dispatched. Throughout the tale, the banditti act swiftly; celerity works hand in hand with mastery of space. Joaquin's apparent ability to be everywhere is partially explained in the text, as the narrator conflates another Joaquin story by having the actual Joaquin Valenzuela (one of the five Joaquins) function as Joaquin Murieta's lieutenant. This also implies that Joaquin operates as part of a long line of Mexican bandits, for Valenzuela, we are told, rode with the famous guerilla chief, Padre Jurata, in Mexico, and presumably has schooled Joaquin in the tricks of the trade.
        Physical security, often expressed in terms of spatial refuge, frequently set as Nature's bosom, also finds illustration in material goods that answer immediate temporal needs. Joaquin's only safety is said, for instance, to lie "in a persistence in the unlawful course which he had begun. It was necessary that he should have horses and that he should have money" (13-14). Soon the local newspapers are full of attacks on ranchers, coaches, and travelers:

The scenes of murder and robbery shifted with the rapidity of lightning. At one time, the northern countries would be suffering slaughters and depredations, at another the southern, and, before one would have imagined it possible, the east and the west, and every point of the compass would be in trouble . . . the country . . . was so well adapted to a business of this kind--the houses scattered at such distances along the roads, the plains so level and open in which to ride with speed, and the mountains so rugged with their ten thousand fastnesses in which to hide. (15)

As Joaquin's mastery of space expands, that of the public at large shrinks, for "all dreaded to travel the public roads" (22), a circumstance that contributes powerfully to the Anglo community's growing anger and resentment.
        Joaquin's most impressive feat comes when he is surprised by a band of men in a canyon:

His only practicable path was a narrow digger-trail which led along the side of a huge mountain, directly over a ledge of rocks a hundred yards in length, which hung beatling over the rushing stream beneath in a direct line with the hill {112} . . . It was a fearful gauntlet for any man to run . . . [there was] danger of falling 100 feet . . . [he] must run in a parallel line with his enemies . . . with their revolvers drawn. He dashed along that fearful trail as if he had been mounted upon a spirit-steed, shouting as he passed, "I am Joaquin! Kill me if you can!" (87)

It is hardly surprising that this is the moment in the book that artists have most often depicted (it appears on the cover of the current Oklahoma Press edition), for as Ridge remarks, "It was perfectly sublime to see such super-human daring and recklessness" (87). We may read the scene's spatial semiotics both ethnically and politically: Murieta, belonging to neither the Indian nor the Anglo world, nor even to the community of law-abiding but oppressed Mexicans, rides a razor thin ridge (also the author's last name) of marginality throughout the book, boldly outlined against nature, riding on it, across it, against it, supported by it yet threatened by it (the abyss) as well. Politically, he is alien, outlaw, racial and religious other; but all this becomes transcended through his "sublime" mastery of American space(s), much of it forbidden. Again and again, the narrator refers to Joaquin's lightning-like ability to range across the land as "magical." He is also careful, however, to provide a counterpoint of realistic reasons for Joaquin's success, such as the general support and encouragement the protagonist receives from the rest of the Mexican community, the unsettled condition of the country, the isolation of the mining regions, and so forth. Joaquin also, like Robin Hood, deals gently with those who support him, and many ranchers buy protection by sheltering the band for the night and keeping quiet about it later.
        Yellow Bird takes care to authenticate space. He understands the value time has in setting the boundaries of place, and when Joaquin is in a specific vicinity, the narrator frequently gives the precise date, quotes local newspapers for details of the location, and annotates towns, rivers, mountains, and even gullies. One may easily chart Joaquin's course across the state by following Yellow Bird's narrative mapping. Arroyos, rocks, prominent features in the terrain are also added, not for scenic effect but to reify the landscape. Two men are traveling on a road, specifically the one "that leads up Feather River, near to the Honcut Creek, which puts into that stream" (21). Similarly, the complementary grid of temporal reality is overlaid on the natural. When Joaquin is said to be in a specific locale, Ridge includes sentences supposedly taken from newspapers in passages like this: "The Marysville Herald of November 15, 1851, speaking of the horrible state of affairs, has the following remarkable paragraph: `Seven men have been murdered within three or four days in a region of country not {113} more than twelve miles in extent'" (21). All this is necessary; Joaquin's mastery of space will not be magical unless the land itself is realistic and believable.
        The most important statement of this central theme comes when Joaquin relocates to a spot near Mount Shasta in the northern part of the state. The mountain, Ridge maintains, "serves at a distance of two hundred miles to direct the course of the mountain-traveler, being to him as the polar star to the mariner" (23). Mount Shasta "rears its white shaft at all seasons of the year high above every other peak . . . in its garments of snow like some mighty archangel, filling the heaven with his solemn presence" (23). This rather trite description nevertheless parallels Yellow Bird's main themes, for like Joaquin, Mount Shasta towers above its peers, is unassailable and unavoidable, and extends into space both horizontally and vertically.
        The mountain creates a peak of sorts in the narrative as well, for Yellow Bird inserts his two and a half page poem, "Mount Shasta, Seen from a Distance." At first the mountain is personified as a proud blasphemer, a tower of pride that defies the storms of heaven which beat against it in wrath. Mount Shasta, however, is not static; age by age, it is still "rising higher/ Into Heaven!" (23). In an astonishing turn, Yellow Bird reveals that the mountain, far from being the blasphemous rebel that it seems to be, was created by God and symbolizes the higher law of God that man should strive to attain. "And well this Golden State shall thrive, if, like/ Its own Mount Shasta, sovereign law shall lift/ Itself in purer atmosphere--so high/ That human feeling, human passion, at its base shall lie subdued . . . Its pure administration shall be like/ The snow, immaculate upon that mountain's brow!" (25). In his poem Ridge points to the discrepancy between what the law should be and what it actually is.
        This long apostrophe to the mountain enables Yellow Bird to take us as readers high above the state to share this lofty monarch's view of "the fertile/ Vale, and undulating plains below, the grass . . . ." From this vantage point we understand the purifying effect that Shasta has on the land, for from its flanks come cool breezes and vapors which "guarantee . . . health and happiness" to the farms and farmer below. Even better, and more romantically, the mountain inspires "loftier feelings . . . nobler thoughts" for the humble plowman; little children, asking who made the mountain, learn from their mothers it is God's creation. We thus, like the spotted hawk in Walt Whitman's similarly conceived Song of Myself (1855), aspire to "the eagle's cloudless height" and the clear-eyed perspective on American nature and the law that should proceed from the continent's grandeur and majestic space. The poem ends, in fact, by transforming this "blasphemous" babel-like {114} natural phenomenon into a symbol of law, a pure white shaft that towers above man's activities as a moral guide. It is in the shadow of this peak that Joaquin and his men take refuge for several months, descending at intervals into the valley below to steal horses with the aid of the Indians.
        How does all this work in the overall scheme of the novel? Mount Shasta suggests the doubled nature of Joaquin, who as rebel against an unjust set of laws that discriminate against Mexicans, actually represents a purer law. Like Mount Shasta, his freedom in space gives him a kind of vertical presence in the society of men as well; like most mythical bandits, his actions, which take place during hard times for many people, offer heroic and poetic imaginative space and freedom for the oppressed and the weak who lack Joaquin's resourcefulness and courage. The fact that the mountain's base in earthly nature is frequently obscured by clouds aligns with Joaquin's mythical stance, one much like trickster's, between God and man. Moreover, the cooperation with California Indians underlines Yellow Bird's doubled role as narrator, and begins a long skein of references to the shameful treatment Native Americans had received in the Golden State, both as victims and as scapegoats. Ridge will charge, in fact, "The ignorant Indians suffered for many a deed which had been perpetrated by civilized hands. It will be recollected by many persons who resided at Yreka and on Scott's River in the fall and winter of 1851 how many `prospecters' [sic] were lost in the mountains and never again heard from; how many were found dead, supposed to have been killed by the Indians, and yet bearing upon their bodies the marks of knives and bullets quite as frequently as arrows" (27).
        Joaquin's role as trickster and his alignment with Indians dovetail in the episode in which he and his men are robbed by the Tejons. The trickster, as mediator between God and man, usually has his way, but if he did so always he would be all too close to the status of God; therefore, he too must occasionally come to grief, as Coyote, Raven, and Brer Rabbit all do from time to time. Moreover, it is often true that a weaker creature does the tricking of the trickster, and that is precisely how the Tejons function here. As masters of the region's terrain and as silent, superb hunters, the Tejons have little difficulty surprising Joaquin and his band, stripping them naked, and beating them soundly with willow rods. The episode is a version of the "trickster tricked" motif that Paul Radin has identified in trickster narratives, one also found in African American folktales, and confirmed by Ridge's statement that "The robbers were robbed" (40). Joaquin, however, laughs off the episode, and refuses to take revenge on Old Chief Sapatarra and his band. He knows, as we do, that they {115} were inspired to this mischief by a wealthy white rancher, who sought their aid in retrieving stock the bandits had stolen. Moreover, when Joaquin's band, men and women alike, are stripped naked by the Tejons the men find new clothing, while the women hide themselves in the brush, "like mother Eve"; the phrase points both to the regenerative nature all around them and to the parallels between their retreats and the Garden of Eden/Mythical Nest.
        It should not be supposed, however, that Ridge is in tight consort with California Indians; his portraits of them are quite mixed, perhaps because of his own ancestry in a supposedly more "civilized" tribe, the Georgia Cherokees, who had their own alphabet, had adopted white modes of production, and had established thriving business enterprises before the forced march to the West. In a later scene, he paints the Tejon Nation in lazy poses, as they eat acorns and worms, and charges them with treachery and cowardice. When they succeed in robbing Joaquin and his band, Ridge comments, "The poor, miserable, cowardly Tejons had achieved a greater triumph over them than all the Americans put together!" (38). Nor are the Tejons the only Native people who operate against Joaquin; later, some Cherokees aid the Anglo pursuers, and kill two of Murieta's band. Presumably, Ridge had in mind those renegades who sided with the Ross faction rather than his own family; there were no good Indians, per se, for Ridge, even in his own tribe.
        Similarly, Ridge's verdict on the Digger Indians is mixed; like the Mark Twain of Roughing It, he has contempt for their supposedly low standards of living and their employment in menial positions by Anglos, but he admits that in their capacity as runners bearing mail, they are "very expeditious on foot and willing to travel a considerable distance for a small piece of bread, fresh meat, or a ragged shirt. I have known them to swim rivers when the waters were high and dangerous in order to carry a letter to its destination. They are exceedingly faithful in this business, having a superstitious dread of that mysterious power which makes a paper talk without a mouth" (130). Although they are admired for their mastery over time and space, their ignorance, superstition, and servile natures undercut this quality. In short, Joaquin's ability to achieve his own rough version of justice in an unjust world is a beacon of hope for all oppressed Californians--exemplified in his frequent, but sometimes problematic, alliance with the Indians.
        Joaquin and his band cannot be continually in motion; such a plot would be as exhausting to the reader as it would be to the men, and would violate the traditional pattern in the Robin Hood genre that Ridge follows. Like Robin, Joaquin has a mistress, Rosita, who travels with {116} him, like Maid Marian; his gang is full of idiosyncratic desperadoes; and most important for this discussion, Murieta's band has an abundance of natural hideouts to return to for rest and recuperation: the rugged arroyos are their Sherwood Forest. Bachelard would term these hidden strongholds "nests," and indeed, that is the way Yellow Bird describes them. The most beautiful is the Arroyo Cantoova, fenced in by impenetrable mountains. It contains rich pasturage for the many animals Joaquin and his band steal from the ranchers. Entrance is limited to a narrow pass which can be guarded and defended by only a handful of men; even better, the arroyo is at least one hundred and fifty miles from any human habitation. Despite these forbidding characteristics, the "nest" is attractive. "Embosomed" by the mountains, the retreat abounds in wild game and features a luxurious grove of evergreen oaks which Joaquin and his "still blooming companion" Rosita inhabit; the refuge is the band's bower of bliss, roofed by "rich foliage," "carpeted" with grass and flowers (28).
        The various nests/sanctuaries of the novel operate as many other features of Yellow Bird's poetic landscapes do; as Bachelard would say, they give us back the situations of our dreams, in this case, the dream of security. This idea is as old as Theocritus and the pastoral tradition, where a simplification of setting and character enables the poet/writer to reduce complex ideas to essences. Attic shepherds and shepherdesses, whether inhabiting Virgil's Eclogues, Shakespeare's Arden Forest, or Faulkner's bucolic Mississippi, may introduce probing aesthetic and moral arguments and propositions effortlessly and clearly against the untroubled rural backdrop, whose "bosom" shelters but also nourishes the body and the spirit. An alternate to the tradition has always been the hidden refuge of the bandit, which popular novels and operas often feature; Blackmoore's Lorna Doone, Scott's Rob Roy, Bizet's Carmen and Verdi's Il Trovatore all feature hidden banditti mountain paradises. They are places to go when someone cries, "Flee! All is discovered!" All readers can relate to this; as Bachelard notes, nests are the imaginative and supremely safe childhood spaces we yearn for in daydreams (99). In political terms (and we should not forget that Murieta represents a persecuted and exiled minority and a proto-guerilla movement), the retreats are reminiscent of those of the montagnards of Vietnam or the freedom fighters in Afghanistan.
        Yellow Bird, however, makes this "nest" uniquely and unforgettably American. The thrust of Nature, the interplay between Mexicans and Indians, the guns and horses and sweeping rides over vast plains of western narrative--all these qualities and several more, linked with American republican iconology and transcendentalism, stimulate shocks of recognition for the American reader. It is here, in this natural {117} "house," that Joaquin promises Rosita that one day he will soon complete his revenge, take his booty and retire to a peaceful ranch, where he will build her a "pleasant home," the ultimate sacred space for Yellow Bird's domestic readers. Just three years earlier in Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe had created parallel domestic "nests" for runaway slaves in properly Victorian American homes--homes purposely delineated as identical to those of her readers.
        Part of Joaquin's revenge lies in the invasion of precisely this domestic space: many of the murders he commits take place in the homes of his victims, and he delights in secret penetration of other social spaces as well. In one of the novel's most famous scenes, Joaquin, in disguise, is playing monte in a saloon in Mokelumne Hill when his fellow players begin a discussion about the dreaded Joaquin. One of them boasts that he would "just like once in his life to come across Joaquin, and that he would kill him as quick as he would a snake," whereupon Joaquin jumps up on the table, brandishes his pistol and shouts "I am Joaquin! if there is any shooting to do, I am in" (31). He has impishly "become the game," and as so often happens in the book, his action ruptures the narrative: it precipitates a chase, hurling the reader into yet another whirlwind across the landscape. But Joaquin's escape into vast space is underlined by his preceding ability to puncture the restricted space, the "temple" of the profane Anglo world, the saloon. Murieta is not content merely to penetrate this sanctum sanctorum of the patriarchs; the poker table, a doubled altar, with the gods of money above and guns below, is literally trampled and profaned by Joaquin's muddy boots. However, Joaquin is not a blasphemer of the truly sacred. He and his colleagues are befriended by the Catholic Church and take shelter for weeks at a time at places like the mission of San Gabriel, thereby appropriating sacred as well as secular space and adding yet another "nest" for rest and recuperation. More often, however, Joaquin returns to the maternal embrace of the arroyos, moving back and forth between his multi-directional raids and his secret mountain dens, "so rugged with their ten thousand fastnesses in which to hide" (15).
        Who can stop this "outrageous" bandit? Clearly, only a man such as Captain Harry Love, who is as masterful as Joaquin in transcending space and time. That is exactly how the bandit's ultimate nemesis is introduced, quite early in the book, long before he is to kill Joaquin:

Love had served as an express rider in the Mexican war and had borne dispatches from one military post to another over the most dangerous tracts of Mexico. He had traveled alone for hundreds of miles over mountains and deserts . . . Riding fleet horses and expert in the use of the lasso, it {118} required a well-mounted horseman to escape [bandits] on the open plains, and many a hard race with them has the Captain had to save his neck and the valuable papers in his charge. (34)

Similarly, the real Love's men succeed in tracking Murieta partly because, as Edwin Corle has observed, they are "expert horsemen, superb marksmen and perfectly capable of handling themselves in any terrain, be it the coastal valleys, the dry deserts or the High Sierras" (Corle 270). Furthermore, Love comes from a pioneer background, and is thus suited to the hardships and dangers of border life. Finally, in his role as Deputy Sheriff of Los Angeles County, he is a representative of the law that Joaquin scorns.
        Still, Love has difficulty finding the charmed Murieta. Throughout the book Ridge creates the impression that Joaquin is enclosed in a magical space, making him immune to legal retribution, no matter how close the situation has become. This theme frequently becomes interwoven with the concepts of moral space as well. One evening, Joaquin, riding alone, meets Joe Lake, a friend of his "more happy and honest days." After the men exchange greetings, the text quickly becomes sentimental: Joaquin weeps, confesses that he is not the man he once was, admits that he hates almost all Americans but still loves Joe, and implores Joe not to betray him. "Lake assured him there was no danger, and the two parted, for the wide gulf of dishonor yawned between them, and they could never again be united" (51). Lake, unaware of Joaquin's uncanny ability to be everywhere at once, immediately betrays his friend to Americans in Ornetas while a serape-clad Mexican listens; this bystander, Joaquin's spy, reports to the master himself, who is just outside. Charging "you have lied to me," Murieta shoots Lake dead. An instant later, Joaquin is seen on top of a nearby hill with fifty men, once again protected by "the magical luck which pursued this man, following him like an invisible guardian fiend in every hour of his peril" (51). The passage reaffirms our sense of Joaquin's "magical" space and mastery of space, but adds the sense of moral distance that divide men, especially those "gulfs" dictated by ethnicity and imperialist history.
        Such passages--and there are several--are more than merely adventures. They exemplify the ballooning myth of Joaquin in the state that Ridge was chronicling; as Joseph Henry Jackson has stated, "Hardly a town along the Mother Lode is without its cavern, cellar, or tunnel, in or through which Murieta dodged the law," and the tales that relate these episodes are repeated "solemnly as truth," as genuine myths always are (Jackson 110-111). Harry Hansen's Guide to the Golden State lists many "shrines" to Joaquin across the state, including a resort called Murietta [sic] Hot Springs, a museum claiming to have his red {119} sash, and various others, typified by the town of Murphys: "The town has the usual Joaquin Murrieta [sic] legend: here the ubiquitous bad man is said to have been a three-card monte dealer in 1851 and to have begun his bloody career when his brother, unjustly . . . was hanged" (Hansen 446, 447, 491-494, 524). Although the various versions of the tale over the years have taken many liberties, there is one quality they all share: mastery of space. When Edwin Corle published his study of banditry in 1949, he emphasized that Joaquin's "forays ranged throughout the gold towns in the High Sierras and up and down the Royal Highway, and nobody could be sure just where he was, what he was planning or where he would strike next" (Corle 267).
        One explanation for this magical space comes from the concept of banditti solidarity. Together, the band is strong, but if their principle of e pluribus unum falters, disaster ensues. For instance, when Joaquin and his band need to move through the Los Angeles section of the state, Love's home territory, they separate so as not to be detected. It is here that Reyes, Joaquin's friend and Rosita's brother, is captured and hanged, shortly after Love has found and murdered Gonzalez. As Joaquin's band fragments and is reduced, it seems, so are his powers; it seems important that this process begins in an area where land has been massively appropriated from Hispanics and where pre-modern life presents obstacles, both physical, social, and psychic, to the unfettered movements of the banditti. Twenty men are lost in one fight alone, including the valued lieutenant Claudio. Soon afterward, Mountain Jim is hanged in San Diego.
        The differing locales for these events indicate the sweep of Joaquin's network across the state once again, but also demonstrate the menace increasing settlement and urbanization pose to space and freedom--and not just for outlaws. Joaquin astutely sees these events as an evil omen, one dictating the need to act swiftly and conclusively. Once back in Arroyo Cantoova, he announces a master plan of destruction that will end his days as a bandit. Now that he commands 2,000 men spread over the state, he intends to make a clean sweep of the southern counties, killing and burning as he goes on toward the refuge of Sonora. "When I do this, I shall wind up my career. My brothers, we will then be revenged for our wrongs, and some little, too, for the wrongs of our poor, bleeding country. We will divide our substance and spend the rest of our days in peace" (75). This last campaign begins in earnest with a strategic attack by Joaquin's full forces on Calaveras County, which is described by Ridge in edenic terms. The gang's terrifying assault brings on the final conflict with Captain Love, which is made possible by Joaquin's inexplicable decision to travel apart from his band and with only three followers.
        Joaquin in these last pages is not the man he was, as is suggested {120} earlier in the scene with Lake. His decision to leave a trail of scorched earth behind him actually masks what amounts to his surrender. What causes this change? Bachelard suggests that a true poetics of space is based in simple images of felicitous space; he also stresses the concepts of interiority and exteriority that exist in the human imagination, depending on the type of reaction the person in question has to the spaces that surround him. Joaquin, an outcast in the world of man, initially poeticizes the world of nature positively, in the mode of Bachelard's "topophilics"; he has not been "cast into the world" since he has opened it through his actions. As a master of space, he is a master of nature, and in its subservience it is beautiful proof of his identity. In his interior daydreams, the vast landscapes of California which he effortlessly covers are corresponding symbols of his interior immensity. Like a poet cited by Bachelard, Joaquin might say, "As I stood in contemplation of the garden of the wonders of space I had the feeling that I was looking into the ultimate depths, the most secret regions of my own being; and I smiled, because it had never occurred to me that I could be so pure, so great, so fair! My heart burst into singing . . . All these constellations are yours, they exist in you" (189). It would be easy to find similar passages in Ridge's contemporaries, Cooper, Emerson, Whitman and Thoreau, and in other Native American writings, but let us continue in a French vein: Baudelaire writes, "In certain almost supernatural inner states, the depth of life is entirely revealed in the spectacle, however ordinary, that we have before our eyes, and which becomes the symbol of it," thereby permitting intimate grandeur to unfold (cited in Bachelard 195). Moreover, as Bachelard suggests, movement within vastness magnifies this feeling: "When the dreamer really experiences the word immense, he sees himself liberated from his cares and thoughts, even from his dreams. He is no longer shut up in his weight, the prisoner of his own being" (195).
        Unfortunately, perceptions can change. Joaquin's transcendence of his sense of being on the outside eventually becomes a trap; the originally authenticating sense of identification with the powers of vast landscapes pales. Bachelard quotes the poet Jules Supervielle's reactions to similarly endless rides on the South American pampas: "Precisely because of too much riding and too much freedom, and of the unchanging horizon, in spite of our desperate gallopings, the pampa assumed the aspect of a prison for me, a prison that was bigger than the others" (cited in Bachelard 221). Joaquin, however, as I have suggested, seems to understand that even the vast sweep of wild California will have to submit to the empire of the Anglos; his "pampas," unlike Supervielle's, are not "unchanging." Moreover, no matter how big the space, if it offers no sanctuary except in hidden {121} enclaves, is it not still a prison, no matter how vast? Finally, of course, the ever-constricting wild landscape, always a metaphor for the mind itself, mirrors the internal constriction of identity, and the possibilities of topographic transcendence collapse.
        We can only go so far, however, in reading Murieta's sensibilities; Ridge created a composite hero to command our attention, but was unable to satisfactorily develop his psychology. To Ridge's credit, however, our interest in, and frustrations with, the narrative relate to more important issues than the psychology of Joaquin; Murieta's story, calculated for popular appeal, has more to tell us than we suspect. A parallel version, the 1936 movie The Robin Hood of El Dorado (which ironically and predictably cast the Anglo Warner Baxter in Joaquin's role), was made in an escapist mode. It was also crafted, however, to speak to "mainstream" American concerns during a grim economic decline, when crime, be it Bonnie and Clyde's or Joaquin Murieta's, sometimes seemed justified, romantic, and peculiarly American. The movie was based on Walter Noble Burns's history/novel by the same title (1932); as Kent Steckmesser notes, Burns was following the same formula he had used in his wildly successful and historically inaccurate Saga of Billy the Kid (1926). Although the topic is outside the scope of this essay, one must be struck by the way in which Ridge inserts into the American outlaw narrative the assertion that ethnicity constitutes an affront to society, as surely as do broken laws. Joaquin speaks not only for the poor but also for the racially and ethnically oppressed, all denied "space" at the feast of America. He becomes a necessary mythic hero who, like Robin Hood and Rob Roy, has been generated from and supported by the folk. As Lukacs has noted, both Goethe and Scott were interested in this kind of figure, as demonstrative of the possibilities for "human upsurge and heroism" that are widespread among the masses (Lukacs 52-53); the ruptures of history and their consequent patterns of dislocation and relocation thus provide revolutionary possibilities for heroic behavior.
        The Joaquin legend is in many ways the chief mythic nugget from the mother lode created by the birth of the state of California. For Californians, Murieta's story has become more than folklore; we may surely call it an epic. Bakhtin felt that the epic genre echoed a world of beginnings and peak times, a shared heroic past that speaks to the present. Joaquin also seems generated and nurtured by a threatened but still untamed Nature. His very exteriority and marginality ironically locate him in the magical realm of spatial and imaginative freedom, and he thus personifies the dream that was felt but rarely experienced by actual miners, whose faces were averted into the mud as they panned for gold. The Chilean Pablo Neruda, one of the more recent writers to set this tale, ends his lyric poem "Splendor and Death of Joaquin {122} Murieta" with a passage highly redolent of both Joaquin's link to the people and Bachelard's formulations. Neruda seems to suggest that Joaquin's poetic spaces still exist, most particularly in the souls of people still yearning to be free:

     Joaquin, return to your nest: gallop the air toward the south on your blood-colored stallion.
     The streams of the country that bore you sing out of silvery mouths. Your poet sings with them.
     Your fate mingled bloodshed and gall, Joaquin Murieta; but its sound
      is still heard. Your people repeat both your song and your grief, like a tolling bell struck underground. The people are millions. (Neruda 175)


Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Trans. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon P, 1969.

Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by Mikhail Bakhtin. Ed. Michael Holquist and Caryl Emerson. Austin: U of Texas P, 1981.

Corle, Edwin. The Royal Highway. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1949.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Selected Writings of Emerson. Ed. Donald McQuade. New York: Modern Library, 1981.

Hansen, Harry, ed. A Guide to the Golden State. New York: Hastings House, 1969.

Jackson, Joseph Henry. Anybody's Gold: The Story of California's Mining Towns. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1970.

James, Henry. The American. 1877. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1962.

Lukacs, Georg. The Historical Novel. Trans. H. and S. Mitchell. London: Merlin, 1962.

Neruda, Pablo. The Splendor and Death of Joaquin Murieta. Trans. Ben Belitt. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux, 1972.

Parins, James W. John Rollin Ridge: His Life and Works. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1991.

Radin, Paul. The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology. New York: Schocken Books, 1972.

Ridge, John Rollin (Yellow Bird). The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, The Celebrated California Bandit. 1954. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1955.

Stecknesser, Kent. The Western Hero in History and Myth. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1963.


Annette Van Dyke

        Not only is Sophia Alice Callahan's Wynema, A Child of the Forest believed to be the first novel written by a Native American woman, but it is also thought to be the first novel written in Oklahoma, then Indian Territory. Published in 1891, Wynema received notice in Our Brother in Red, Muskogee Indian Territory, June 6, 1891:

Wynema, a child of the Forest, is the title of a book just received. It is published by H.E. Smith & Co., of Chicago, and is on sale at C.B. Gilmore's book Store. The author, Miss Alice Callahan, is a teacher in Harrell's Institute and a Creek Indian by birth. She is an intelligent, Christian lady and we look forward with pleasure to the time when our other duties will permit us to read the book. It is certainly cheap at 25 per copy.

According to an article about the death of her father, Captain S.B. Callahan, the novel "had a great run for a year or so, after it was placed on the market."1 After that mention, in 1911, the novel seemed to languish until 1955 when Carolyn Thomas Foreman, a scholar of Oklahoma writers, read the accounts of Captain Callahan's death. She then discovered a copy of Wynema in the Library of Congress and wrote an article for the Chronicles of Oklahoma. Foreman noted that remaining members of the Callahan family had lost their copies of the book in moves from Oklahoma to California. Foreman also noted that mention of Wynema had "escaped all Oklahoma bibliographers" (306).
        From 1955 until its listing in Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr., and James W. Parins' Biobibliography of Native American Writers 1772-1924 in 1981, the novel received little notice. Rayna Green mentioned it in her 1984 anthology of Native American women writers, That's What She Said, but the copy which the Library of Congress held was misplaced, only to be recently recovered. With the expanding interest in Native American writing, it seems appropriate to bring back this long neglected first novel to set it in its rightful place in literary history.

Sophia Alice Callahan
        S. Alice Callahan was born January 1, 1868, in Sulpher Springs, Texas, and died January 7, 1894 in Muskogee--only twenty-six years old. She was the daughter of Samuel Benton Callahan, who was of Scotch, Irish, and Creek descent, and Sarah Elizabeth Thornberg Callahan, daughter of a Methodist minister in Sulpher Springs. One of eight children, Callahan had been part of what a newspaper account {124} called the "Creek Aristocracy" (Barde Collection). The Creek Nation to which Callahan belonged had incorporated "part of the Europeans' material culture" (Wright xii) by the eighteenth century. Without European goods, they "risked extermination, starvation, and enslavement" (Wright 41).
        The Creek (actually an amalgamation of Muskogee and non-Muskogee speaking groups) had been agriculturalists who were matrilineal and matrilocal in their original southeast territories. Steadily driven inland until the Trail of Tears in the 1830s when many ended up in what is now Oklahoma, they had survived competing European groups by political savvy and by exploiting the Europeans' love of fur and leather.2
        Callahan's father, a prominent and influential man, was the representative of the Creek and Seminole nations to the Confederate Congress during the Civil War; he had a large cattle ranch and farm in what became Oklahoma. His parents had been forced from Alabama to Indian Territory in 1833 along with others of the Creek Nation. Captain Callahan was clerk of the Creek Nation's Senate in the Creek National Council for four years, and clerk and later Justice of the Supreme Court of the Creek Nation. He was a Creek delegate to Washington and executive secretary to a number of Creek chiefs, and he also served as editor of the Muskogee Indian Journal, official organ of the Creek Nation. His involvement in Indian education included serving as Superintendant of the Wealaka Boarding School, a position he held the year his daughter died.
        Sophia Alice Callahan attended a women's school in Staunton, Virginia, and took an examination for a teacher's certificate in the subjects of grammar, arithmetic, geography, history, and physics in 1892. Callahan taught at Wealaka Mission School from 1892 to 1893, and at Harrell Institute (a high school) in Muskogee in 1893. She had planned to finish her own education in Staunton that year, but she had been called back to Muskogee because of the illness of several teachers at Harrell. She contracted pleurisy December 26, 1893, and died two weeks later. A tribute in Our Brother in Red, January 11, 1894, said that "Miss Callahan was of a literary turn of mind and was much superior to the average intellectuality. Her abilities as a teacher have never been excelled in this territory" (Foreman 313).
        Callahan wrote Wynema when she was twenty-three years old, the year before she began her duties at Wealaka Mission school. What can be discovered in the records so far says nothing beyond the dedication in Wynema as to the circumstances surrounding the writing and the publishing of the book. She may have been attending school in Virginia during the actual writing. The title, Wynema, was a popular name in {125} Native American country at that time, and many young women bore it. According to Foreman, "`Winema' . . . was a sub-chief of the Modoc Tribe, who saved the Indian Commissioner, A.B. Meacham, from death in 1872 during the tragic fight at the Lava Beds" (307). Creek poet Alexander Posey's daughter also was called Wynema. In the novel, the town that is created is named Wynema, also indicating the name's honorific or generic use.

Wynema, A Child of the Forest
        Wynema traces the education of a young Creek girl, Wynema, from the coming of a young Methodist woman teacher from the South, Genevieve Weir, to Wynema eventually becoming a teacher herself. Wynema is portrayed as an extremely able student, and it is at her request that a school is set up in her village with her parents' support. The romantic plot has as love interest the affection between Miss Weir and Gerald Keithly, the minister from the nearby Methodist mission school, and eventually a romance involving Wynema herself and Miss Weir's brother, Robin. The story is told through an outside narrator, and the first few chapters focus on Genevieve Weir's reactions to her alien environment, often corrected by Keithly, who takes the part of the Creeks since Wynema is too young to be a spokesperson. This, perhaps, is unfortunate, because the story is seldom told by the Native American characters, and when they do tell the story, it seems somewhat disruptive. It appears that Callahan had difficulty weaving into her romantic plot serious factual material about the important issues of the time. However, it is clear that the real intention of the novel is to do just that. Her dedication reads:

     Who have felt the wrongs and oppression of their palefaced brothers, I lovingly dedicate this work, praying that it may serve to open the eyes and heart of the world to our afflictions, and thus speedily issue into existence an era of good feeling and just dealing toward us and our more oppressed brothers.

        In spite of the drawbacks of the framework she has selected, Callahan comments on allotment (the Dawes Act 1887), which was being argued heavily in the Territory at the time, on how the Creek were cheated out of their per capita payment in Indian Territory and on how they had passed a law in 1811 "imposing death upon any chief who subscribed to the sale of their country" when they still lived in the Southeast (Thompson 309). She includes the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee and a temperance argument as well as an argument for {126} women's suffrage. She also records Creek culture, including "blue dumplings," a favorite food, the busk or green corn ceremony, and the death chant.

Wynema and Nineteenth Century Writing
        Wynema was written, like other reform novels of the era such as Uncle Tom's Cabin, for a white audience. While it has romance woven into the plot, it does not follow the pattern of popular "women's fiction," which, as Nina Baym comments, usually "chronicle the `trials and triumphs' . . . of a heroine who, beset with hardships, finds within herself the qualities of intelligence, will, and resourcefulness, and courage sufficient to overcome them" (2). Although the name of the novel would lead the reader to expect Wynema herself to be the focus of the plot, Wynema actually faces few hardships, and it is the white character, Genevieve Weir, who must face her stereotypes and misconceptions about Native Americans in Callahan's novel of social commentary and criticism.
        In what little is known about Callahan's reading interests, she indicates in a letter to a friend that she had been reading Thackeray's Vanity Fair, but that she did not like his portrayal of women in such comments as "It's only women who get together and hiss and shriek and cackle," or "The best of women are hypocrites--A good housewife is of necessity humbug . . ." (quoted in Foreman 312). Callahan was particularly interested in Thackeray's satirical treatment of the world and the way "in which the words, actions and feelings of the dramatis personae are exhibited without excuse or comment" (312). It appears that she attempted some satire in her own work; her use of words such as "savage" and "uncivilized" seems to be in a sarcastic vein. Certainly the women's rights issue was one she was particularly concerned with. Wynema says:

[Genevieve Weir] and I hold many opinions in common, and doubtless, I have imbibed some of hers, as I have the greatest respect for her opinions, but the idea of freedom and liberty was born in me. It is true the women of my country have no voice in the councils; we do not speak in any public gathering, not even in our churches, but we are waiting for our more civilized white sisters to gain their liberty, and thus set us an example which we shall not be slow to follow. (80)

One might speculate that, since the Creeks were originally matrilocal and matrilineal, women originally might have had more public say and power before European contact, and that contact with Europeans had steadily eroded the power of women among the Creeks. In any case,{127} Callahan also mentions reading Lytton and Dickens, which would add to her background in the novel of social commentary.
        Like Harriet Beecher Stowe (whom there is no evidence she read), Callahan is very interested in Christian education and represents the Christian ministers and educators in the best light in her novel. Her publisher comments in the introduction that Wynema shows "the magnificent results accomplished by those who have gone among them [Native Americans] to teach and to preach." She herself was Correspondence Secretary, Conference Officers of Parsonages & Home Mission Society in 1893. Like Stowe, Callahan "propose[s] a maternal, loving ethic in opposition to prevailing patriarchal values" (Baym 15). The enemies of the Native Americans are those who do not practice the loving values of Christianity. It is to her great credit that she was able somehow to balance her Christian beliefs and still serve as an advocate of non-Christian Native Americans, as she does in Wynema. Unlike Stowe's Black characters, Callahan's Native American characters do not try to convert other Native Americans, but rather attempt to stop slaughter and unfair treatment so that their lives can be lived in peace, albeit side by side with the Euro-Americans.
        The publisher's preface introduces the novel by explaining that "the fact that an Indian, one of the oppressed, desires to plead her cause at a tribunal where judge and jury are chosen from among the oppressors is our warrant for publishing this little volume." The publisher feels certain that "whoever reads these pages will be convinced that this protest against the present Indian policy of our government is sincere, earnest, and timely." However, unlike the case with Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, there is no evidence that Wynema made an appreciable difference in government policy or entered the public's consciousness.

Introduction to Chapters XXI and XXII
        The Chapters which follow are unusual in the context of the novel because the focus is on the stories of Native American characters rather than the white characters' perceptions of Native Americans. In Chapter XX, several of the white men from the mission near Wynema's home, including Carl Peterson and Robin Weir (Wynema's husband), have gone to the South Dakota area to consult with the Native Americans who have left the reservation. The delegation hopes to convince the Plains Indians that the government agents who have squandered the supplies and goods which the Native Americans were to have received and who are responsible for their starving plight have been fired. To avoid more trouble, the Native Americans should go back to the reservation, and supplies will be forthcoming. They are not successful and the reader is introduced to the rebellious Native American leaders,{128} Great Eye, Wildfire, and Wildfire's wife, Miscona. The elderly, Miscona, and the other women and their children return to the reservation while Wildfire and his followers prepare for conflict. Chapter XXI opens as Miscona and other women, some with their babies, return to the rebel camp against the wishes of the men. In Chapter XXII, Robin Weir, who has returned to Wynema back in the Oklahoma area, brings with him a Sioux woman, a survivor of the atrocities in the South Dakota area, and she tells her story.


        1Historical materials concerning S. B. Callahan can be found in the Frederick S. Barde Collection, Oklahoma Historical Society. See "Last Confederate Congressman Dies," 17 Feb. 1911.

        2For further discussion of this idea see Wright.


Barde, Frederick S. Barde Collection. Oklahoma Historical Society.

Baym, Nina. Women's Fiction: A Guide to Novels by and about Women in America, 1820-1870. Ithaca: Cornell U P, 1978.

Callahan, Sophia Alice. Wynema, A Child of the Forest. Chicago: H. E. Smith & Co., 1891.

Foreman, Carolyn Thomas. "S. Alice Callahan: Author of Wynema, A Child of the Forest." Chronicles of Oklahoma 33 (Autumn 1955D): 306-15.

Green, Rayna, ed. That's What She Said: Contemporary Poetry and Fiction by Native American Women. Bloomington: Indiana U P, 1984.

Littlefield, Daniel F., Jr., and Jame W. Parins. A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924. Native American Bibliography 2. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1981.

"Last Confederate Congressman Dies." 17 February 1911. Article held in Frederick S. Barde Collection, Oklahoma Historical Society.

Wright, J. Leitch. Creeks and Seminoles: The Destruction and Regeneration of the Muscogulge People. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1986; rpt. 1990.


Sophia Alice Callahan

Chapter XXI
Civilization or Savage Barbarity

        A dark figure with a babe in her arms creeps stealthily from a tent into the dark night. Softly and stealthily it steps until it reaches the outskirts of the reservation, where it is met by other dark figures, some with the papoose, some without. When these figures are out of hearing distance, they run rapidly and joyously toward the tepees of the defiant Indians. Sixteen miles! Ah, that is nothing to one going on a mission of love. Patriotism has inspired men to greater deeds. Paul Revere and Philip Sheridan have been made famous for a terrible ride; these dark figures, running, sliding and falling along the dark road in the bitter night will not be known to the world, for theirs was only a walk for love. They reached the tents of the rebels.
        "Miscona," exclaimed her husband reproachfully, hardly believing his eyes. "And the papoose! You must go back, Miscona. It is not safe here," said he throwing his arms about them. "We are to battle to-morrow. Yes, to-morrow's sun, when he opens his great eyes will see the rebel band of Indians surrounding their white tyrants, and before he closes it the ground will be strewn with the dead bodies of our enemies, or of us. We have arranged our skirmish so that it will seem at first that our numbers are smaller than they are. Then when the enemy engages this brave few, the others will rush up from all sides, with a mighty whoop, and surround them. This is our plan; whether it is a good one remains to be proved. How many women came with you?"
        "About forty, and many of them carried the papoose." "Well, you must start back to-morrow. It will be dangerous for you to remain here."
        But "man proposes and God disposes,"--in this instance, the Indian proposes, the Government disposes. It was reported by scouts sent out for that purpose, to the commander of the troops stationed on the reservation, that the Indians were plotting war and were planning to surround them on the following day. So the general sent a detachment to meet the "hostiles," and surprise them, and to capture all unharmed if possible. But, instead of this, the Indians were slaughtered like cattle, shot down like dogs. Surprised at the sudden apparition of white soldiers drawn up in line of battle, when they supposed the soldiers to be in their camps miles distant, their presence of mind deserted them, and it was with difficulty that Wildfire rallied his forces. To add to this {130} consternation, on turning about toward his camps he beheld the women who had followed them to battle, instead of going to the reservation as they had promised and started to do. It was useless to motion them back, for on they came, their faces speaking with noiseless eloquence. "We have lived with you; we will die with you." Up they rushed into the line of battle where they more unfitted the men for fighting.
        "Good and gracious Father, Miscona! You have lost the battle for me," groaned the chieftain.
        "It is a lost cause. You will die and I will die by your side, my husband," she replied resolutely.
        Then came the dust and smoke and din of battle, the hurrying forward of the foes to the onset.
        "Indians, I command you to go into the reservation quietly or, by God, you die here in your tracks!" shouted the commander.
        "We shall die, then," shouted Wildfire in return; "but we will never enter the reservation alive!"
        Oh! the terrible, terrible battle! Old Chikena in giving the circumstances relating it to Wynema, always closed her eyes and shuddered. Everywhere could be seen Wildfire fighting and urging his troops on, and everywhere, the ironclad hand of the white soldiers beating down his Indian adversary--yes, and not only the men, but the helpless, defenseless women and children. The command was, "No quarter! Kill them every one."
        In the midst of the one-sided battle, Wildfire was slain, felled to the ground, and by his side, as was afterwards found, his devoted Miscona --only an Indian squaw, so it did not matter.
        The Indians, seeing their leader slain, fled precipitately to the camps, followed for some distance by their adversaries, who finally drew up in line and marched back to quarters. On the night following the battle came a terrible blizzard--wind so piercingly cold that it freezes the very marrow in the bones of one so unfortunate as to be exposed to it. Out on the battlefield, with no covering but the open sky lay the bodies of the dying and dead Indians, left there by friends and foes. Over here are the bodies of Wildfire and Miscona, free at last and the little papoose sweetly sleeping between them. Over there lies a warrior, groaning and murmuring--and everywhere is blood, blood! Over everything, around everything, on everything. Oh! the awful sight!
        A dark form is seen presently gliding among them administering to the wants of the dying as best she can. It is an Indian squaw, watching over the battle-field, guarding the dead and dying. Like Rizpah of old, on the Gibeah plain, she took her distant station and watched to see that nothing came near to harm her beloved dead.
        During the forenoon of the following day, two men rode on the ghastly scene, astonished at the almost numberless dead and wounded bodies strewn over the plain; astonished to see women and children slain among the number, for it has ever been the policy of a strong, brave nation to protect the helpless, the weak, the defenseless.
        Alighting and walking among the dead, they saw what at first they had not noticed, the form of the Indian woman kneeling among the wounded. Carl Peterson walked up to where she knelt and addressed her.
        "Woman, why are you here, and whence did you come?" She raised her head mournfully, her face dripping with tears, and started as she recognized the speaker; "Carl Peterson!" she exclaimed.
        "Yes, and is this Chikena, the happy wife of the brave Great Wind, when I last saw her?" he asked. "What are you doing on this field of battle?"
        "Ah! The times have changed for poor Chikena," she answered, weeping. "Here lies the dead body of the brave Great Wind, and yonder lies his son. Dead! Dead! I am all alone in the world--the only one left of my tribe. Why did not the Great Father take me too?"
        "How long have you been here, poor soul?" Carl asked sympathetically. "And have you been here all alone?"
        "Yes, all alone since they left me with my dead. The palefaces killed our brave Wildfire and his beautiful Miscona--yonder they lie in each other's arms--and then our people fled back to their tents, the soldiers pursuing until they reached the creek. I did not leave, for I did not care what became of me--my loved ones were gone and I staid to protect them. But, oh, the bitter, bitter night! The cold wind swept by me and tortured me with its keen, freezing breath; but I drew my blanket more closely about me and defiantly watched my dead. The wolves came to take them but I lighted a fire and kept the wolves at bay. Then the wounded groaned with their wounds and the cold, and I dragged as many of them together as I could and covered them with my blanket. Then, uncovered, in the bitter cold, how I walked and heaped the fire higher and longed for the coming of day! When day broke I went about among the dead, washed their wounds and ministered to their wants as I could; and so I have been doing since. On my rounds I found three little papooses, about three months old, all wrapped up snugly in their dead mothers' bosoms. I took them, wrapped them in the blankets of the ones they will never know, and yonder they lie, sleeping sweetly."
        Carl went to the tents of the Indians, informed them concerning the state of affairs, gathered together wagons for the dead and stretchers for the dying and wounded, and repaired to the scene we had just {132} quitted. There the Indians gathered together their dead and buried them, and took the wounded back to their tents.
        The two friends with Chikena and the babies returned to the reservation, there to await the termination of the Indian war of the Northwest.
        With a few slight skirmishes, the papers say, only the death of a few "Indian bucks," the war of the Northwest ended.
        "But," you ask, my reader, "did not the white people undergo any privations? Did not the United States army lose two brave commanders and a number of privates?" Oh, yes. So the papers tell us; but I am not relating the brave (?) deeds of the white soldier. They are already flashed over the world by electricity; great writers have burned the midnight oil telling their story to the world. It is not my province to show how brave it was for a great, strong nation to quell a riot caused by the dancing of a few `bucks'--for civilised soldiers to slaughter indiscriminately, Indian women and children. Doubtless it was brave, for so public opinion tells us, and it cannot err. But what will the annals of history handed down to future generations disclose to them? Will history term the treatment of the Indians by the United States Government, right and honorable? Ah, but that does not affect my story! It is the Indian's story--his chapter of wrongs and oppression.

Chapter XXII
Is This Right?

        "Wynema, this is a friend of ours whom we found in the Sioux country. Can you speak the language? If so, she will tell you all, and I should like for you to interpret for my benefit. Ask her to tell you about the `starving time,' as the Indians call the time when they lived on one cent per day," said Robin one day, some weeks after his return home. He had been to Keithly College and had brought Chikena home with him that she might see the "squaw and papoose," as he laughingly called Wynema and Genevieve.
        "Very well, dear," Wynema replied. "I learned to speak the Sioux language when quite a child. We had an old Sioux woman who lived with us until I was almost grown, when she died. And thus I became familiar with the language."
        Then Wynema took the old woman's hand and kissed her softly, remembering the dear ones she had left behind in the burying-ground of the battle-field; and she spoke words of sympathy, leading her to talk of her troubles.
        "My husband wishes to hear of your sufferings during the time you {133} came near starving, before the Indian war. Can you tell me while I interpret."
        This is the story she told Wynema and Robin as they sat by the window of the pleasant sitting-room of Hope Seminary.
        "There was a time when my people had plenty of land, plenty of cattle and plenty of everything; but after a while the palefaces came along, and partly buying, partly seizing our lands by force, drove us very far away from our fertile country, until the Government placed us on a reservation in the Northwest, where the cold wind sweeps away our tents and almost freezes us. Then the great and powerful Government promised us to supply us with bountiful rations, in return for our lands it had taken. It was the treaty with us. But one day the agent told us the Government was poor, very poor, and could not afford to feed us so bountifully as in the past. So he gave us smaller rations than before, and every day the portion of each grew smaller, until we felt that we were being starved; for our crops failed and we were entirely dependent on the Government rations. Then came the days when one cent's worth daily was issued to each of us. How we all sickened and grew weak with hunger! I saw my boy, my Horda, growing paler and weaker every day, and I gave him my portion, keeping him in ignorance of it, for he would not have taken it had he known. Our chiefs and warriors gathered around the medicine man and prayed him to ask the Great Father what we should do to avert this evil. So the medicine man prayed to the Great Father all night, in his strange, murmuring way; and the next morning he told us to gather together and dance the holy dance to the Great Father and to sing while we danced, `Great Father, help us! By thy strong arm aid us! Of thy great bounty give us that we may not die.' We were to dance thus until dawn, when the Messiah would come and deliver us. Many of our men died dancing, for they had become so weak from fasting that they could not stand the exertion. Then the great Government heard of our dances, and fearing trouble, sent out troops to stop us."
        "Strange the great Government did not hear of your starving too, and send troops to stop that," remarked Robin, per parenthesis.
        "Then our great chief, Sitting Bull, told us the government would starve us if we remained on the reservation; but if we would follow him, he would lead us to a country teeming with game, and where we could hunt and fish at our pleasure. We followed him to the Bad Lands where we struck tents, as we were tired, intending to resume our march after we had rested. But one day we saw a cloud of dust, and there rode up a crowd of Indian police with Buffalo Bill at their head. They called out our chief and ordered him to surrender, then arrested him. Sitting Bull fired several shots, instructed his men how to proceed to {134} recapture him, but all to no avail, for the police were backed by the pale-faced soldiers; and they killed our chief, his son, and six of the bravest warriors. Thus began the war of which your husband has already told you. It ended in Indian submission--yes, a submission extorted by blood."
        "Buffalo Bill is the assumed name of the man who went about everywhere, taking a crowd of Indians with him and showing them, is he not?" asked Wynema of her husband.
        "Yes, he was at the exposition at New Orleans with a band of Indians who he was then `showing,' and thus gaining means for subsistence for himself."
        "It is strange he would lead a police force against the people who have helped him to gain a livelihood. Do you suppose the Indians who traveled with him became wealthy thereby?" ironically.
        "Oh, yes. Very," he answered in the same tone. "Some of the Indians went from near us, and when they came back their friends and neighbors had to make up a `pony purse' to give them a start. One trip with this `brave' man was sufficient, though I never heard one of them express a desire to go again."
        "There is an old man in the Territory, now, if he has not died recently, who traveled a great deal with Buffalo Bill, and I have never heard anything of the fortune he made. He is old and poor, and goes about doing what odd jobs he can get to do, and his friends almost entirely maintain him. It seems to me that gratitude, alone, to this benighted people who have served him would have rendered him at least neutral. If I could not have been for them, I most certainly would not have taken so prominent a part against them," Wynema said indignantly.
        "Robin, there was such a scathing criticism of the part the United States Government has taken against the Indians of the Northwest, in the St. Louis Republic. I put the paper away to show you, but it has gotten misplaced. The substance of the article was this: the writer commended the Government on its slaughter of the Indians, and recommended that the dead bodies of the savages be used for fertilizers instead of the costly guano Mr. Blaine had been importing. He said the Indians alive were troublesome and expensive, for they would persist in getting hungry and cold; but the Indians slaughtered would be useful, for besides using their carcasses for fertilizers, the land they are now occupying could then be given as homes to the `homeless whites.' I don't believe I ever read a more sarcastic, ironical article in any newspaper. I should like to shake hands with the writer, for I see he his a just, unprejudiced, thinking man, who believes in doing justice even to an Indian `buck.' But here are more papers with dots from the {135} battle-field; yet you know more and better about this than the writers of these articles, for you were all around and among the Indians, as well as the soldiers."
        "Yes; but I should like to read their story and know their opinion. Good!" said he, reading; "Hear this from the Cherokee Telephone and interpret, for Chikena can understand."
        "The papers of the states are discussing the Indian war in the Northwest, its causes, etc. Here is what the matter is in a nutshell: Congress, the Secretary of the Interior, the Army and the Indian agents, have vied with each other in shameful dealings with these poor creatures of the plains. They buy their lands--for half price--make treaties and compacts with them in regard to pay, provisions, etc., then studiously turn and commence to lay plans to evade their promise and hold back their money to squander, and withhold the provisions agreed to be furnished. It must be remembered that these Indians buy, aye more than pay for all the United States Government lets them have-- they have given the Government an acre of land for every pound of beef, sugar, coffee and flour they have ever received. The Government has neglected to comply with treaties with these people--hence the war. They would rather die by the sword and bullet than to see their wives and children perish be degrees. Remember, too, that for every acre of land the United States Government holds to-day, which it acquired from the Indians of any tribe, from the landing of Columbus, it has not paid five cents on an average. The Government owes the Indians of North America justly to-day, ten times more that it will ever pay them. Search history and you will find that these are facts and figures and not mere sentimentalism. Newspaper editors in the states, who speak so vainly of the kindness of the Government to the Indians of this country, should post themselves a little, and each and every one could write a page of history on the United States Government's treatment of the Indians, as black and damnable as hell itself."
        "Phew! That's pretty strong isn't it?" said Robin, finishing and looking up.
        "What does Chikena say?"
        "She says it is all so. I am glad the editors of newspapers are denouncing the right parties."


Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr.

{Permission to reprint this essay has not been received.}



Erik Peterson

{Permission to reprint this essay has not been received.}


Alanna Kathleen Brown

        A mythology of critical description is emerging that at once eulogizes Mourning Dove and dismisses her as a significant Native American writer.1 A negative approach is established by Charles Larson in "Appendix 1" of American Indian Fiction (1978)2 when he discounts Mourning Dove's novel, Cogewea, the Half-Blood, because of the extensive collaboration with L. V. McWhorter. Larson argues that the novel is disrupted by ethnographic inserts, stilted language and the anti-white bias of Stemteema. Jay Miller, in his editorial comments for the reprint of Coyote Stories (1990) and the publication of Mourning Dove, A Salishan Autobiography (1990),3 asserts that Mourning Dove is an inaccurate narrator about her own life and Native American legends. Even a sympathetic reader such as Paula Gunn Allen (The Sacred Hoop 1986)4 who values the text for bringing the anguish of the half-breed to the fore, and for incorporating myth, tribal history and ritual into the story, sees the work as maimed because of McWhorter's intrusions, and because Mourning Dove tried to satisfy white and tribal literary requirements and failed. Coyote Stories, perhaps because it is addressed to a juvenile audience, has received little critical commentary except for Jay Miller's attack on ethnographic inaccuracies and omissions in his introduction to the 1990 reprint of that work. Nonetheless, Native American scholars feel compelled to mention Mourning Dove because she is among the first Indians to write fiction and to record the legends and the history of her people.
        This ambivalent response to Mourning Dove's work is counterbalanced by a mythology which highlights her extraordinary ability to surmount overwhelming obstacles. American popular culture romanticizes heroic effort in the midst of poverty, and it is alluring to draw an image of a woman overcoming insurmountable odds to write of her own Indian culture. In Dexter Fisher's "Introduction" to Cogewea, the Half-Blood, she describes Mourning Dove and her husband working "as migrant laborers, traveling with the seasons, picking hops and thinning apples, pitching tents and camping out under every imaginable condition. And everywhere they traveled, Mourning Dove took her battered old typewriter and tried to work after long hours in the field or orchards."5 Jay Miller repeats this story at the beginning of his introduction to Coyote Stories. I also have taken Fisher's lead. But Mourning Dove's letters refute the heroic image. Her poverty was real. The need for money, for privacy, for space, impeded writing and made daily living an effort. She did not write after picking apples ten hours a day for six days a week. She was too tired.
        It is another story which must be told, a story of hardships to be {162} sure, but also a story about friendship, about learning how to write about Indian experiences and culture for ethnocentric white audiences, and of struggling to open publishing house doors. The Mourning Dove/ L. V. McWhorter collaboration moves from ignorance and good-heartedness, through self-education and personal loyalty, to a professional triumph that comes so late in their lives that it cannot be fully relished.
        Their story begins at the Walla Walla Frontier Days in 1914. At this time Mourning Dove already had the draft of a novel almost completed and the notes for twenty-two legends. She was between the ages of twenty-six and thirty-two;6 McWhorter was fifty-four. Mourning Dove was in a group of singers that McWhorter hired for a performance. On September 30, 1914, J. W. Langdon wrote to her:

Dear Madam:-
     While you were here at the Frontier Days Celebration you mentioned in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Williams and Mr. McWhorter that you had been collecting for some time past, reliable data on certain Indian history--I think you mentioned the "OKANOGAN SWEATHOUSE" as a title.
     As I understood the matter, you were having some difficulty in arranging your manuscript and putting the data you have secured, in proper form for publication, and the thought has occurred to me that while you are at North Yakima you ought to take that matter up with Mr. McWhorter, who is perhaps the best versed individual in that section of the country on Indian tradition, and has had a large experience along this very line of work. I have read considerable of his writings and because of his past study and observation among the people of your race, and his deep interest and consideration of all that pertains to their welfare and protection, I felt that I should write you a line and urge you to take your manuscript to him and go over in detail the things that you feel are valuable. . . .
     The average writer or publisher has had little experience in Indian tradition--they do not understand the things that mean much in Indian history, and as a rule they are not sufficiently careful nor willing to give the necessary time and thought and research to round out data such as I understand you have. (11;395)7

        Okanogan Sweat House was Mourning Dove's title for the collection that would become Coyote Stories. Initially there appears to be no mention of a novel manuscript. Mourning Dove must have entered into an informal conversation and, adopting the vocabulary of those around her, spoken of "collecting data." But ethnographic work and storytell-{163}ing are two diverse skills. They have differing vocabularies and stances of approach although they may address the same material. From the start, McWhorter and Mourning Dove were and were not speaking the same language. Issues of dominance and subordination inevitably cloud conversations of those of unequal power. It is to their credit that Mourning Dove and McWhorter ultimately moved to common ground. The journey was a long one.
        They did communicate at Langdon's urging, and McWhorter immediately took on the role of prodder. To Mourning Dove's request: "Let me live among my people a little bit longer, I love nature" (February 9, 1915 [15-17;395]), McWhorter ultimately responded with an extraordinary invitation to come live in Yakima and write, for the Indian peoples faced oblivion: "I see many on this trail. They are bearing bundles which glow and shine like the gold that is washed from the river beds. These bundles are the traditions and history of the tribes." But they "pass with their bundles of light--the history of their people--into the cloud and are seen no more" (November 29, 1915 [11-13;392]). McWhorter's enthusiasm for her work, his belief in its importance, and his sincerity moved Mourning Dove to trust him. It also is important to note that he chose the tone and the vocabulary of the visionary Indian of popular fiction to woo her. The path towards a language that would be real for them both, and thus have bicultural integrity, began with popularized scientific terms and the language of dime store Westerns.
        However, there are degrees of trust. While Mourning Dove shared her work with McWhorter, she did not initially want to share her personal life:

Dearest Big Foot,8
     Just a few short lines in answer to your last letter of the 22 which is at hand today. I am well but not able to get around yet[.] I can't possible walk yet, but I think it is past danger of blood poison, because it is almost healed. and you know I have no strength to use it, but I hope to be able to get around some time any how say in another week or so. and don't expect my M.S.S. to soon. and I will try to write about what you asked about my life or whatever it is. but I have no typewriter at the present[.] but will it be alright to use just pen and ink for the matter. You can easily cipher my writing. What you to use this for? You know. You must have forgot to tell me. excuse me for asking, but my womanly nature, has called to me. to be naturally, inquisitive. you understand. (April 26, 1915 [10;395])

        There were also other hurdles to cross. A dear friend of McWhort-{164} er's, J. P.MacLean,9 was very enthusiastic about their collaboration: "So far as the folkore is concerned, you will probably never realize anything financially out of it, but it will immortalize you and Morning Dove"10 (December 20, 1915 [41;392]). Believing the legends were ready for publication, MacLean solicited possible publishers throughout 1916 and even set up arrangements for Mourning Dove to have a speaking tour from Ohio to Boston, and then possibly New York City and Washington, D.C. McWhorter urged Mourning Dove to go, and for a while it looked as if she and her best friend, Jenny Lewis, might make the trip, but Mourning Dove became ill and the trip was indefinitely postponed.
        I believe that Mourning Dove became ill because of apprehension about the speaking tour. MacLean and McWhorter had a direction that they wanted Mourning Dove to go, but her sense of the world was not theirs. She hesitated around her speaking abilities, her Indian English, her lack of clothes and economic resources. She feared disappointing MacLean, being humiliated in public, and possibly even being abandoned far from home. McWhorter and MacLean, on the other hand, imagined a representative Indian woman, one who would speak for her people and shake up the complacency of uninformed bureaucrats. Mourning Dove instinctually shrank from such a role for it was not one of her own choosing.
        There were other problems of a technical nature to contend with as well. The organization of the tales was of concern from the very beginning. While a rough linear arrangement can be made for Native American stories, and there are vague references to earlier and later events, there is not a rigid ordering of the tales. Mourning Dove wrote the legends to record spiritual recollections of a people's beginnings and to examine states of mind, to explore the psychology of animal behaviors including that of human beings. Yet Mourning Dove was caught up again in a dominant world view that required her to present her stories with "linear" accuracy. Her vocabulary reflects her attempt to move towards McWhorter's frame of reference.

I am only waiting for Jennie's return from California and than I shall be ready to leave Spokane and go home and start my collection. I would much rather get my material together before I can arrange them in correct line for writing them. (March 9, 1916 [5-7;392])

She also feels pressed by MacLean and writes that same March:11

Dear Big Foot
     I got a letter from McLean requesting me to at once start an interduction for the Okangan Sweat-House and I really {165} do not know what to do. I have not leased my place and have not the money to collect my traditions at once as McLean has asked[.] I will send you his letter and read it and write me what to say before I write him. I am only waiting for Jennie. I got a letter from Dad and he wants me to come home. as soon as possible[.]
     Well I don't know what to do. Whether to go and start my field work or start my story. (58;391 )

The choice between "field work" and "story" was a tough one for Mourning Dove. While McWhorter was editing Cogewea, the Half-Blood at this time, his emphasis was on urging Mourning Dove to preserve the legends of her people, not on creative writing. Mourning Dove's primary goal had been to be a writer of fiction. She was being redirected and taught through her correspondence about the appropriate presentation of Indian legends.
        Two other textual issues were addressed in 1916. MacLean, an avid reader of bulletins from the Bureau of Ethnography, wanted McWhorter and Mourning Dove to write legends in both the Native and English tongues. Moreover, teachers were asking that McWhorter write the legends for use in classrooms. On December 3, 1916, in a letter to MacLean, McWhorter responded:

It is difficult to estimate the number of pages which our present collection of Folklore will make. Morning Dove has not any of her field notes here, and she hardly feels justified in even making a guess. We both think that we each have about half of what we should have to make two nice sized volumes, of say, 250 pp. or more each. Some of the traditions are long, others very short. We have plenty for a good sized volume, but we both believe that it is desirable that the two tribal lore [sic] be kept separate. If arrangements can possibly be effected, we will collect the material and have both volumes ready for the press within, say, sixteen months, at the outside.
     Neither of us believe that it is practicable to write the traditions in the native tongue. She tells me that the priests have attempted to write a prayer book in Okanogan, but it is far from being correct. Neither of us feel that we want to attempt it. There are so many gutterals and "throat-sounds" that the rendition would be understood and appreciated by only a very few. Our idea is that a well written work in plain english [sic] would meet with a recognized demand for pure native folklore stories. Many of our local teachers have spoken to me on this subject. It has been put up to me that a volume written especially for children would meet with a ready sale, but I am averse to engaging in such work, at the {166} present time especially. . . .
     We would retain many native words and names in every legend. This we both have done so far; and it lends interest; but we do not believe it best to attempt writing in full native tongue. It would require years to complete as should be. (34;392)

McWhorter was concerned to maintain the oral integrity of Indian legends. He did not dismiss them as the literature of "children." He also envisioned a general public rather than a narrowly learned audience. McWhorter was the mediator between the Native American and Euro-American worlds on these technical issues.
        This first period of collaborative effort ended abruptly when Mourning Dove became critically ill in the winter months of 1916-17.12 At last, on February 20, 1917, Mourning Dove wrote to McWhorter:

Dear Big Foot.
     Must answer your letter, and honest Injun. You don't know how much effort this letter took before I could write it. I am so weak and I guess lazy.
     It has been over six weeks, since I got sick. and I was feeling fine but had a relapse and thought a "goner" but an Indian aunt came along and doctored me up with Indian medcines so I am now just able to sit up again and can use. and only use my arms[.] Having pneumonia and inflamatory rheumatism is no joke. The doctor thinks it is wonderful that I lived, when I was a hopless case. Mere Injun luck and will power. I saw my father and brother crying at my bed side when I came to my senses and I felt sorry for them, and made up my mind I was going to live and I fought for it too. (3; 345B[4])

To completely recover she decided to go to Canada, to the Inkameep Reserve, and live with her sister Margaret and her family.
        In that same letter Mourning Dove also responds to McWhorter's announcement that Cogewea has a publisher: "I am tickled to death, that Cogeawea is coming O.K. You failed to mention her last you wrote. What is the contract. let me know all the details" (3;345B[4]). The expectation of having Cogewea published, and then facing disappointment after disappointment when publishing plans fell through, also undercut Mourning Dove's desire to work on the legends:

I am far from been happy, and cannot say when I shall be ever again. That book has been a curse. God punished me I know for making an idol of the thing and throwing happiness to the four winds. You understand what I mean. I guess I figured too much on that little squaw "Cogeawea". hereafterwards I shall not think of her till she succeeds. {167} Success and happiness is not for this world but heaven. I am beganing to realize. I am beganing to think I am a minister. so I will just simple close my letter with my regards to you and yours[.] Write when you can[.] (April 18, 1917 [35- 36;366])

But McWhorter kept after her:

Yes Big Foot. I intend writing those stories in due time. As soon as I get my tent finished and can be strictly alone. I am going to start a few. I have been figuring on buying me a machine[,] than I can type it off. I get so nevrous whenever I write to any amount. and that is one draw back and I was discouraged at that squaw Cogeawea. "so hater bother any more." till I know where I "stand". Savey? (November 19, 1917 [101-102;467])

        On February 1, 1918, she writes that she has a typewriter: "It is a dandy little machine. an Oliver" (41;366), and she has built a little shack of her own close to her sister's cabin in order to have privacy. By March 18, 1918, she is complaining about how tough it is to "collect" legends when anthropologists are passing out five dollar bills every time they hear a story. Her enthusiasm for writing also has markedly improved because it looks once again as if Cogewea will be published:

I will take the 100 copies of the little squaw, and do not worry I shall have the money, even if I have to borrow it from some of my relatives, but I expect some money before very long, and I was thinking of buying me a saddle horese so I can get around among the Indians, to gather some more work to put in shape soon as possible. They are such hard people to get anything out from and I am going to try my best to get a fine lot. They are some that are getting suspicious of my wanting folklores and if the Indians find out that their stories will reach print I am sure it will be hard for me to get any more legends without paying the hard cash for them, A Whiteman has spoiled my feild of work, He is a Canadian and lives at Spences-Bridge B.C. I wish you would write him and find out about his works, he claims he is a true friend to the Indians here and all of Canada but we are so suspicious of the Whiteman that to be frank with you, and I know you feel Injun so I will speak freely. I have some doubts about him. He has collected so much among the Indians in money matters and claims now he has a lawyer engaged to fight for the interest of the Indians for the rights to their land, or rather the Indian title. I have no interest in it and have not found out particulars.{168} What I started to tell you was, that this Mr. James Tait13 has collected folklores among the Indians and has been paying five dollars apiece for good Indian legends and naturally that has spoiled the natives and of course they wish the same price from me whether the story is worth a nickle to me, A lot of times the same stories are told to me a little differently from one party and another will say, that is not the true fact, but I know the straight of it and will tell me with a little addition which is no help but only waste of time of listening and taking note. Savey? (38-39;366)

        The letters of 1917 and 1918 reflect a shift in attitude for Mourning Dove. As the letter referring to James Teit indicates, she was becoming more affectionate and open in her correspondence. The deaths of a brother and a daughter in McWhorter's family during 1917-1918 and her own near death experience had brought them closer together. His prodding also had come to be appreciated by her as an act of loyalty and commitment:

I certainly have thanked my "stars" many times that I have in you a kind friend and also McLean. I have very few friends and I count you among them. I think you have been kind to me on accounted of me been so disheartened with the work in which we both are in sympathy, and also for one who is gone and left us. She was a kind hearted, and I have lost one of my best friends and I have grieved over her many times, and hated to mention the subject to you, because I know it hurts the sad fatherly heart but why have I done it now, I couldn't hardly keep it any longer because as I have thought of it now, my heart grew sad again. But I think and know she is somewhere happier than what we are in our poor struggles in this world of ours. We may still all be where it is all goodness some day. (March 18, 1918 [38-39;366])

When bad news came about another Cogewea failure, Mourning Dove did not lose heart:

I was a little disappointed about the little squaw Cogeawea, but I have long got used to disappointments so I didn't care much to tell the truth. I never worry any more, I let the world come as it may. So Big Foot, let us not worry about it any more till after the war at least. We cannot do anything that will be of help to us, I am sure till this bloody struggle is over with, The people are war crazy, and our line of literature will never appeal to the public now as it would in times of peace. It is best to lay it aside for awhile. Whatcher think big Injun?. (April 25, 1918 [43-44;366])

She also began to share more anecdotes filled with a self-effacing humor:

It makes me chilled down the back, when I read where you spoke of rattle-snake hunting. I detest them. I have killed only two snakes in my life, and that was one last summer, a blue racer, and one this spring, a little water snake which I almost got my hand on, in fact I guess I touched the thing without knowing it. I was making a sweat-house and had a big bunch of boughs to use for the bedding, and I was singing, when I took some more of the greens and felt the thing moved under it. I jumped so far away before I knew it. It was frightened, but at an after thought I was so mad at the repitile. I killed the racel. And gave it a lecture before killing it for good. I threw it away and I guess the crows had a dandy supper. (April 25, 1918 [43-44;366])

        Throughout 1918 and early 1919, Mourning Dove continued to solicit and record stories from those around her and she gained self-confidence in the enterprise: "I wrote the story without a dictionary, aint I getting smart" (December 23, 1918 [24;272]).14 She can even pass off the comments of others who find her passion for writing inexplicable:

Well I think I will close, everybody is in slumber-land where all decent country folks should be, but I think they think that I am looney or have too much company, because I use too much lamp oil. I fill my lamp every night. I write better at night, because my sister is asleep and the kid, and than no one talks to me, to make me nevrous. I do much better, and I am my own boss, and home is sweet when you are IT, I am much happier than when living with my sister, where the children worry me so much. My house is very small, but very happy place to rest, something like a den. but not so nice. (January 15, 1919 [11;272])

But during the autumn and winter of 1919 her attention turned elsewhere. She married Fred Galler, a Wenatchee, and moved to Omak, Washington to make a life with him. Her attention did not return to writing until the winter of 1921, when it was McWhorter who appeared to despair about getting their work published.
        It was nothing they ever explicitly said to one another, but in that evolving relationship, a profound bond had formed. Mourning Dove needed McWhorter's belief in her and her work to keep her own inner focus. There was no one else who truly supported the author in her. When McWhorter flagged in energy, Mourning Dove moved to {170} rekindle his faith.

Big Foot. way down in my heart there is a great feeling that comes that success is not in the far distance ahead of us on the rough trail that you have pointed out to me some years ago. as to writing. I have great hope that we succeed, and it will not be long. The Great God knows what is best for us, and our hopes maybe blessed yet. The stoney trail has been hard and dreary for you and I. but let us hope against hope. I am so sure that we will succeed, . . . (November 4, 1921 [31-32a;365])15

They worked hard together from November 1921 through 1922, and completed the manuscript for Okanogan Sweat House.
        In this second round of collaboration a new tone was set. The letters show McWhorter becoming more technical about linguistic issues. He is paying attention to the Salish language for he wants the work to be creditable among scholars. He had become more aware of a world of experts with authority to judge their work. He also was troubled by language impurities that were creeping into the legends through translation and because of the Indian interactions with French and English speaking peoples. McWhorter wanted the tales to be as traditional as possible:

In the legend: "The Great Spirit Names the Animal-people" there occurs this phrase, this sentence: En-pa-pah: (my papa) It is where Coyote's starving children accosted him when he entered the doorway of his tepee the evening before the naming of every one by the Great Spirit. You will recall it. Here is what I want:
     It appears to me that "papa" is too modern a word in this case. Did the Indians use the term "papa?" Could not the word be changed to convey a name more in keeping with the true Indian vocabulary? How would "parent" or "father" do? You are the one to determine the true way. I only thought that "papa" perhaps is not the best word in the premises. I want you to get these legends in the very best shape possible. Did the Indians have a word for "sire?" You fix it. I have already written you relative to "monkey".
     Well, this Injun is not nearly so blue as in former days. I can see that you are also feeling differently. Every thing will come out the very best for us in this work. I doubt if either of us realize its importance, the graet [sic] benefit we are rendering mankind, bit Indian and White. May we both live to see the end of our efforts crowned with success . . . Do not become annoyed if I write you often while typing your legends. I may find it necessary to address you constantly relative to words and meaning of phrases. I know {171} that you will be easy with the Wolf, not scalp him with your sho-mash powers. Say! which sylable do you emphasize in Sho-mash? Here is way to mark it. If accented on first sylable: Shó-mesh. If last sylable: Sho-mésh. If neither sylable is to be accented, no markings are wanted. Be sure and let me know about this. If you think that you can determine about this among the other Okanogan words and names, I will send them to you for marking.
     Sho-pów-tan. (c. late 1921 [27;365])

These inquiries became typical of their correspondence. Mourning Dove not only came to think in terms of syllables and accents when considering her own language, she struggled with the difficulty of spelling words in an alphabet that does not have Salish sounds. Moreover, the meanings of some Indian words had changed over time, or she could not get at the original meaning of a word because a tribe had died out.

     Spikst: is the word for "glove" in Okanagan, and I hardly think that the Indians used the fingered gloves in the early day, when they had no means of cutting them easily like we have in the present day. And a hand cover is hardly a word that would find correct meaning in the Indian language. So use speekist, with English diff..... will be all O.K.
     Unless you want hand cover. I will try and write word. hard word to write[.] (c. late 1921 [57;269])

There was even the further complication of multiple Indian languages and dialects. McWhorter asked: "In the Semteema's [sic] stories, and in these legends, the term `sun-down' is used in the sense of one `day' or `days.' Is this the way you want it? I like it, as different from the `sun' of the Yakimas and others. Tell me if O.K." Mourning Dove responded on the same sheet of paper:

In answer to this, you can use your own judgment. They are both correct in the Okanogan dialect. It seems that each is used, according to the speakers idea of speech. Usually the Indians call a day "light day" and night "dark night." According to what they are speaking off. And sun-down is used as well as sun, by one Indians that live in different locations on the Reservation. This Reserve have quite a few varied dialects, similar to one another, and yet not the same. There are Lakes. Colville. Lower and northren Okanogans. Wenatchees. Nes Perce. San Poils. Ketle River Indians. (c. late 1922 [211;1505])

McWhorter's curiosity was insatiable. He hungered to understand distinctions that were not clear to him, and Mourning Dove became, at {172} times, McWhorter's teacher. In a long letter dated November 22, 1921, she explains that there is a difference between Coyote's squ-tenk power and the shoó-mesh of the other animals. A year later McWhorter was still asking questions. Why does grizzly-bear throw off his summer-coat and "don his shaggiest winter-coat" while "flashing his new, sharp summer teeth" (c. late 1922). Mourning Dove explains:

Summer teeth seems to be correct as far as Indian dilect is concerned in speech. It is supposed to be in legends that after a bear's winters rest he comes out with sharper teeth then in the fall, when he had used the teeth all summer. So naturally winter teeth would not be as sharp, not as sharp as summer teeth. You might change that, and put summer teeth with his summer coat. But it seems that the story teller wants to impress the idea that Grizzle bear wanted to be seen in his fiercest look. So it speaks of its shaggy winter coat, and summer new sharp teeth. You might make a note on this effect, and explain why it speaks thus. (c. late 1922 [6;1635D])

        Theirs had become a genuine dialogue. Mourning Dove and McWhorter spoke directly to one another. Their material was known by them both. They had created a common language and common goals. McWhorter did not move, as he had done with Cogewea, from editor into co-writer. The manuscript for Okanogan Sweat House includes 38 stories and is clearly Mourning Dove's work, with grammatical editing and notes by McWhorter, and Indian names and spellings which McWhorter and Mourning Dove agreed upon.16
        There was, however, still one major problem. McWhorter continued to believe that Mourning Dove's public voice should sound as erudite as possible in order to confound the blatant racism that surrounded them. "The Red Cross and the Okanogans,"17 mistakenly reprinted as her own writing by Jay Miller in the Appendix to Mourning Dove, A Salishan Autobiography, is a good example of a McWhorter-written "Mourning Dove" piece. Her own "Foreword" for Okanogan Sweat House, mailed with a December 27, 1921 letter, is quite different in tone, and in vocabulary and command of English. She clearly was intimidated by the formality of the address:

I have L. V. McWhorter of Yakima Wash, a man of whom has much interest in Indian life, to thank for this attempt of putting into words the tales and folk,lores of my people. My interests were to write novels of the Indian view point, but when this suggestion was made to me to preserve which is fast vanishing away from our reach, to forget the traditions of the Okanangons and Swa netk qha people with {173} the whirl of civilization[.] our young Indians are civilizing in their savage way so fastly that folklores are not of interest to them any more.
     I first wrote my lines of these stories much against my will, but as I worked and gathered among the oldest Indians of my people I found a rich feild that had never been hardly touch with the hand of the whiteman, altho it has been attempted too several times. But a Whiteman cannot understand what an Indian will see and know which comes from the heart, and not from only the voice. The work got my great sympathy and interst of my fast vanishing people. . . .
     If tho my people of today lose their confidence in me/ for exposeing their gaurded traditions, to be preserved for the future generations to be read, I will feel well rewarded for my poor attempt to interest my readers of these folklores of my ansestors. (204-205;1505)

A year later she signed a "Prologue" written by McWhorter which begins:

It has been with the greatest reluctance that I consented to attempt this chronicling of the comparetively few legends now available of the once profuse oral philosophy of my tribe. None but those who have engaged in original research among the native Americans can realize the many intricate barriers to be surmounted. The secretive tendencies of the Indian and his well founded distrust of the white man, locks his bosom against a divulgence of the constructive conception of those ideals held to be sacred with the older tribesmen. . . . We have long since been made to realize that none of our ideals, as measured by the white man's standard of conception, are deserving of perpetuation; and but for the sympathetic urgings of one who has in many ways proven himself worthy of our inmost confidence as a heart to heart friend, I never could have found courage to face the possible displeasure of my tribesmen in this, to them holding up of our ancient beliefs to the ridicule of an alien people. . . . (December 1922 [198-200;1505])

However, she did not sign the "Prologue" without comment:

I am sending you back the things you wished for me to sign. And finding nothing to correct I am sending it back to you. Don't, you think that it is rather a little too "high toned" language. I cannot understand it all. unless I go back to old--Webster" for help. (January 10, 1923 [2-3;363])18

        It may be that Mourning Dove's observations about the "high toned" {174} language were shared by publishers. Moreover, while at least two firms, Richard B. Badger, Publisher, and the Macmillan Company, did express interest, McWhorter had had such a bad experience with the Four Seas Company over the publication of Cogewea, the Half- Blood,19 that he was aggressive in his presentation and insisted that the publication of the legends be on a royalty basis only. Six long years went by without a successful nibble. Mourning Dove grew discouraged and, caught up in the events of her personal life, she stopped collecting traditional stories. They were at a standstill. Then three events occurred. Cogewea was finally published and in Mourning Dove's hands by June of 1928; McWhorter decided to involve Dean Guie20 in a reworking of the Okanogan Sweat House manuscript in early 1929; and McWhorter's wife, Annie, died in August of 1929. The death of McWhorter's wife devastated him. He was 69 years old, and Mourning Dove's correspondence clearly indicated her concern over his state of mind:

Kindly forgive me for intruding in your time of sorrow, but I am beganing to worry of your welfare.
     Maybe you are away to Montana as you planned. But wherever you are I hope you are well and have health. Your works needs you. and hope that the Great Spirit spares you for sometime yet. (September 27, 1929 [14-15;441])

McWhorter did throw himself back into his work, and Mourning Dove was quick to respond:

I think that I can write those dam words better than I use too, years ago when we first started to writing. Don't you think so, and I can hit the keys on this machine much faster than I use too. I have wrote this letter while the potatoes are cooking for our dinner. Savey?
     I mean those blamed Indian words, gee I hater to write them, but I will do anything to please you in our work. (December 23, 1929 [61-62;269])

Mourning Dove's commitment to McWhorter in his sorrow led her ultimately to participate in a far more intense linguistic inquiry initiated by Dean Guie, and to accommodate a number of changes which this new editor suggested.
        Initially Dean Guie's involvement was presented to Mourning Dove as that of a proof-reader (February 18, 1929 [67-68;526]). But Guie saw opportunities for himself in the publication of the book. His role developed into that of an illustrator and an editor over time. By June 26, 1929 (90-91;386), he inquired about what percentage of the profits Mourning Dove might let him have, and by July 19,1930, he asked {175} McWhorter if he could be listed as the editor:

I remember you saying that Mourning Dove wanted to get away from any indication that her book was edited. I would like to have her change her mind (women do) so I could get some recognition for any future work. Get my monicker before the publishers. I do not think it would reflect on M. Dove as author of the legends, as so many books and magazine articles are handled in that way. (8;322)

He was accommodated because McWhorter had faith that Guie would get the book published when McWhorter's best efforts had failed.
        Guie initiated a number of major changes. He suggested changing the title (63;526), limiting the number of legends to be included in the collection, and rearranging their order to better fit a white reader's expectations. He also quickly assessed that salability would be enhanced if the stories were directed to a juvenile audience (June 26, 1929 [90-91;386]). To do so, the raunchy parts, particularly of Coyote's doings, had to be deleted, and there were other modifications he made in light of the decorum of the day. His most insidious requests turned on pushing Mourning Dove to be ethnographically correct, for she should appear to be an expert about her culture, and that evidently meant reinforcing what social scientists believed.
        The middle-aged McWhorter had refused to adapt the legends for school children for he thought that that would demean their significance and perpetuate the racial bias that Indians were "children." But the older McWhorter was tired and grieving. Moreover, it is clear that he was impressed by Guie's thorough questioning on technical issues involving translation, and he was grateful for the energy Guie brought to the project. Thus he cooperated as a second to Guie's initiation of actions. Mourning Dove, wanting to please McWhorter and ease his pain, said yes to whatever made McWhorter happy.
        However altered the tales, McWhorter's faith in Guie proved sound for Coyote Stories, "[e]dited and illustrated by Heister Dean Guie, with notes by L. V. McWhorter (Old Wolf), and a forward by Chief Standing Bear," was published by Caxton Printers in 1933. It was so successful that it had a reprinting in 1934, and just this past year (1990) it was published again by the University of Nebraska Press. That Guie's version continues to be a success while the earlier manuscript has been by-passed except for Donald Hines' 1976 Tales of the Okanogans, raises serious questions about what we are willing to hear as representative of Indian voices.
        But Mourning Dove and McWhorter did not raise that issue. Their friendship was deep and sure. The work that reflected two decades of {176} collaborative effort, at last, was at hand. On July 20th, 1933, Mourning Dove wrote to McWhorter:

I quite remember that we met through Caesar Williams in 1915. I frequently think how fortunated that I met you. My book of "Cogeawea" would never had being anything but the cheap foolscap paper that was written on if you had not helped me get it in shape. I can never repay you back I am sure while we are here in this old planet. Too poor. I count, that we are in great luck to have the help of Mr Guie. I am anxious to see the new book. Another feather in our "cap" when that comes out of publication. (164-165;1547)

        The relationship that evolved between Mourning Dove and L. V. McWhorter reflects on something richer than the works that they finally published. These two people grew together as friends and co-workers in their commitment to write about their times and to preserve some of the Indian culture they watched disintegrating around them. Both were poor. Both had minimal frontier educations. But in the resilience of their spirits Mourning Dove and McWhorter chose to write what they could, to learn what they could, and to preserve what they could, when many around them, both Indian and white, believed that their efforts reflected a kind of madness. In reality, their choices demonstrated insight and courage. Their finest collaboration is the story that they made of their lives.


        1Three books by Mourning Dove are in print. Cogewea, the Half-Blood, first published by the Four Seas Co. of Boston, 1927 (ed. L. V. McWhorter), was reprinted by Nebraska U P in 1981 (ed. Dexter Fisher). Coyote Stories, first published by Caxton Printers, Ltd. of Idaho, in 1933, and reprinted in 1934 (ed. Dean Guie), has now been reprinted again by Nebraska U P, 1990 (ed. Jay Miller). The manuscript Mourning Dove was working on during the last years of her life is now in print as Mourning Dove, A Salishan Autobiography (Nebraska U P, 1990), and is edited by Jay Miller. Donald Hines edited a complete version of the legends collected by Mourning Dove, Tales of the Okanogans (WA: Ye Galleon Press, 1976). Unfortunately, this book is now out of print.

        2(Albuquerque, New Mexico: U of New Mexico P) 173-80.

        3My critiques of Jay Miller's treatment of Mourning Dove's texts are published in The Women's Review of Books 8.2 (November 1990): 19-20 and SAIL 3.2 (Summer 1991): 66-70.

        4(Boston: Beacon P) 81-84, 151.

        5(Lincoln: Nebraska U P) vii.

        6Mourning Dove always refers to 1888, the Tribal Enrollment Services records indicate 1887, and the Allotment records indicate 1882, 1886, and 1887, for her birth year. This information was gleaned from Mourning Dove's probate records which the family has generously shared with me.

        7This letter is in the extensive twenty-year correspondence between Lucullus Virgil McWhorter and Mourning Dove which is housed at the Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections Division of the Washington State Universities Libraries, Pullman, Washington 99164. The correspondence is kept in individual folders and each sheet of paper within a folder is numbered. Some folders have several files, and if so, further letters indicate the file within a given folder. Some sheets have the same number with additional letters to indicate their order in a file. This 30 September 1914 letter is sheet 11 of folder 395. All further correspondence from the L. V. McWhorter collection will be indicated by date, page numbers; folder number. The quoted material will maintain the writer's original spelling and grammar with the exception that a period or comma in brackets is my insertion in order to help reader clarity. Such additions have been kept to a minimum. There also may be explanatory notes about dates. Such dates reflect my best judgment on the placement of letters based on their content and other technical assessments. Approximately 15% of the Mourning Dove/McWhorter correspondence is partially dated or has no date at all. A few letters are dated incorrectly. The letters are published with the knowledge and permission of the family elders, Mary Lemery and Charles Quintasket.

        8Big Foot was the affectionate name given to Lucullus Virgil McWhorter by his Indian friends. He also had an Indian name, Shopowtan (Old Wolf) which was given to him when he was adopted into the Yakima Tribe for all his efforts on their behalf. He was largely responsible for preventing the Yakimas from being dispossessed of millions of dollars worth of land and water rights. McWhorter is also known for his pamphlet, The Crime Against the Yakimas (Republic Print, 1913); and for his book, Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia (Republican Publishing Co., 1915); for editing a reprint of The Wonders of Geyser Land by Frank D. Carpenter (1878), retitled Adventures in Geyser Land (Caxton Printers, 1935); and for privately publishing a pamphlet on the Tragedy of the Wahk-Shum (1937); followed by two books, Yellow Wolf: His Own Story (Caxton Printers, 1940), and posthumously, Hear Me, My Chiefs! Nez Perce History and Legend (Caxton Printers, 1952).
     L. V. McWhorter was born in what became the state of West Virginia, January 29, 1860. His father was a Universalist minister. In 1903 he moved to the Yakima Valley in Washington and lived there until his death on October 10, 1944. Nelson A. Ault's "Introduction" to The Papers of Lucullus Virgil McWhorter, reprinted by the Friends of the Library, State College of Washington (Pullman, 1959), from Research Studies of the State College of Washington XXV1.2-4 and XXV11.1-2, gives a good overview of McWhorter's life and a listing of his extensive correspondence now housed at the
{178} Holland Library, Washington State University, Pullman.

        9J. P. (John Patterson) MacLean, Ph.D., lived in Greenville, Ohio and was a recognized antiquarian and Americanist. He wrote a number of books on subjects such as the Manual of the Antiquity of Man (Universalist Publishing House, 1877); Mastodon, Mammoth and Man (R. Clarke and Co., 1880); The Mound Builders (R. Clarke & Co., 1887); "A Critical Examination of the Evidences Adduced to Establish the Theory of the Norse Discovery of America" (American Antiquarian Office, 1892); and A Bibliography of Shaker Literature (F. J. Heer, 1905). Shakers of Ohio: Fugitive Papers Concerning the Shakers of Ohio was posthumously published by Porcupine Press in 1975. J. P. MacLean was born March 12, 1847 and died in 1939. The last letter in the Mourning Dove, McWhorter and MacLean correspondence at Holland Library is dated June 11, 1933. That letter advises McWhorter not to publish Coyote Stories for the Depression will seriously impact sales. McWhorter chose to go ahead, and the book was surprisingly successful. It was in a second edition by 1934.

        10Through 1921 Mourning Dove signed her name Morning Dove. Then on December 27, 1921, she visited a museum and discovered that she had been misspelling her name. The Okanogan word for the bird, Mourning Dove, is Humishuma. She published Cogewea, the Half-Blood and Coyote Stories using both the Indian name and its English translation. Her Christian name was Christine Quintasket. She was married twice, first to Hector McLeod (1908) and then to Fred Galler (1919).

11This note is undated, but clearly belongs to the March 1916, correspondence because of subject matter, handwriting, and the origin of the letter.

        12For further discussion of Mourning Dove's illness and the immediate years following, read Alanna Brown, "Mourning Dove's Canadian Recovery Years, 1917-1919," Canadian Literature 124 & 125 (Spring-Summer 1990): 113-122. Reprinted in Native American Writers and Canadian Writing, ed. W. H. New (Vancouver, B.C.: U of British Columbia P, 1990): 113-22.

        13The James Tait referred to in this letter is James Teit, a well-known student of Franz Boaz.

        14The month of this letter was determined by the origin of the letter, the references to Christmas, and the typescript. The day and year are clearly indicated.

        15The month and day are indicated on this letter as well as that it is a Friday. Referral to a yearly calendar for the Twentieth Century was used to determine the year for this important letter.

        16Donald Hines realized the value of that 1922 manuscript and edited it into Tales of the Okanogans (Fairfax, WA: Ye Galleon Press, 1976). All 38 of the original tales Mourning Dove and McWhorter worked on are included. Just over twenty-seven are in Coyote Stories, for Guie collapsed a few stories together. Hines' "Dedication" to the work reads: "Humishumi, Mourning Dove. Because of her, the rich oral literature of her people has been preserved {179} for coming generations." The following list indicates the table of contents for Okanogan Sweat House:

        1--the great spirit names the animal people
        2--how coyote killed the monster whale of the swah-netk-qha
        3--the whale monster of the swah-netk-qha
        4--north wind monster
        5--coyote kills wind
        6--coyote subdues the man-eating monsters
        7--coyote kills owl-woman
        8--how coyote killed flint
        9--how coyote broke the salmon dam
        10--the first sun dance
        11--the moon and sun gods
        12--boy lynx and owl-woman
        13--rattlesnake kills salmon
        14--origin of mosquito
        15--how crawfish whipped grizzlybear
        16--how gartersnake scared thunderbird
        17--the camas woman
        18--coyote's son muskrat and grizzlybear
        19--the sons of beaver and coyote
        20--coyote and woodtick
        21--how coyote imitated bear and kingfisher
        22--chickadee kills elk
        23--the arrow trail to the upper world-land
        24--the three wolf brothers and three bear sisters
        25--coyote and fox
        26--how rabbit lost his tail
        27--how skunk came by his tail
        28--coyote and buffalo
        29--fisher and martin
        30--fisher and his brother skunk
        31--coyote as a handsome woman
        32--coyote and his daughter
        33--how coyote lost and regained his eyes
        34--how coyote drowned because of thirst
        35--coyote devours his own children
        36--coyote marries his own daughter
        37--how spider came by his long legs
        38--how disease came to the people (c. late 1921 [4;1505])

While Hines' edition is closer to the original manuscript than Guie's (Miller's), both editors rearranged the order of the tales. Guie also altered the titles of many of the stories. The effect of those changes, combined with the exclusion of a number of the tales, is that the tables of contents of Okanogan Sweat House and Coyote Stories will appear to be different Salish collections with some duplication.

        17Mourning Dove, A Salishan Autobiography, ed. Jay Miller (Lincoln: Nebraska U P, 1990): 189-92. "The Red Cross and the Okanogans" was written sometime in January 1919, and refers to the killer flu epidemic of that 1918-1919 winter. It can be found in the McWhorter letters (18-22; 272).

        18This letter was accidentally dated 1922 by Mourning Dove. The date was changed in accordance with the subject matter and because Mourning Dove had to resort to handwriting in early 1922 when her typewriter broke down. This letter makes a reference to that event.

        19In June and July of 1925, McWhorter negotiated a contract to publish Cogewea, the Half-Blood with the Four Seas Company of Boston. Both McWhorter and Mourning Dove were asked to put up $200 each to initiate publication. They sent out flyers with the expectation that the book would be out by early 1926. The publishers did not get to the publication until late 1927 when McWhorter moved to sue the company for mail fraud. The publication was shoddily done, and to McWhorter's horror, he discovered that he had signed away the rights to the book.

        20Heister Dean Guie was in his 20s when he began to work on Okanogan Sweat House. He had journalism experience from writing for his home town paper in Yakima, and social connections there undoubtedly brought McWhorter and Guie together. During their collaboration on the legends, Guie lived with his wife in Seattle, Washington. Guie corresponded with McWhorter. McWhorter corresponded with Mourning Dove and Guie.



Birgit Hans

Has Morgan the right to take my child from me when I want to raise him as white man, and fit him for a better lot in Life, than the common indian. (Philomene McNickle)

        D'Arcy McNickle, who was born on the Flathead Reservation in 1904, was ten years old when his mother wrote the above letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in a futile attempt to regain custody of her three children, especially of her son, after her divorce from her white husband William McNickle. Even though she was unsuccessful and D'Arcy McNickle had to remain in Chemawa, the Indian boarding school, for four years, her wish to "raise him as white man" determined his life until 1934 when financial necessity and a growing sense of his self as Indian led McNickle to apply for a position in John Collier's administration.
        As a student in the English Department at the University of Montana (1921-25) McNickle began his career as a writer. He published several short stories and poems in the University's literary journal Frontier. When he left Montana in 1925 to attend Oxford University in England for a year, he took with him a letter of recommendation in which Professor Merriam expressed his hopes for his student: "He wrote prose of quiet energy and subtlety of expression. I can therefore recommend him to Oxford University as a student of sincere purpose, of considerable promise, and of devotion to literature" (Merriam, letter). McNickle had hoped to finish his degree at Oxford, but his funds, acquired by the sale of his allotment on the Flathead Reservation, gave out, and he settled in New York City in 1926 on his return from Europe. The journal entries of those New York years from 1926 to 1935 show that McNickle was well aware of the difficulties of establishing himself as a professional writer; however, he never doubted his ultimate success and even managed to publish at least two short stories during those years. To support himself, his wife and, later, his daughter, he did research, editorial work and manuscript reading, and also free lance writing. McNickle's secure and comfortable city life lasted until the Great Depression really settled in in 1934; the financial situation of the McNickle family then grew desperate at times. McNickle could no longer afford the luxury of waiting for success with The Surrounded. He accepted work with the Federal Writers Project in Washington D.C. in 1935. In 1936, shortly after his move to the capital, he was offered the position in the Bureau of Indian {182} Affairs that he had first applied for in 1934 and which he would hold until 1952. At this point his literary career was put on hold; after the publication of The Surrounded in 1936, McNickle applied his powers of writing to non-fiction, and his second novel Wind from an Enemy Sky was only published posthumously in 1978.
        However, those years in New York City represent a crucial period in McNickle's personal development that found reflection in his writing. The earliest years in the city were marked by a reluctance to acknowledge his mixed-blood heritage. McNickle immersed himself completely in the life of the city, hoping that it would help him attain the goal that his mother had set for him at an early age: to become an American and to participate in what has been called the "American Dream."
        The final break with this ambition occurred when he applied to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1934, but a journal entry of August 1932 shows that McNickle's disenchantment with mainstream American life and its stifling materialism had begun earlier:

Naturally the first years were confusion. Scorning, instinctively the ways of the prudent and worldly-wise, I had no substitute for worldly wisdom. The instinct which led me away from one path, was not competent to stumble upon another. I knew that I wanted to write and that I did not want to return to the scenes from which I had fled. . . .
     In my first job, selling automobiles, I went through a seven months' daily betrayal of my birthright in opposition. Everything I was called upon to do was a violation of instinct and desire. I continued the effort under the impression that my instincts and desires were untutored and therefore probably in error. . . . I should have learned this: instincts, right or wrong, cannot be abandoned without seriously impairing integrity, out of which rise self-possession, confidence, the very ability to act and think. (McNickle, Journal)

McNickle's confidence in his ability as a writer, hinted at here and stated clearly in other journal entries of the New York years, was not shaken by publishers or their rejections of his first novel, The Surrounded. Manuscript versions were making the rounds of publishers by 1929, and a list among his papers at the Newberry Library in Chicago indicates that the manuscript must have passed through almost every publishing house in New York City until it was published by Dodd and Mead in 1936. Despite the rejections, the manuscript versions often received positive reviews that encouraged McNickle to revise the manuscript--which he did. Despite revisions, and revisions of {183} revisions, publishers kept rejecting the manuscript. By 1934 McNickle had reached the conclusion that publishing was merely a business for the publishers; it was not his writing they objected to but, in his opinion, they were afraid of the financial failure of a novel dealing in a new way with the theme of the American Indian.
        McNickle probably returned from Europe with the first version of The Surrounded in his suitcase. However, the actual number of revisions the novel subsequently went through is unknown. The manuscript seems to have undergone three major structural stages, though, each marked by a different working title: The Hungry Generations, Dead Grass and, finally, The Surrounded. Today there is one earlier version of The Surrounded still in existence among the McNickle papers at The Newberry Library in Chicago. It is a longhand version, unfortunately undated and untitled, but a reader's review and McNickle's journals suggest that the manuscript version is one of the versions called The Hungry Generations. The manuscript version seems to be part of McNickle's earlier years of complete assimilation, and Archilde's journey of self-discovery reflects McNickle's own unquestioning acceptance of mainstream American values of that time. If McNickle had managed to get this early manuscript version published, it might have become the hoped-for popular success, since it was in accordance with the zeitgeist and followed patterns established by writers such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.
        In 1934 McNickle began his most thorough revision of The Surrounded. As the chart on the following page indicates, this revision affected not only the plot structure but the entire focus of the novel: the thoroughly Americanized Archilde of the manuscript version became the Archilde who reluctantly rediscovers his mother's Indian heritage in The Surrounded. The deletion of the Paris episode from the manuscript version eliminates one of the major themes of the original novel, the confrontation of East and West, and thereby makes the plot more cohesive and unified in The Surrounded. At the same time the re-arrangement of scenes allowed McNickle to add material to the other major theme, the Flatheads' reservation life. A look at the chart makes it immediately apparent that McNickle places more emphasis on the "Indianness" of his characters in the published version; he added the story of Big Paul, elements of Flathead oral tradition, and stories of the missionaries' arrival and work on the Flathead Reservation.
        While Archilde's, the main character's, relationship with his white father Max remains basically the same in the manuscript version and The Surrounded, Archilde's relationship with his Flathead mother changes drastically from one version to the other. Unable to forgive his mother her "Indianness" and her killing of the game warden, which


Plot summary of The Surrounded

manuscript version and published version

MONTANA, Flathead Reservation
Archilde's return to father's ranch
- harvest
- hunting trip with his mother: death of Louis and the game warden
- Father Grepilloux's death
- Archilde's arrest and release
- reconciliation with and death of father
manuscript version

- Archilde practicing on his violin, interest in history, the city
- "friendship" with several young American musicians and Claudia Burness
- memories of Chemawa
- confrontation with Mrs. Burness about her sons who are among his new friends
- death of Archilde's mother
- departure for Montana

- Archilde's unsuccessful attempts to make nephews into white farmers after their return from Chemawa
- trouble with storekeeper Moser
- Archilde's arrest for murder of the game warden

- kangaroo court and weeks in jail
- trial with lengthy speeches of the prosecuting and defense attorneys
- Archilde's acquittal and return to
- announcement of Claudia's arrival

published version

- recollections of missionaries' arrival by Archilde's mother
- return of his nephews from school
- dance and "covering the fault with the
- relationship with Elise
- "Badlands" episode
- death of Archilde's mother

- flight into the mountains to escape arrest for game warden's murder
- arrest in mountains after Elise has killed the sheriff

{185} forces him to lie to the white authorities, the Archilde of the manuscript version exiles himself from Montana to acquire the necessary knowledge to leave behind forever the Indian part of his character. Only his mother's death makes it possible for him to return to his father's land and to struggle for the agrarian paradise that is his father's heritage. Claudia's imminent arrival at the end of the manuscript version indicates that Archilde will find the happiness that Max claims was denied to him because of his marriage to an Indian woman. In The Surrounded, on the other hand, Archilde's initial resentment of his mother's retribution for her son Louis's death changes to understanding and a protective attitude. Because of Archilde's re-orientation toward the Indian part of his heritage in the published version, he, too, is "surrounded" at the end of the novel; McNickle holds out no hope to the reader that the Archilde of the published version will be acquitted like the Archilde of the manuscript version. The Big Paul story and the new priest show that, once "surrounded," there is no escape for either full-blood or half-blood.
        The manuscript version of The Surrounded makes for heavy reading. Archilde, whose point of view is the only one given, is inarticulate to the very end, and his attempts to explain his feelings and thoughts, especially in the Paris part, come to nothing. There is too much interior monologue. Occasionally, McNickle spends too much time on descriptions of place and customs of Montana people. One instance is the kangaroo court that tries Archilde in jail. The descriptions of inmates and their sentencing are excellent, but they serve no purpose, since Archilde refuses from the first to have anything to do with the other prisoners and prefers isolation. Interesting though these examples of western realism are, they hold up the development of the plot, especially since McNickle has not achieved the same degree of mastery of the English language that is such a prominent characteristic of the published novel.
        The chart shows that McNickle treated a variety of issues in the manuscript version, especially in the Paris episode, e.g., ambition and formal education, later explored in the short stories "In the Alien Corn" and "Six Beautiful in Paris." This paper will only deal with the central theme of the manuscript version, miscegenation and the destruction of the ideal of the Noble Savage to prove the need for assimilation.
        The theme of miscegenation runs like a red thread through the manuscript version, since the protagonist Archilde himself is a half-blood, born to a Flathead mother and a white father. Despite his wish to become part of white Montana society, Archilde finds it most difficult to talk to his white father, due to Max's preconceptions about mixed-bloods. At the very beginning of the novel's earlier version {186} Archilde acknowledges that physically he is a part of both his parents. There is nothing in his outward appearance, however, to remind Max (whose older sons have become criminals despite the same educational advantages offered to them) of his mixed-blood status. "Distinct from his brothers, he had few of the features of the Indian; most people who were accustomed to see breeds were genuinely surprised when they learned that he was a half-breed. . . . It almost seemed that he was his father's sole inheritor" (Manuscript 265).
        Initially, Max cannot see that difference, even though his youngest son's outward appearance sets him even physically apart from his brothers; Max simply generalizes his experiences with his mixed-blood older sons and decides that all mixed-bloods will return to their Indian heritage. Even though Indians are to be pitied for what the white man has done to them, they are lost beyond hope to alcohol, disease and lethargy. The future of both communities, the Indian as well as the white, is a dark one.

He could not think of that yardful of energetic youngsters without a shudder. In his mind's eye he saw them as they would be in ten or fifteen years. He saw the misery they would bring to themselves and such of their relatives as had any sense. . . .
     He was responsible for some part of the condition. In the enthusiasm of conquest he had turned squaw-man and now he could walk along the road and reflect on its consequences. Never had he seen a white man who was happy with his Indian wife and family. (Manuscript 57)

Despite his resentment towards his family, Max feels an individual responsibility for what is happening in the Flathead Valley, but he is sure that nothing can be done to reclaim these children of mixed-blood marriages who are doomed to a criminal or at least unproductive life from birth. After Father Grepilloux's death he summarizes his feelings when talking to George Moser, the storekeeper:

Wives were makeshift too. A white man married a squaw in the same way that he put dirt on the roof of his cabin in place of shingles. . . .
     A squaw was all right until she gave you a child. There he lay in front of you, ugly and black. What could you do? Give him the best Christian name you could think of and let it go at that. . . . For his squaw, he had no hard words. She worked, not hard and what she did was of little account, but she minded her own business and never asked for anything. . . .
     "I tell you we've been fools. Did we think we could build {187} a paradise here? Did we think the Indians were lambs, free of sin and ready to be made into Christians? Look at them! They are diseased, many are born blind and crippled. The rest are drinking themselves to death and gambling away every penny, every shred of property that they get their hands on." (Manuscript 87-88)

Max stereotypes the roles of the white man and the Indian here. The white man is seen as an idealist who believed in the natural purity of the Indian; the Indian would have had the ability to acquire civilization, i.e., to become a Christian and farmer, if he had chosen to do so. On their arrival in the Flathead Valley Max, the first generation American of European descent, and Father Grepilloux originally shared the idealistic views about the Indians of the French philosophers, Baron de Lahontan and Jean Jacques Rousseau. Of course their idealized image of the Noble Savage and the sense of their own loss that the members of the European community experienced could not survive the reality of the settlers' daily encounters with the American Indian. Max's ideas about an agrarian paradise in which the white settlers and the Noble Savage share remain nebulous in the manuscript version, just as his feeling of responsibility does not go beyond a generalized pity. There is no basic doubt in the manuscript version that they could have created an agrarian paradise in the Flathead Valley if there had been no mixing of blood.
        McNickle comments much more critically on the agrarian paradise in the published version of The Surrounded. Max refers to Rousseau's Noble Savage very early in the novel: "It was not laziness, and it was not romanticism. He never thought the Indians were `noble' or children of a lost paradise, while it was true that the old life was much cleaner than the present existence, it was still hard for a white man to stomach" (The Surrounded 42). And Father Grepilloux shows Max in The Surrounded what the white pursuit of the agrarian paradise has done to the Flathead. "You have least to complain of. You lose your sons, but these people have lost a way of life, and with it their pride, their dignity, their strength" (The Surrounded 59). Here there is doubt in the validity of the French philosophers' ideals that is entirely lacking in the manuscript version. There, Max and Father Grepilloux, and later Archilde, pursue their dream of an agrarian paradise without ever critically examining its premise. Their failure to change the Noble Savages to contented farmers becomes, in their minds, the Flatheads' inability to be taught. There is no response from the full-blood or mixed-blood community; Archilde's brother Pete, for instance, has all the right tools, but they decay by the rich soil of the wheatfields because he does not know what to do with them. The General {188} Allotment Act (1887) gave Pete individual ownership of land and the Indian agent provided the tools, but neither can force him to become, by white standards, a productive member of the mainstream culture.
        In the manuscript version the case is even more desperate, in Max's eyes, than mere failure of government policy or of his idealistic preconceptions about Indians: even the Christian names of his sons cannot conquer the "ugly" and "black" babies of the mixed-blood marriages. The good cannot overcome the evil, and his sons must be regarded as servants of the Devil. Max's final statement that he will never return to the Mission after Father Grepilloux's death indicates that the forces of evil, the children of these two worlds, have destroyed all possibilities of a Christian paradise in the valley as well. God, in Max's view, is the God of the Old Testament who has marked these children of the Devil with disease and deformity. Nothing honorable can be attributed to them, not even gratitude to their greatest benefactor, Father Grepilloux. "In the back of his brain he [Max] still heard the Indians wailing in that dismal tone and he wondered if, after all, they did have human feelings . . ." (Manuscript 8). In their possible ingratitude to Father Grepilloux Max finds his justification for his rejection of his sons.
        In contrast to Max, Father Grepilloux attempts--in the manuscript version--to discredit the long perpetuated stereotype that Indians are children of the Devil. Max thinks, however, that even saintly Father Grepilloux has lost faith in the idealistic beliefs of the beginning, since he did not commit the "mistake" of leaving his order to marry a native woman. "Possibly Grepilloux had even thought of putting aside the robe and living what he thought was more powerful than the word. His wisdom was that he kept to the robe" (Manuscript 87). The dream that the mixed-blood children would inherit the best qualities of their parents has given way to reality; these children combine the worst qualities of both, and civilization has embarked on a course of self-destruction. Max summarily dismisses all dreams. "I came from Spain when I was a small boy and I don't remember the town in which I was born. If I hadn't married a squaw no doubt I should have been happy" (Manuscript 30).
        McNickle's early view of the Indians' place in Christianity is neither new nor original, but is based on such colonial writings as William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation. The underlying belief was that Christianity would naturally lead to assimilation. The same idea is expressed in The Surrounded; however, McNickle chooses to contrast the old missionary with the new priest, Father Jerome, in the published novel. Father Grepilloux realizes that even the Christian faith does not make the Flatheads into partners of the white farmers. He withdraws {189} from reality and writes the mission's history in isolation, thereby living in a past where dreams of a Christian community seemed based on fact. Father Jerome is the opposite of Father Grepilloux. He represents a church that is no longer interested in the spiritual welfare of the Indian community. "Father Jerome was not really prejudiced; it could hardly be said that he looked down upon the Indians. . . . He was dull; he neither scolded nor exhorted; he dogmatized" (The Surrounded 263). This demand for blind adherence to the Catholic faith closes the door to all change in the published version; the church will not be able to help the Indian community adjust to the new life, and the Indians can no longer find help in the mission as they did during Father Grepilloux's time. McNickle uses the new rigidity of the church in The Surrounded to close the circle; the Flatheads are surrounded by whites, by physical boundaries, and by spiritual boundaries.
        Father Grepilloux is one of McNickle's forceful characters that appear in both manuscript and published versions of the novel, and despite the numerous revisions of the novel his character remains the same. However, his role in the two versions differs. Being the only representative of the church in the manuscript version, Father Grepilloux serves to emphasize the hopelessness of the struggle to civilize the Flatheads. The juxtaposition of the old priest and the young priest in The Surrounded permits Father Grepilloux to assume some of the burden for the failure of the church to make assimilation work and to make the Indians full members of white Montana society. It is one of the major achievements of the revisions of the manuscript version, then, that McNickle manages to reverse the well-worn stereotypes of Christianity and civilization in The Surrounded without damaging the integrity of Father Grepilloux.
        Other white characters in the manuscript version share Max's negative view of Indians and mixed-bloods. One of them is George Moser, the white storekeeper, who is only interested in financial gain. His exploitations extend to Flatheads and whites alike. McNickle's negative characterization throughout the manuscript version is explained by Moser's outsider position in Montana society; he is a Yankee. He remains a negative force to the end: he corrupts Archilde's nephews, he provides drink for Archilde's brothers, he accuses Archilde of murder, and he gives a damning character reference for Archilde during the trial. His desire for revenge, caused by Archilde's refusal to be taken advantage of, moves the plot of the manuscript version sluggishly along. His outsider position defeats him in the end, since the defense attorney uses his Yankee origin and its negative connotations to turn the court against him. He is not needed as a foil to Archilde's character in The Surrounded, and he basically disappears from the {190} published version after Max's death. His negative judgment of Archilde is taken up by the prosecuting attorney. Representing law and government, the prosecuting attorney rejects the Indians' right to self-determination and advocates forced assimilation. He is not only trying Archilde but the entire Indian and half-blood community in his indictment.

We have labored under the theory that we are under debt to the Indians and we have permitted them privileges which we deny ourselves. I think it is high time we questioned the wisdom of such a course of action. If the Indian is to form a part of our state he must learn the duties and qualities of a citizen. How is he to get this knowledge? By granting him special privileges and dealing leniently with him when he defies our laws? Is that the way we treat our children when they disobey our wishes and wander from the straight path? . . . We come from a race of sturdy Pilgrim fathers who knew the virtues of discipline. They built for us a great nation on that very principle. Let us not give their work into the hands of a race undisciplined in either spirit or mind. (Manuscript 315-16)

In the early manscript even Claudia, the young American girl Archilde had met in Paris, subscribes to stereotypes. Having met Archilde in France, the country of Lahontan and Rousseau, she regards Archilde in the light of their doctrine of the Noble Savage, despite the fact that she has come to know him first on a more personal basis through their day to day encounters. "Is it true that you are--Indian? . . . Do you know, I think that's too marvelous for words! It gives me the queerest thrill. Now I understand many things that puzzled me before--your reticence, directness, honesty, your genuine wonder--all that is so unusual and admirable" (Manuscript 199-200). The reality of her mother's illness forces her, however, to re-think her own past and future; in the end she sees Archilde as an individual rather than the representative of a noble race, and joins him in Montana.
        There are two or three instances at the end of the manuscript version that give a glimpse of the character Archilde was to become in The Surounded. A chance encounter with Blind Michael after he is acquitted of murdering the game warden provides a more sympathetic picture of the disappearing full-bloods. Archilde's earlier evaluation of the full-bloods he encounters in the Indian agent's office after his first arrest is thoroughly negative. "He felt as if he were being vivisected, analysed and judged by the lowest stratum of society in the world" (Manuscript 90). During his jail time with its "Feelings of inexcusable guilt and shame" Archilde also feels kinship to his Salish mother for {191} the first time:

He stood arm in arm with his mother those days, . . . the unhealthy mist of a hundred generations before his day. Inhabitant of a bleak world into which the sunlight had not yet penetrated, these were his people. They gazed into the sky and scanned the earth, picking their food from under the rocks and in the meadows. . . . When opposition and adversity overtook them and threatened death and starvation on the snowy flats of winter, they sat in a huddle before a [sick] fire and with blank eyes, awaiting the hand to fall. . . . Dull, naked savage, the breath of their nostrils was fatalism--there were the hundred generations who stood behind Archilde. (Manuscript 301-302)

Archilde admires his ancestors' fortitude, their capability to sustain themselves in a basically hostile environment with which they nevertheless lived in harmony. Archilde's viewpoint is that of an educated white man, though; he understands his ancestors intellectually but, as his choice of words already indicates, does not share their "primitive" laws. His guilt feelings and his commitment to the white community do not permit him to go beyond a basic understanding. Significantly, it is a letter from Claudia that shakes him out of his state of suspension and renews his faith in the white man's world and his membership in it.
        Archilde's mother is one of the handful of full-bloods to appear in the manuscript version. While Catherine is a vital force in The Surrounded, she remains flat and undeveloped in the manuscript version. For Archilde his mother, who remains nameless throughout the manuscript version, is merely a symbol for that negative side in himself that he intends to eradicate. Also, in contrast to The Surrounded, Archilde's mother is not seen in a tribal context and seems to be a self-contained individual like her husband Max. Archilde's rather indifferent memories of happy childhood days in her company turn to hatred when she kills the game warden.

And at this moment he felt utterly detached from his mother. He felt no love, no hatred, no friendliness, nothing in particular at the thought of her. . . . But he couldn't even feel affection on principle. She was totally foreign and unappealing. . . . I wasn't ashamed of my blood to begin with because I never even thought about it. . . . It is only now that I have grown ashamed of it, now I have seen things, as it were, for the first time. (Manuscript 118-19)

        There is no recognition on Archilde's part that she is motivated by a mother's grief. Louis was her son, and she instinctively reacts to his unnecessary death by killing his murderer. However, neither Archilde {192} nor the prosecuting attorney recognizes the balance of death; the murder of the white man is regarded as the only true murder and the game warden and his family are represented as the victims of an irrational violence. Louis is barely mentioned in both the prosecuting and defense attorneys' speeches. Leaving Montana, Archilde simply puts her out of his mind; her death while he is in Paris causes him no grief but relieves him of his self-imposed exile. There is no reconciliation with his mother beyond that momentary feeling of kinship in jail.
        At the end of the manuscript version Archilde is more than a supplicant for membership in the white community. Despite his increased sympathy for the Indians and mixed-bloods, Archilde is prepared to accept Max's preconceptions about mixed-bloods with only slight modifications. In contrast to his father, Archilde does not believe that every mixed-blood is predestined to an unproductive life from birth, but he believes that assimilation is a must. The effort rests with the individual mixed-blood, though. After his reconciliation with his nephews after the trial, Archilde expects them to make the effort to leave the negative Indian part of their characters behind, just as he did: "One thing he knew, he'd waste no more words on them here after. They could make their own choices and his shoe would be ready to boot them through the door the first time they strayed too far. He was standing now in the footprints his father had left twenty-five years ago. Already he had said in his mind: `If they will not live on my terms --then they will get out and stay out!'" (Manuscript 337-38). Throughout the manuscript version Archilde has striven for a voice, and he finally attains the voice of his father. At the end of the trial his unconditional acceptance into white Montana society is formalized by the judge: "Nor could he [Archilde] forget that the judge had shook his hand after the trial and commended his [stolid] qualities that would, no doubt, make him a splendid citizen. `I commend you!' were the judge's words and as Archilde passed through the corridors packed with people, everyone paused to let him pass and smiles and pleasant words met him on every hand" (Manuscript 335-36). His taking of his father's place in white Montana society makes it possible for Archilde to await Claudia's arrival with confidence. They are equals. The Archilde of the manuscript version is not "surrounded," i.e. "set upon and destroyed" (The Surrounded, epigraph).
        The novel that grew out of this manuscript version was unusual for its time. Other American Indian novelists, for instance John Joseph Mathews, whose novel Sundown preceded D'Arcy McNickle's The Surrounded by two years, and Mourning Dove, who published Co-ge-we-a, the Half-Blood in 1927, were still advocating assimilation in their work, as McNickle had also done in his earlier manuscript version. {193} White writers dealing with Indian themes, on the other hand, turned "their interest on the most picturesque, least complex situations of the `blanket Indian' in the Southwest, or turn their faces towards the past," as Oliver LaFarge pointed out in his review of McNickle's novel ("Half-Breed Hero"). That is what LaFarge himself had done in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Laughing Boy. The Surrounded, however, fit into neither of the accepted two categories, the assimilated Indian of the present or the idealized Indian of the past.
        Reviews of D'Arcy McNickle's The Surrounded were complimentary; LaFarge, for instance, says of McNickle that he "adds `The Surrounded' to the small list of creditable modern novels using the first American as theme" ("Half-Breed Hero"). A number of reviews stress the novel's epic quality, as for example Mary Heaton Vorse: "But the book is graver and deeper than the story of Archilde. It is also the account of the destruction of the Indian people" ("End of the Trail"). Despite the positive reception by critics, however, The Surrounded was not a financial success; neither the American Indian theme nor its realistic treatment catered to the taste of white American readers during the Great Depression. Public taste ran to sentimental fiction or realistic fiction set in cities and towns located primarily in the industrial areas of the United States. A novel of the West, as Long explains in American Literature, was read not as "a novel of character but as a yarn of adventure" (482). Throughout his literary history (1913; rev. ed. 1923), Long maintains that America lacks "ancient folklore, . . . settled traditions, . . . native population" for "the great American novel" (476-77). The rich oral traditions of the various Indian tribes are ignored: the American continent is considered to have been a vast, spiritually empty place at the time of the European settlers' advent.
        And Long is one of the literary critics and historians who attempt to objectively evaluate the negative image of American Indians in American fiction in the first decades of the twentieth century. He blames the "fighting stories" of colonial literature for "hatred of the Indians . . . deeply ingrained in the popular mind. Even at the present day it is difficult to make the average American understand that the Indians were often actuated by noble motives and possessed some admirable native virtues" (Long 42). Pattee, a literary critic whose primary concern was not objectivity, mentions the American Indian theme only as an afterthought in his list of future American themes and claims that only the destruction of the tribes can lead to a mythologizing of their past. And of Whittier's poetry he says: "Whittier began his literary career under the impression that there was a rich mine of poetry and romance in the history and traditions of the Indians, a delusion that was widespread during the early years of the century" (A {194} History of American Literature 335). This was not a receptive climate in which to publish The Surrounded, and McNickle, whose journals show that he was an avid reader, was aware of this fact.
        McNickle spent at least nine years writing and revising The Surrounded as well as writing some short fiction. Despite his problems with various publishers, he was certain of his craftsmanship, as becomes evident in his application letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and not prepared to compromise this artistic integrity to the literary taste of his time.

I have chosen the medium of fiction, first of all because I understand the storytelling art, and in the second place I know by rationalization that fiction reaches a wider audience than any other form of writing; and, if it is good fiction it should tell a man as much about himself as a text combining something of philosophy and psychology, a little physiology, and some history, and should send him off with the will to make use of his best quality, which is his understanding. (Letter to John Collier)

Fiction, as McNickle understood it, combined most other fields in it and exerted more power than other disciplines. Surprisingly, he did not publish any more fiction, apart from a juvenile novel that does not deal with contemporary problems, until forty years later. It must be said, though, that his second novel, Wind from an Enemy Sky, published posthumously in 1978, shows fine literary craftsmanship, but it lacks the "descriptive power of The Surrounded" (Ruoff) and the personal involvement of the author. The later novel had a point to make, and its fictional tribe becomes the symbol of all other tribes. Otherwise, McNickle published several books of non-fiction and numerous articles on subjects related to Indian policy in those forty years. The idea suggests itself that McNickle considered The Surrounded his literary masterpiece and had condensed the personal and artistic development of a lifetime into those nine years of continuous revision work on The Surrounded. That would also explain how McNickle, no longer interested in popular taste, came to write a novel that anticipated the novels of the so-called American Indian Renaissance thirty years later.


LaFarge, Oliver. "Half-Breed Hero." Rev. of The Surrounded, by D'Arcy McNickle. The Saturday Review 14 March 1936.

Long, William J. American Literature. 1913. Boston et al: Ginn and Company, 1923.

McNickle, D'Arcy. Letter to John Collier. Exhibit C. 25 May 1934(?). D'Arcy McNickle Collection. The Newberry Library, Chicago.

------. The Surrounded. 1936. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1978.

------. Manuscript of The Surrounded. D'Arcy McNickle Collection. The Newberry Library, Chicago.

------. Journal. 1932. D'Arcy McNickle Collection. The Newberry Li brary, Chicago.

McNickle, Philomene Parenteau. Letter to Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 27 October 1914. D'Arcy McNickle Collection. The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Merriam, H. G. Letter to Oxford University, England. 1925. D'Arcy McNickle Collection. The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Pattee, Fred Lewis. A History of American Literature. New York, Boston, Chicago: Silver, Burdett & Company, 1897.

Ruoff, A. LaVonne. Rev. of Wind from an Enemy Sky by D'Arcy McNickle. American Indian Quarterly 5.2 (1979): 167-69.

Vorse, Mary Heaton. "End Of the Trail." Rev. of The Surrounded by D'Arcy McNickle. The New Republic 15 April 1936: 795-96.



Copway on Cooper
       [Editor's Note: While James Fenimore Cooper's depictions of Indians have been the target of critics' scorn at least since Samuel Clemens' attack on Cooper's "literary offenses," Ojibwa writer George Copway, contemporary and friend of Cooper, held a different view. Birgit Hans has provided the following article, republished here from Copway's American Indian, 19 July 1851.]


        Gratitude is one of the peculiar traits in the composition of the Indian character; and we would dishonor that attribute as an Indian, if we did not express our anxiety for the safety of one, whom, for the few days past we have seen paragraphs in the papers, that our friend Cooper was seriously and dangerously ill. We sometimes doubted of the correctness of the report, for it is not long since we heard from him by letter, yet when we know the uncertainty of life, we could but feel anxious for his safety; yet, the paragraph in last Friday's Tribune, relieved us from our suspense for a while, and still, we hope for his speedy recovery, and that such a man may be spared to the world and see many years of prosperity.
        It has been our good fortune to know him personally for several years, and we have thought often when we read his life-like descriptions of Indian character, when it was in our power to do him justice we should endeavor to do so, for the exalted manner he has plead, of the wild and noble genius of the American Indians.
        No living writer, nor historian has done so much justice to the noble traits of our people. The whole American feeling takes pride in such a man, as the author of "The Last of the Mohicans," and if the American, can but be proud of such a literary man, what must the man of the forest feel, when he reads of heroes (possessing all the noble traits of an exalted character,) as soon as he is brought to read, and finds in the pages of history penciled his forefather's features--yes! with us one word of commendation from the white man, either by his pen or in history, learns us to forget outrageous usages--and the sweet morsel of approbation outweighs all other wrongs, which have been inflicted on our races, in the country. It throws a rainbow of light around our heads and wins our hearts, when we hear one word of commendation, from a race who have been watching the gradual downfall of our ancestors.
        We attribute this carelessness on the part of the Americans, for the salvation of the Red Man on the ground, that no feasible means have been used for the recovery of the first owners of American soil, and {197} not on the ground that they have no feeling for his good. In mentioning the name of our worthy and honored friend, we will here repeat what we have often said in our association with the learned sages of the old world last summer--"that Mr. Cooper's writings give a better idea of Indian character, that any man living or dead." For many questions of this nature were propounded to me, "Does Mr. Cooper give a true picture to the Indian character?" and our knowledge of his writings compelled us to answer, that "he did."
        There may be many others in America who ought to receive the appellation as friends of the Indian with Cooper, we have not had the pleasure of knowing them personally, with exception, perhaps, of Col. T. L. McKenney, whose writings, and whole life and means, have been expended in promulgating the great and feasible doctrine, that the Indian is reclaimable, and can be make a worthy associate when polished by the refined influences of high-toned education. These men we adore for their love of our race--and may their lives be long spared to us for our special gratification, and if the prayers of the whole civilized race can be answered, they will.

George Copway        

According to Iktomi
        The bible to me is America Needs Indians! by Iktomi (Denver: Bradford-Robinson, 1937). I found this rare book much too funny to put back on the bookshelf or to leave the bookstore without taking it home to be a welcome addition to my indigenous writers' resource library. It serves as both humorous inspiration and a panacea for whatever ails my writing. If ever my thinking is too dull or my conversations become too boring, I will return to this mystery author for a refreshing look at this gospel of contemporary Indian survival.
        The true identity of Iktomi is unknown to most and will require vigorous research on my part. I want to make a pilgrimage to the Smithsonian Institution to hold in my hands the very file that reveals the name of this author who critiqued the John Collier administration of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1937.
        For a writer of such a prophetic text, Iktomi is quite humble. He begins by describing America Needs Indians! as "doubtless the worst book ever produced" for he goes on to offer us "not a weak, cautious criticism varying little off the median line, but strenuous criticism and strong praise crisscrossing vigorously from opposite extremes." Exactly, my kind of writer. His only hope is that he is crazy and that the self-determination of Indian people needs to be revived by someone like him who is "foolish enough."
        Iktomi describes himself as "usually in hard luck, if not trouble, but, living by his wits as he did (does), generally got out of it by getting someone else into it, but often overdoing it to beat himself by his own scheme." His book is full of plans and commentary on administration that has resulted in what he calls "false civilization and distorted Indianism." I like him because he is preachy about these plans for saving our future generations of Indians. He entertains with cartoons, sketches, diagrams and photos. Iktomi not only reveals the past blunders of history and its effects but he makes us laugh at the whiteman's mistakes as well as our own. One reading of the book is enough for conversion, and in my case, thumbing through the pages is sufficient redemption from some of the hyprocrisy of our daily lives. Iktomi is a must read for the 90s.
        Iktomi has that old Indian frankness, especially when he says straight out, "I have seen no practical results from the writings and sobs of sentimentalists and tactful strategists." He urges a practical return to the indigenous, or "back to the blanket" revival of what he calls "advanced Indianism." Iktomi sees the world as cold and a "blanket would warm even our hearts a little." He further entices "let us go back to the robe. Of fur, buckskin, feather, or rawhide. That was Indian."
        He writes from that peculiar Indian cynical place that is the bane of bureaucratese. New Age spiritual dogmatism or Born Again Indianisms would make him get his tongue together, i.e., not be a forkie. I would recommend this Book of Iktomi to many Born Again Indians and Wannabees alike. The book as a companion might give relief to the nagging questions: "How is my Indian identity hanging?" or "Am I having fun yet?"
        He is a savior, maybe even messiah, to us who were either born in the city (close to a hospital and less natural a birth) or born without Indian culture pulsating through the veins. Healing from the scar of an urban birthing is made simple by realizing the latent "trickster" in me. I then am able to postpone the various treatments that are supposed to bring me in line or back to the flock (of my own famiIy, of other Indians, women, women of color, or other mixed-bloods or celtic confusions/infusions).
        The heritage that Iktomi claims for the Lakota or the 'Akotas (his combo name for the Lakota-Dakota-Nakota confederacy) is woodland Ontario. Iktomi dreams of the return of what is labelled a Plains Indian group to bush and lake country. (Here my thoughts fly to a successful merger of Ojibway-'Akota culture, but I would trip into the Enemy. Ontario is now inhabited by Ojibway, and because of the historic warfare between the two, I'd rather find another homeland such as {199} Manhattan or somewhere on the east coast.) I liked how Iktomi was soothing the ache of cultural theft that I as an urban Indian experience. I appreciate that many traditional Indians want to follow custom in an orthodox manner, but for those of us born in the urban ghetto, Iktomi is quite a blessing.
        Iktomi plays with words because the de-Indianing process (anything not white is impure, wrong, bad and of no value in the whiteman's eyes, so should be changed or destroyed) must be reversed. He pokes fun at "soul business" as "Christianity a la missionary [which] has helped herd the Indian into church and let him loose to raise hell afterward." Right on, Iktomi. I like Iktomi's direct exposure of our history; he's not a generic rendition, a household product, or a consumer commodity. He looks at his whole line of 'Akota relations to denounce the white-influenced stages of ex-Indians, de-Indians or even anti-Indians. He makes only the smallest apology: "If I seem hard on ex-Indians, remember, it hurts me most to have to hit myself." He advocates "we must expose all our sores and tell our symptoms to whoever can help us, even if this also exposes what we are personal and sensitive about, or we can't properly diagnose the actual causes of the troubles or hope for a cure." The current stance of Native Canadian theatre endorses an eviscerating impact upon us but holds back the punch to the white yuppie gourmet stomach. Iktomi is the cure for the disproportional fallout of Indian humour. He always takes himself down a tent peg or two.
        To be able to laugh at oneself is one of the greatest gifts of an Aboriginal heritage. I agree that both appropriating and non-offending white authors must be told not to invade the sacred domain of our "winter stories." At a recent cross-Canada gathering, an Aboriginal author was blamed for an unexpected change in weather. Maybe the wet clumps of snow that fell to the ground made us grumble too much, but I think it was a reminder for us to take care of the season and the reason for our storytelling. I'd give thanks for spring cleaning the Earth Mother may need. I also give thanks for knowing that we don't have to be intimidated by a scientific English language. Iktomi's writing is proof that we may take the kinks out of our borrowed tongues and forget to whine an apology. Iktomi's final caution is that: "As neither Iktomi nor a human could be exactly right and too certain of `anything or anybody' in Indian or Government matters, be aware that this is only a conscientious collection of samples of the `whole truth' assembled with his honest conclusions and logical suppositions by a prehistoric nut, whose original brain is being replaced by fossilization." I don't think I'll put this book underneath my pillow because of the 400-plus pages, but I will keep my indigenous writer's bible close to {200} my side for the '90s. Megwetch for the kindest warnings, Iktomi, of what may yet come to pass.
       (A play based on Iktomi's book would be an excellent way to spell relief from all the otherwise inept descriptions of what has gone on in the last 500 years. Anyone willing to cooperate on the project [a movie?], write to me c/o P.O. Box 3746, Regina, SK, Canada S4P 3NS.)

Marie Annharte Baker        

From the Editors
        Some of our subscribers may have received two renewal notices. The duplication is a result of combining the membership rosters for SAIL and ASAIL Notes. If you formerly subscribed to both publications, you probably got two notices. From now on, all subscribers to SAIL will also receive ASAIL Notes automatically.
        Our desktop publishing technology is advancing, and we can now accept material on several types of disk. Our primary program is WordPerfect 5.1 (or any lower-numbered version of WP) for IBM-compatible hardware; we can now also accept material in WordStar (IBM-compatible) and in MacIntosh; and with the aid of the wizards at University of Richmond's Academic Computing Center, we can probably manage to work with any other ASCII-based program, as long as we know in advance what the program is.

Helen Jaskoski        
Robert M. Nelson      

SAIL Receives NEA Grant
        The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded SAIL a grant to publish a special issue in connection with "Returning the Gift: A Festival of North American Native Writers." Most of the money is committed to Native writers who contribute to the issue.
        This is a matching grant; we are still seeking twenty donors to contribute $100 each to make up the matching fund, and we encourage you to suggest this SAIL project to possible donors as an appropriate observance of the year 1992.

Call for Papers on Critical Approaches
        Greg Sarris is preparing an issue of SAIL focusing on critical approaches to American Indian Literatures. He welcomes contributions on the following topics:
               * Approaches to oral literatures
               * Approaches to written works by American Indian authors
               * Critical theory and approaches to American Indian literatures
               * Issues of multiculturality in American Indian literatures
Deadline for submission of papers: June 1, 1992.

Send all materials to
        Greg Sarris
        Department of English
        Los Angeles, CA 90024

Call for Papers on Feminist and Post-Colonial Approaches to American Indian Literatures
        A forthcoming issue of SAIL, guest-edited by Dr. Susan Gardner, will focus on feminist and post-colonial approaches to literature as applied to American Indian literatures: at what points may these approaches intersect and affect each other? Since a number of non-Indians came to their interest in American Indian literatures via concern and involvement in women's or worldwide indigenous people's issues, the aim of this number of SAIL will be to explore the usefulness of studying American Indian literatures from these perspectives. Although we are looking for papers focusing on pedagogical applications of these various methodologies, theoretical papers are also welcome.
        For further information, please contact Susan Gardner, English Dept., Univ. of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223; phone (704) 547 4208; FAX (704) 547 4888; e-mail to fen00sjg @ unccvm.bitnet.

Call for Papers: New Directions in Contemporary American Indian Film, Drama, and Theate
        In popular culture and imagination, Native Americans seem to cycle in and out of fashion once each generation, each peak of popularity {202} provoked, or at least accompanied, by a singular and often Anglo effort: A Century of Dishonor and the "Red Progressive" movement; the Meriam Report and the New Deal for Indians; House Made of Dawn and the Native American Renaissance; the rediscovery of Black Elk Speaks and proto-New Age shamanism. Recently, this phenomenon has evinced itself again--Dances With Wolves and America's rediscovered cinematographic romance with Native peoples. Quickly, a theatrical revival: Son of the Morning Star, Black Robe, and a rush of others; the entertainment pages of the Sunday newspaper list dozens of Indian films in various stages of production.
        Hollywood--the movies, Film--has always been a prime source of widespread misconceptions and stereotypes, perhaps in America more influential, for good or ill, than any other creative or expressive medium, and now all cameras are trained on American Indians. Significantly, much scholarship, criticism, and theory has been directed toward the literary genre of Drama, of which Film has become an accepted and seriously examined mode. As an incarnation of ritual, and arguably the first human aesthetic expression, Drama has a uniquely central position in most Native cultures, making any consideration of Indian Film and Theater particularly multifaceted.
        This special issue of SAIL seeks inquiries and essays that consider what has, what is continuing, and what will happen post-Dances, exploring not only the cultural implications but the literary, cultural, and theoretical dimensions of what may prove to be a paradigm shift in the ways American Indians see themselves and are seen in several dramatic media. Interdisciplinary and innovative approaches are particularly encouraged.
        For further information, contact Rodney Simard, Department of English, California State University-San Bernardino, 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino CA 92407-2397.
        Deadline: January 1993.

The Four Directions
        Snowbird Publishing Company announces an All-Indian Literary Magazine, The Four Directions, which will feature poetry, short stories, plays, book and other media reviews, children's stories, essays and articles, and artwork and photography. The Four Directions wants to attract writers and artists from every area and tribe, representing every point of view. For more information: The Four Directions, P.O. Box 729, Tellico Plains, TN 37385; phone 615-546-7001; FAX 615-524-8612.



A Guide to Early Field Recordings at the Lowie Museum of Anthropology. Richard Keeling. Berkeley & Los Angeles: U of California P, 1990. 447 pp., ISBN 0-520-09720-3.

        The area which now makes up the state of California originally held a greater diversity of Native American cultures and languages than any comparable region of North America; at the time of first European contact, some 200 languages and dialects, belonging to 21 different language families, were spoken. Starting in 1900, these cultures and languages were the topic of intensive study by anthropologists based at the University of California, Berkeley, and headed by A. L. Kroeber. As one part of this research, Native Californian music and spoken texts were recorded on 2,713 wax cylinders, now preserved in the Lowie Museum at Berkeley, along with a smaller body of later recordings on disc, wire, and tape. This collection, the largest of its type in existence, has in recent years been entirely transferred onto tape, and copies of the materials can now be ordered by the general public. The accessibility of this corpus is, of course, increased immensely by the availability of the present catalog--prepared, with great meticulousness and with full scholarly apparatus, by the ethnomusicologist Richard Keeling. In addition, Keeling has provided brief descriptions of other collections of sound recordings from Native California, e.g. at the Library of Congress. He has also compiled a detailed bibliographical guide to both published and unpublished sources on California Indian music, and to related publications on Californian cultures.
        Readers of SAIL will, of course, be interested in the Lowie Museum collection mainly from the viewpoint of verbal text (whether spoken or sung), rather than of music. To be sure, the collection contains many recordings of myths and of ceremonial speeches. However, with regard to the study of such material, serious warnings need to be stated. To begin, the audio quality of the recordings may come as a shock to some; although Keeling says that it "is generally quite adequate for producing musical notations," he admits that "it might be difficult to use the recordings for detailed linguistic [i.e. textual] research" (p. xxvi). In general, the texts may be intelligible to speakers of the Native languages involved, but few researchers will be able to produce a phonetic transcription or translation without a native speaker's help. Furthermore, many of the languages represented in this collection are no longer spoken: Costanoan, Yuki, Wailaki, Nongatl, Whilkut, Chilula, Salinan, Yahi, Wiyot, and Nomlaki have all become extinct in {204} recent decades. Furthermore, a researcher interested in the texts of particular recordings will only occasionally be fortunate enough to find corresponding phonetic transcriptions or translations in published or unpublished works. (We must be thankful to Keeling for providing such references when they exist.)
        The silver lining in this picture is that elderly speakers of many California languages are still living, although they are less likely to be proficient in story-telling or in ceremonial speaking than in former years. They are often delighted to hear recordings made in their own languages by earlier generations of their own people--who may even be their own parents or grandparents. The existence of the Lowie Museum recordings, and of Keeling's catalog, offers the possibility that, for a few more years, scholars working with surviving speakers will be able to transcribe the texts of stories and songs recorded nearly a century ago.
        The opportunities for studying song text in this way are of particular interest. Many researchers who have transcribed and translated traditional American Indian narratives have neglected song text, partly for lack of adequate training in music, and partly because songs seemed to provide less interesting material for linguistic analysis. But if one focuses on the poetic structure of Native American texts, songs are obviously of great interest, and cooperation with musicologists can be very rewarding.
        As it happens, Richard Keeling is an expert on the music of the Karuk tribe of northwestern California, and I myself am a long-time researcher in Karuk linguistics and oral literature. I recently undertook a new analysis of a tape I recorded in 1950 from an elderly Karuk woman. It is a "medicine" story--that is, one recited to achieve a magical effect--and it contains an interpolated song of unusual length: there are 53 lines, only three of which are meaningless "vocables." I sent a copy of the tape to Keeling, with my less than perfect transcription of the text. He sent me back a musical notation which revealed to me, for the first time, the overall structure of the song (10 strophes of 5 lines each, plus an "appendix"); understanding this structure, I was able to fill in several lines of text which had previously escaped me. It has been shown that great poetic riches exist in Native American song texts, as Larry Evers and Felipe S. Molina demonstrated in Yaqui Deer Songs (Tucson, 1987). It is paradoxical, however, that Evers and Molina's excellent discussion of Yaqui song texts, as performed in Arizona and Sonora, should give so little attention to the music which is part of those songs.
        In California, only a few years remain in which field work will be possible with speakers of the Native languages. But in that time, much {205} can still be learned about the interrelationships of language, literary structure, and music in the cultures of the area. Keeling's fine catalog is a key to productive research projects which beg to be carried out.

William Bright        

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On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, a Pequot. Ed. Barry O'Connell. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1992. lxxxi + 344 pp., ISBN 0-87023-770-5.

        Readers might be initially attracted to this book by its historical importance, for the writings of William Apess are the earliest substantial written work by a Native American, and in particular A Son of the Forest (1829) is the first published Native American autobiography. Moreover, Apess's detailed, lively, highly descriptive narratives and penetrating social critiques make his writings an excellent window on living conditions and race relations in New England during the first third of the nineteenth century. He pays most attention to the marginal and dispossessed whom standard histories largely ignore.
        Beyond his book's considerable historical value, however, is its sheer human interest. Apess has a gift for writing about people. His character sketches--of the alcoholic grandmother who almost beat him to death when he was four, of his several white "fathers," of the Methodist shaman Aunt Sally George, and many others--bring each personality vividly before us. Apess himself is most interesting of all. The first twenty-one years of his life, until his baptism in December, 1818, were not promising; Apess suffered severe physical, emotional, and economic abuse (all of which he describes with remarkable clarity and dispassion) and in response moved around a lot, drinking heavily and unable to hold a job for long. Meanwhile, the religious sentiments which first awoke while Apess was a young boy indentured to the Baptist Furmans slowly and fitfully assumed increasing form and force in his psyche, and following his baptism his life acquired a strikingly rooted and purposeful character. Married and a father, he became an ordained minister of the Methodist Protestant church in 1829, the same year that his first book, A Son of the Forest, was published. For the next seven years he somehow combined the rigors of Methodist circuit riding and the duties of a family man with the writing of four more books. Thanks to him, the Mashpees successfully took on the Massa-{206} chusetts state legislature and Harvard College. And then, rather like General MacArthur's "old soldiers," he faded away from the public scene. So far there is no trace of what happened to him after 1840.
        Intriguing questions are connected with Willliam Apess. How could this multiply disadvantaged man develop the breadth of vision, sophistication, learning, and eloquence which his writings express? Why did he disappear, and what might have become of him after 1840? It seems entirely fitting that one cannot pursue these questions without coming to terms with what Apess consistently declares to be the vital concern of every person: the enigma of human selfhood. For Apess, human nature is a fascinating mixture of the deplorable and the grand, but at its core there is a tremendous potential for growth. He associates this core human potential with the transformative power of the Christ, to which he attributes the astonishing enlargement of his own capabilities. Those who agree with Apess about the human capacity for change may entertain the possibility that around 1840 he experienced another growth spurt which impelled him in some altogether new direction.
        Apess's last known writing, his stirring Eulogy on King Philip, was published in 1836, as was Ralph Waldo Emerson's first work, Nature. It is startling to realize how much of what we know as the American Renaissance is directly anticipated in William Apess's writings. Like Emerson, Alcott, Melville, and Whitman, he celebrates a universal humanness. Like Melville, Whitman, and Fuller, he champions American society's outcasts and underdogs, including women and people of color, and calls for radical social and economic reform. Like Thoreau, Hawthorne, Fuller, and Melville, he denounces acquisitiveness, cold-heartedness, dogmatism, and elitism and points out many ways in which Euro-Americans' attitudes and behaviors do not square either with their professed religious and political ideals or with the historical facts. Like Emerson, Douglass, and Thoreau, he appeals particularly to his readers' reasoning powers. Like Emerson, Melville, Whitman, and the authors of slave narratives, he pioneers a new, experimental style of writing which fuses the oral and the literary. There are especially noteworthy and extensive parallels between Apess's life and writings and Melville's Moby-Dick, whose action of course centers on the Pequod.
        As Barry O'Connor demonstrates in his excellent introduction to On Our Own Ground, Apess's unique strength is his dazzling ability to bridge diverse cultures. Part Pequot, part white, and probably part African-American as well, Apess dedicates his writings to breaking down the spirit of otherness which divides people. Wittily, often humorously, he expropriates the rhetorics of Methodism and Anglo-American political philosophy in order to raise both Native Americans {207} and Euro-Americans beyond their stereotypes of themselves and each other. Conveniently, On Our Own Ground has been published in 1992, when numerous events, including the resurgence of Balkan blood-feuds, the Columbus quincentennial, and the Rodney King trial, have stimulated an intensive worldwide re-evaluation of race relations. William Apess speaks immediately and skillfully to this very concern. He has much to say to us.

Jane Hipolito        

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To The American Indian: Reminiscences of a Yurok Woman. Lucy Thompson, Che-Na-Wah Weitch-Ah-Wah. Foreword by Peter E. Palmquist. Introduction by Julian Lang. Berkeley: Heyday Books, 1991. ISBN 0-930588-47-9. [Heyday Books, PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709.]

        Lucy Thompson's preface to her book (first published in 1916) introduces a note that resonates through many of the early histories written by American Indian authors: "As there has been so much said and written about the American Indians, with my tribe, the Klamath Indians, included, by the white people, which is guessed at and not facts, I deem it necessary to first tell you who I am, for which please do not criticize me as egotistical" (xxix). After giving her name, place of birth and rank, the author details her extensive education in "all of the mysteries and laws of my people" and concludes that "[t]herefore I feel that I am in a better position than any other person to tell the true facts of the religion and the meaning of the many things that we used to commemorate the events of the past" (xxx).
        Like writers such as William Apes, George Copway, William Warren, Sara Winnemucca and Andrew Blackbird, Lucy Thompson is motivated by a desire to set the record straight, to counter error, misunderstanding and lies in the writings of others about her people. In an article on "Arts of the Contact Zone" Mary Louise Pratt offers the term "autoethnographic text" to describe a genre with this function: according to Pratt an autoethnography is

. . . a text in which people undertake to describe themselves in ways that engage with representations others have made of them. . . . [these texts] involve a selective collaboration with and appropriation of idioms of the metropolis or {208} the conqueror. These are merged or infiltrated to varying degrees with indigenous idioms to create self-representations intended to intervene in metropolitan modes of understanding. Autoethnographic works are often addressed to both metropolitan audiences and the speaker's own community. Their reception is thus highly indeterminate. (Profession 91, MLA, p. 35)

Pratt's description could have been derived from To the American Indian. Although Lucy Thompson's book opens with the history of a particular trading post, and includes origin and migration traditions, it is not really a chronological history, as some of the early woodland histories are. Rather, To the American Indian concentrates on custom, belief, ecology, tradition, and all that goes into the lifeways of her people as the author recalls and reconstructs them. Lucy Thompson provides as comprehensive an account of traditional Yurok life as she may reveal. She does much more as well.
        While it does not center on autobiographical material, To the American Indian is a very personal book, deeply felt as well as learned. Lucy Thompson is aware at all times of her place in a society she presents as highly structured, and of the responsibility entailed by her class, status and learning. She is a Talth, member of the highest social class and educated since her infancy in the religious mysteries as well as the social etiquette of her people. She describes three social ranks, constellated by wealth, inheritance and marriage. A landowning (or controlling) class existed, and a class of propertyless slaves; among the former, the "high marriage" of the Talth defined the highest class, while a "half-married" system often obtained among slaves; furthermore "they have a third form of marriage that belongs to the middle class" (25). The author's consciousness of her rank imbues her description of members of the lower orders: "There are some of these Indians that were born slaves living yet, and they are the ones that are always ready to tell the white man all of the Indian legends in a way to fit their own cases. They cannot tell the true legends at all, as they are ignorant of such facts" (26).
        Her critique is evenhanded, however; if the lower classes err out of ignorance, she equally indicts the wealthy who do not behave with appropriate generosity:

The wealthy ones would see that the men got wives and that the girls got husbands, build them houses; and some families were very kind to their slaves. . . Some families were mean and overbearing to their slaves: giving no care to the sick, letting them die, and going so far as to throw them into a hole, leaving them there to suffer and starve {209} until they died. This sort of treatment was looked down upon by the ones that had better humane feelings, and they sometimes prevented such inhuman actions. (26)

Lucy Thompson's indictment of inhumane conduct is based on transcendent values, which, although expressed in the denigrating language of the invader, are invoked to condemn the evils of both societies: "The Indian through his long centuries of barbarism battled with the environments of barbaric man. In his childlike nature, he taught his sons and daughters to be kind, courageous, self-denying, industrious, and above all to have integrity that could not be questioned. . . . But ah, the sad knell, the approach of civilized man, and his crushing hand of debauchery . . . " (99). Elsewhere, she offers an astute sociological analysis of the means of breakdown in Yurok society, tracing the problem to devaluation and dissolution of the sacred marriage customs with resultant illegitimacy and neglect of children.
        To the American Indian contains elements of several genres: personal essay, ethnography, history, myth. It is best described, to return to Pratt's definition, as an autoethnography, for the way it engages with--and counters--the (mis)representations of the outsider, and offers a self-representation to "intervene" in modes of thinking about Yurok Indians, and American Indians in general. Lucy Thompson believed herself to be the last person living with access to the most sacred of the Yurok mysteries, and her elegiac lament for the loss she saw around her confronts the myth of progress brought by immigrant settlers; in so doing she situates her personal history within the local history of her people and further within world history:

In my infancy I was taught all that was good and all that would make for a true and noble womanhood; that there was a God in Heaven who ruled over all; and during my researches throughout I have found nothing better. . . . with us [Lucy and her father] perishes the true name of God to my people. With it has perished from the earth our true Indian laws, our sublime religion, our deeds of chivalry, as rich as the civilized world has ever beheld . . . At a single blow our laws were torn asunder; loathsome diseases we had never known crushed out the life and beauty of our physical bodies and demented our spiritual minds with lowly passions. . . . As a nation, like the ancient Egyptians, we have grown old and passed away; we have seen a great civilization rise to the highest of its splendors and pass away to another land beyond recall. (74)

Lucy Thompson's book is valuable on many counts, and Peter Palmquist is to be commended on a careful and responsible job of {210} editing. A generous selection of photographs shows Lucy and her family at several different periods of her life and gives some impression of Yurok custom and historical sites. The decision to correct egregious spelling and punctuation errors in the poorly printed first edition and produce a readable, if "less scholarly," text should make this important book available to the many readers it deserves.

Helen Jaskoski        

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Waterlily. Ella Cara Deloria. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1988. 244 pp. cloth, ISBN 0-8032-4739-7.

        It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that it took forty years to publish Waterlily. In 1948 such a work would have been innovative and threatening to WASP assumptions about racial superiority. By using the subjective appeal of fiction, Ella Cara Deloria wished to invite a broadly based readership into a realm of complex Teton Sioux kinship obligations and ceremonial life which refuted notions of "primitive" culture. She also would have stimulated readers to examine their own culture in light of a radically different world view. But post WWII America was fatigued with war and caught up in the triumph of democratic good over fascist evil. It was not a period of cultural self-reflection.
        Nonetheless, an examination of two contradicting forces can help us appreciate both the narrative purpose of Waterlily and the creativity in Deloria's construction of the work. Academically, there was the continuing ethnographic problem of how to record a culture without deadening it. Description, however thorough, could not convey the social or spiritual significance of her subject matter. Yet not to record in detail was to lose some piece of the ritual, some piece of the dialogue, which might be significant in understanding the whole.
        The personal context was equally complex. Deloria was one-quarter Sioux on her father's side. She began her education at a mission school on the Standing Rock Reservation, South Dakota, in the 1890s. In pursuit of higher education, she went on to Oberlin College (1910), and then to Columbia Teachers College (1913), met Franz Boaz, and ultimately did major collaborative work with him. Although she was never formally trained in anthropology or linguistics, her work with Boaz included Dakota Texts (1932) and a Dakota Grammar (1941). She {211} also authored Speaking of Indians (1944). This work in transcription, linguistics and interpretation, important as it was, failed to meet a personal goal: "I have a mission: To make the Dakota people understandable, as human beings, to the white people who have to deal with them" (237). That mission led her to create an anthropological experiment, Waterlily.
        It is an unusual novel because there is so little psychological character development. Yet this mirrors the Sioux culture's suppression of the cult of individuality to maintain social harmony. Even the Sun Dancers understand that their self-inflicted wounds are to benefit the community. Only one voice, Alila's, challenges such assumptions, and Alila is clearly a disruptive figure. Another unusual aspect of the story is its focus on the female perspective. Male ethnographers often limited their work to collecting stories from male warriors and made these representative of the whole. But Deloria examines the camps, the ceremonies, even war party raids, from a woman's perspective, and a much more balanced picture of Sioux life emerges. The third truly unique feature of this narrative is its ethnographic density. A number of important ceremonies are described in detail, and the subtleties of kinship obligations are explored in depth. Such a text crosses disciplinary boundaries and could easily fit into literature, history, sociology, anthropology, women's studies, and Native American courses.
        Waterlily begins with a very important paragraph emphasizing the nomadic life of the Sioux people and their reliance on community. The first sentence, "The camp circle was on the move again," is balanced by the ending sentence, "To remain behind was to be without protection" (3). The narrative moves with the people, illustrates their vulnerability when they go out from their circle, and how rituals of behavior maintain an inner harmonious community. The betrayal of their way of life comes when smallpox-infected blankets are brought into the circle. Then the Sioux are defenseless, for their very forms of social etiquette inadvertently carry the disease from tipi to tipi.
        The narrative also is guided by three time frames: (l) the continually changing seasons and the concomitant movement of the camps depending on weather and food resources, (2) the growth of Waterlily, a linear development, and (3) the proximity of White settlement. Social continuity comes from the first two, cultural disruption from the third. Euro-American writers focus on the tragedy of genocide or imply the inevitable ending of a way of life. Deloria focuses on the first two time frames: raising children, learning kinship relationships, and understanding ceremony, all in the context of the moving camp circle.
        Deloria's care in describing ritual events is noteworthy. Such ceremonies are not romanticized or fleetingly referred to as if to hold {212} them in mystery. She depicts events in such a way that their timing, the elements of play-acting, the family involvement, even the personal suffering, are understandable for an initiate reader as for the Sioux. Certainly the Sun Dance is the most dramatic, but the ghostkeeping ceremony and the child-beloved ceremony show how the Dakotas are drawn together for acts of love, and the Virgin's Fire ceremony shows how women can preserve and celebrate their honor. These loftier events accentuate a gift-giving mentality that permeates everyday life, as does a sense of the spirituality within daily acts.
        Ella Deloria's Christian upbringing undoubtedly impacted aspects of the story, such as the extraordinary emphasis she puts on the female to remain virginal until marriage, and other aspects of the narrative that blend the advice and prayers of elders to the Christian ideal of turning the other cheek. Certainly the characters are idealized in their constant desire to do that which is socially good. Nevertheless, most of her subject matter is drawn from the ethnographic material she transcribed, and through Waterlily, both traditional voices and the evolving Christian influences of the late nineteenth century take focus in a highly readable tale. Ruth Benedict helped edit the work. Congratulations also must go to the Nebraska Press editor who used a carefully delineated procedure in her/his own work on the text, and who made an excellent choice of Agnes Picotte and Raymond J. DeMallie to inform us about Ella Deloria's life and her place in the evolution of anthropology. Even the jacket cover showing a Sioux girl doll is artistically pleasing and evocative. Everything about this publication from cover to subject matter has been thoughtfully done.

Alanna Kathleen Brown        

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John Rollin Ridge: His Life & Works. James W. Parins. Lincoln and London: U of Nebraska P, 1991. $19.95 cloth, 226 pages, ISBN 0-8032-3683-2.

        The newest volume in the admirable American Indian Lives series from the University of Nebraska Press, Parins' readable and graceful study of John Rollin Ridge (Yellow Bird, or Chees-quat-a-law-ny in Cherokee) is a welcome and useful addition to several different areas of historical and literary inquiry: nineteenth-century romance and poetry, journalism, and Indian literature; history of the Cherokee {213} Nation (particularly the important Ridge-Ross division), of California and the Gold Rush, and of the West and the Frontier. Parins has done his research thoroughly and well, relying on standard histories but adding significant dimension by examining primary documents and underpinning his assertions with quotations from Ridge himself. While this study is partisan in the realm of Cherokee politics, sympathetic to the Ridge family faction, it is not uncritical of such matters and maintains a tone of objectivity about its subject and his writing. The careful speculation the reader finds here is always grounded in Ridge's own voice, and the assertions of Parins' theses are convincing. Central is the author's premise that Ridge was indelibly shaped by the political murders of his father and grandfather; "John Rollin Ridge was to carry that image in his mind for the rest of his life" (31), he states reasonably, while refraining from the frequent and facile psychologizing that distorts biographies of many of Ridge's (and our) contemporaries.
        Ridge was a complex and contradictory figure, one whom Parins wisely avoids attempting to explain or reconcile, instead opting for explication in context without overburdening the reader with tangential material. Parins notes that "after a financially secure childhood, Rollin spent much of the rest of his life working for and dreaming about a revival of the Ridge family's prosperity" (35), that "he felt a responsibility to restore his family to eminence among the Cherokees" (62), and, further, that "he considered himself a crusader, a feared and respected national leader who would bring `all these scattered tribes one by one into the fold of the American Union'" (115). A champion of lost causes, Ridge was also an elitist: "Although in many ways he viewed himself as an aristocrat, in terms of both lineage and personal talent, he nonetheless proved to be a defender of working people's political and economic rights" (123). In his journalism, "he defends the rights of white people on the lowest rung of the economic and social ladder, yet he cannot condone freedom for the slaves" (160).
        Ridge's beliefs about Indian matters were equally convoluted and quirky, and Parins' examination of the journalistic essays does much to illuminate the troublesome slurs about California Indians that have long disturbed many readers of Ridge's Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta. Progressive and assimilationist, as any Ridge would tend to be, he was in many ways philosophically paradigmatic of his times. Seeing himself as "a pioneer in the new world of promise--California," he was "an American Indian who saw himself as successfully entering white society" (155) who also "believed his family had made the transition in only three generations from a primitive aboriginal existence to a modern civilized one" (147). Ridge thought Indians who {214} lived in the West were inherently inferior to the eastern tribes, and the "Digger" Indians of his adopted state "held a special fascination for Ridge. He identifies them in his commentaries on American Indians as a primitive people far down the evolutionary ladder from more `civilized' groups like the Cherokees" (154). Still, while himself a slaveholder, he continued to believe that "slavery was acceptable for blacks but intolerable for Indians, even the lowly `Diggers'" (173).
        Parins is weakest in his literary criticism, but much of the evidence he presents helps the reader to understand Ridge's slender but historically important canon; "His concept of the romantic adventurer proved to have a dark side, and by the time he got to California he saw himself as a Cain figure, an exile who was prevented from taking his rightful place as an important leader of his people like his father and grandfather" (81), and this was the Byronic self-image that led to Joaquín Murieta. "It is hard to tell whether Ridge discovered similarities between himself and Joaquín in his research for the book or created Joaquín in his own image and likeness" (112). While "money was his prime motivation . . . his quest for literary fame was a close second" (110); "as a poet, Ridge probably fits somewhere in the middle ranks of nineteenth-century American writers" (225), historically if not aesthetically. "Yellow Bird was both jealous and proud of the title `poet' and held an almost Shelleyan belief in the power of the pen, especially during the early years of his writing career" (123), making him a romantic representative of his time if not the voice of his age and people that the author of "Mount Shasta" had hoped. Still, as the author of the first novel by an Indian, Ridge's position is secure in American literary history.
        Readers may wish for more information about the Ridge family and the dynamics of Rollin's boyhood in Georgia, but Parins has done an admirable job of placing this important and enigmatic figure in his proper social, political, and historical context without simplistic or reductive explanations. What we confront here is the biography of a man and of a family, both significant and now both more fully understood. Perhaps this effort will now be followed with a much-needed critical edition of the neglected Poems (1868, posthumously), as a companion to Joseph Henry Jackson's excellent 1955 edition of Joaquín Murieta. And perhaps a collection of Ridge's reportage would not then be far behind.

Rodney Simard        

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American Indian Literature: An Anthology. Edited and with an Introduction by Alan Velie. Norman and London: U of Oklahoma P. $29.95 cloth, $14.95 paper, 370 pp., ISBN 0-8061-2331.

{Permission to reprint this essay has not been received.}

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Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Elders. Julie Cruikshank. Lincoln and London: U of Nebraska P, 1990. $50.00 Cloth, 393 pp., ISBN 0-8032-1447-2.

        The first time I saw Julie Cruikshank she was giving a fascinating talk on culture and narrative in texts by women on the Canadian frontier. It was everything Clifford, Marcus and the new anthro boys could want. I thought I was hooked. I started to look at some of her previous work on Native women's narratives which presented solid collections and informed contemporary discussion. Then I went to the Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies and listened to her colleague Robin Riddington present Native dream narratives without the interruption of analytical apparatus. My anthro friends were confused and disappointed; I was elated. Later, I went to a panel she organized on Canadian Native women's autobiography. It was droll, confused and boring. When I approached this book, it was with hopes for the best, but with a little uncertainty.
        However, I can assert the book is stunning, a masterwork, a new standard in the fields of anthropology and folklife studies. Cruikshank presents the life stories of three women of Athabaskan and Tlingit ancestry who were born in the south of the Yukon Territory around the turn of the century: Angela Sidney, Kitty Smith, and Annie Ned. Cruikshank has worked with these women for over a decade now and published some of the stories and place names before.
        The fascinating thing about the book is that it is not a mere exploration of the female economic and social role in the Yukon (you can find that there as well), but an acknowledgement of the role story and narrative plays in the shaping of these life histories.
        The three life stories challenge traditional Western notions of structure in autobiography. The expected chronology is acknowledged, but the ingrained Western ideas of individual growth and interpersonal {219} causality seem to be redirected. The interplay of historical and social forces so central to many autobiographies is abandoned in favor of a perspective on values actively forming in individual social units and the world around them. Cruikshank, too, is open to an appreciation of her own story expectations which she brings to the collaboration. She tries to bring these out into the open and to allow them to inform her understanding of the lives, to let these women speak to her as well as to us. In this new anthropology of the voice of the other, Cruikshank finds "Shared traditions and symbols of cultural identity infuse their life stories; historical verisimilitude plays a less important part" (x). On these shifting grounds, Cruikshank perceives a standpoint for observing the ever elusive boundary between myth and history. She sees these life histories as a contribution to a number of current anthropological discussions such as the extent to which oral stories reveal more about the workings of narrative or the workings of society, or whether oral material is a statement about the past or a rationalization of the present social order. This book will probably give support to those who argue both sides of these questions. However, it will not solve any debate. Instead, the book will give the reader a fascinating glimpse into the traditional and personal historical thinking of three special women.
        The strength of the book is obviously in its incorporation of traditional mythological storytelling into the telling of life histories. These three women have recorded many of their tellings of the old stories, but in this book, Cruikshank and the authors have worked together to fuse personal and traditional narratives. While this book is an illustration of the goals of many contemporary anthropologists, Cruikshank insists that the idea for this unique structure comes from the three women and not from her desire to advance anthropological autobiography. But whoever originated the format for the telling, the result is a magnificent illumination of the role of traditional tales in personal life. For instance, part seven of Kitty Smith's life history talks about "Becoming a Woman," and section eight entitled "From Daughter to Wife" recounts Smith's version of "Star Husband" and "Wolf Helper." The two sections resonate with cultural assumptions, cross-reference, personal significance and narrative symmetry that would please even Levi-Strauss.
        Another example of this juxtaposition can be seen in Angela Sidney's life story. Sidney recounts the story of "Kaax'achgook," about a hunter who forsakes an omen and is stranded for a year but who redeems himself with his perseverance and then must adjust to changes in his family. The story comes between Sidney's sections on marriage and children and on travels, potlaches, relative and clan connections. Since all Tlingit stories are clan-owned, it is not surprising that {220} Sidney's telling of the tale is laced with clan markers which the Dauenhauers have identified as noting oral copyright. Yet the telling of a story of fidelity, emotion, fortitude, journeying, relative and potlach custom clearly helps us see not only a cultural value system, but a series of cultural tropes. Cruikshank isolates the importance of this juxtaposition primarily in personal terms as she notes that this story was given by Sidney to her son on his return from WWII. Yet Cruikshank may have provided scholars with a text fertile with unbounded literary expressiveness--one in which larger issues are apparent. While she believes that "all autobiography is shaped by narrative convention" (3), she has not mounted a major theoretical discussion of the nature of narrative. Perhaps that comes in the next book. She and her colleagues at the University of British Columbia are doing some fantastic work.
        Here she settles for a discussion of the social contradictions women have faced and the behavioral models which the stories present, but what an excellent accomplishment it is. This book not only advances our appreciation of the lives of three extraordinary women from the southern Yukon Territory, but also breaks new ground in the understanding of storytelling, the meaning of myth, and the anthropological presentation of the voice of the other.

James Ruppert        

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Talking Leaves: Contemporary Native American Short Stories. An Anthology edited and introduced by Craig Lesley. New York: Dell Publishing, 1991. 371 pp., ISBN 0-440-50344-2.

        This impressive and powerful collection includes thirty-eight stories by thirty-five North American Indian men and women. All but two of the stories take place during the twentieth century (two during the late nineteenth century); yet ancient and enduring cultural knowledge pervades them all. The writers, fourteen men and twenty-one women, come from Laguna Pueblo, Mohawk, Crow Creek Sioux, Modoc, Yaqui, Klamath, Colville, Kiowa, Blackfeet, Oneida, Chickasaw, Turtle Mountain Chippewa and another dozen and a half tribes. With one exception, the writers place their stories in North America--in Washington and Oregon, Montana and Minnesota, Oklahoma and Illinois, Arizona and California, New York and Alaska. Gerald {221} Vizenor's character, China Browne, travels in China. Biographical notes at the end of the volume fill in each author's literary, teaching, and writing credentials.
        Approached by a major house, Dell Publishing, Craig Lesley, author of award-winning novels Winterkill and River Songs, savored the opportunity to put together an anthology of contemporary Native American short fiction. Lesley, who teaches creative writing at the college level and edits fiction for the Writers Forum, loves a good story--"a remarkable character, a wonderful image, an unusual turn of phrase." As he read submissions for the collection, he "kept an eye open for telling details." These criteria eventually led him to choose three groups of writers: "those who are widely publicized and recognized" (Louise Erdrich, Gerald Vizenor, N. Scott Momaday, Paula Gunn Allen, Linda Hogan, and James Welch among others); "those who have been writing for a number of years but whose audiences are smaller because their works appear in literary magazines and small press publications" (Gloria Bird, Roger Jack, Diane Glancy, Duane Niatum, Vicki Sears among others); and "those who are `new' writers--just beginning their fiction writing careers" (Debra Earling, Tina Marie Freeman-Villalobos, Kathleen Shaye Hill, Mickey Roberts, Darryl Babe Wilson, and Phyllis Wolf among others). With the title Talking Leaves the editor doubtless pays homage to the genius of Sequoyah, the Cherokee man who invented a phonetic alphabet, creating a way to put Cherokee talk on leaves--of paper.
        In his introduction, Lesley explains that he let the "themes emerge from the work themselves." The blurb on the back cover suggests some: "the struggle of Native Americans who hope to preserve the wisdom of their ancestors in the face of the white world . . . a sense of place, generational family loyalty, with the poverty and despair of the present, the power of old beliefs and the resiliency of a yet proud people." There is more, however. These story makers speak in different voices about the survival of Native American land and lifeways.
        In one of his poems in A Good Journey, the poet Simon Ortiz (unfortunately not represented in this collection) maintains there is only one way to continue despite those forces threatening to devour more and more native ancestral lands for railroads, electric and gas lines, highways, and cable television:

                You tell stories about your People's birth
                and their growing.
                You tell stories about your children's birth
                and their growing.
                You tell the stories of their struggles.
                You tell that kind of history,
                     and you pray and be humble.
                With strength, it will continue that way.

And so these writers tell stories with keen observations and vivid images. They tell the stories of their people's struggles with alcohol and heroin, logging companies that strip naked timber on mountains, dams that flood out traditional fishing places, displacement from homes and homelands, child abuse, tuberculosis that forces parents to give up children for adoption, tourist invasion of sacred sites, "professional" Indians who upstage real ones, termination of tribal identity, children lost to wars, spiteful government bureaucrats, destruction of people by law, and science teachers who reject traditional Indian explanations. And the characters survive "the abyss" as Whirling Soldier and a friend put it in Joy Harjo's "Northern Lights."
       "Remarkably," Lesley notes, "the characters manage to survive in spite of overwhelming odds." And so do Native giveaways, sweat lodges, tobacco offerings, languages, braids, traditional healing practices, chants, creation stories, tricksters and witchery. The writers tell stories about grandfathers and the "music" of grandmothers (one-third of the stories feature beloved elders), men and women who heal with ceremony and herbs and people who dream of visions and guardians. Many events are drawn from everyday life--fishing, hunting, gardening, picking wild plums, bathing, smudging to keep mosquitoes away, and making pebbles war-dance in a tin bucket. Beneath the surface of these daily happenings runs a current sensitive to the pressures of survival and the struggles of Indian people to reconcile traditional ways with the values of non-Indians.
        The writers tell stories about Indians struggling with who-am-I questions in a world that rejects and attacks their Native identities. In Michael Dorris's "Queen of Diamonds," a savvy teenager with a black father and Indian mother finds her answer in a "paint mixtone chart. Mom was Almond Joy, Dad was Burnt Clay, and I was Maple Walnut." In Anita Endrezze's "The Humming of Stars and Bees and Waves" an old woman concludes: "Being half-Yaqui isn't easy, Rosa thinks. You have to believe that trees and rocks and birds talk and you have to have faith in glass-walled elevators and voices that are transmitted from space." And Aunt Parnetta in Diane Glancy's "Aunt Parnetta's Electric Blisters" is "a stranger in this world. An Indian in a white man's land. `Even the ferge's whate,' Parnetta told the Great Spirit."
        The writers tell stories about mountains and hills and rocks, lakes and timeless rivers, waterfalls and ponds. "Indians were part of sky,{223} river, earth itself . . ." writes Mary TallMountain in "Snatched Away." And in Linda Hogan's "Aunt Moon's Young Man," Bessie Evening's long hair "fell down her back like a waterfall." In these stories, humans and land merge--streams and rivers have voices and mountains, like people, make "real, shaky fired up" love. The northern lights are "shimmering relatives returned from the war, dancing in the skies all around us." There is a kinship between people and land, and these writers, in dozens of voices, bear testimony to the relationship and reverence for land.
        This collection about today's American Indians merits attention. As Craig Lesley points out in his introduction, "good fiction [makes] us aware of how other people live." Talking Leaves succeeds admirably in making us genuinely aware of countless Native Americans' experiences.

Arlene B. Hirschfelder        

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Drawings of the Song Animals: New and Selected Poems by Duane Niatum. Duluth: Holy Cow! Press, 1991. $18.95 cloth, $10.95 paper, 147 pp., ISBN 0-930100-43-3.

        Solitary singer of the lyric poem, Duane Niatum evokes place with immediacy. I am reminded of what it was like growing up with the fishing at Celilo Falls and never dreaming it would end. I admire Niatum's ability to disperse his ego in a poem in such a way that his persona does not intrude between the reader and an environment we would like to dream will not end. The discipline for this runs counter to the apparent effortlessness of the lyric utterance. Here, from the title poem "Drawings of the Song Animals," part II:

                Foghorns, the bleached absence
                of the Cascade and Olympic mountains.
                The bay sleeps in a shell of haze.
                Anchorless as the night,
                the blue-winged teal dredges for the moon.

Yet the poem, after detailing natural phenomena, closes with the line "Forty years to unmask the soul!" This suggests that once we are able to lose ourselves in nature, we are found. The penultimate sentences confirm this:

                A lizard appears, startled by my basket
                of blackberries. In the white
                of the afternoon we are lost to the stream.
                Forty years to unmask the soul!

The artistic correlation of this spiritual dicipline is careful craftsmanship, and Niatum's tribute to the consummate artistry of Louise Bogan reveals the great emphasis he places upon fine craftsmanship in his own work.

                        Elegy for Louise Bogan
                Now that you are darker
                than the February sod,
                stark and blue with snowflakes,
                your breath the air of stone--
                I'll close my eyes and ears
                to holly and sparrow,
                the landmarks of loss--your voice
                crowned in night's stream.

        The poem "Lines for Roethke Twenty Years After His Death," a sonnet sequence, underscores this emphasis. (Those of us who studied with Theodore Roethke in those last years may remember his love of Bogan's poetry and respect for her critically undervalued mastery, a respect which intensified as he was able to move on from the earlier enthusiasm for Yeats's work.) Niatum, incidentally, counsels students to read poets who exhibit craftsmanshlp like Yeats and Roethke.
        This discipline is the subject of a poem in which self-pity is confronted and loses, a poem called "Thanking Some Elder Poets":

                When feelings of self-pity crawl
                down my back like a rose-spider,
                I remember your parodies of the sentimentalist,
                feel ashamed. For only when I live
                the failure is my shadow mine
                and I once more a man of seed.

        Despite this homage to his poetic forebears, Niatum's maternal ancestors with the family name of Patsy are the presiding spirits that open and close this volume. Between both ends, there is a delightful glimpse of the poet's young son Marc laughing at mudhens rising under a pier (in the poem "Visiting My Son Marc at Port Angeles"). Significantly, it is an older friend who signals the father to observe this. I say "significantly" because it is the extraordinary degree of honor that Duane Niatum pays to his elders that leaves the most characteristic and distinguishing impression.
        In his introduction Duane Niatum comes just short of calling his book "collected poems." The confusion caused by the apparent misdating of the final "new Poems" section, and the arbitrary number of fifteen poems from each of the earlier books, prompted the wish for yet another book in which we are offered more poems, including the most recent ones.

Roger Weaver        

*                *                 *                *


Native Latin American Cultures Through Their Discourse. Ed. Ellen B. Basso. Bloomington: Indiana University Folklore Institute, 1990. This volume collects papers presented at the Congress of Americanists, 1988. The eight contributors offer papers as broad as Ellen Basso's "Discourse as an Integrating Concept in Anthropology and Folklore Research" and as closely focused as Susan Paulson's "Double-talk in the Andes: Ambiguous Discourse as a Means of Surviving Contact," which concentrates on a single text. Jane H. Hill offers "Weeping as a Meta-signal in a Mexicano Woman's Narrative," including text and translation of the narrative; Joel Scherzer likewise includes a dual-language text with his discussion "On Play, Joking, Humor, and Tricking among the Kuna: The Agouti Story."

Carol Patterson-Rudolph's Petroglyphs & Pueblo Myths of the Rio Grande (1990) is available from Avanyu Publishing, P.O. Box 27134, Albuquerque, NM 87125; 505-243-8485. Aimed at a popular audience, the book is poorly edited and awkward in tone, with earnest definitions of metonymy and metaphor and so on. Nevertheless, Patterson-Rudolph's work deserves serious attention: she makes a persuasive case for her decoding of the pictographs she analyses, and her careful discussion, which relates the glyphs to verbal texts and which she generously illustrates with excellent photographs and drawings, opens the possibility for analyses of other of these fascinating lithic texts.

Robert M. Leavitt and David A. Francis have reedited the Wampum Records, "an original Passamaquoddy account of how the Wabanaki Confederacy originated and how it was maintained. They remain a rare example of Passamaquoddy oral history transcribed by a Passama {226}quoddy writer in his native language." This edition, titled Wapapi Akonutomakonol / The Wampum Records, includes original text, interlinear translation with annotations, prose translation, comparison of parallel texts, and essays on Wabanaki culture and the significance of wampum belts. This 68-page book is a valuable resource for students of language, history and culture. Published by the Micmac-Maliseet Institute of the University of New Brunswick (ISBN 0-920114-34-2).

In The Bird Who Cleans the World and Other Mayan Fables (Willamantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 1991) Victor Montejo retells stories heard from his mother and other elders as he grew up in the 1950s in the highlands of Guatemala. This brief (120 pages) selection of tales is an excellent introduction to major themes and personages in Mayan tradition and an important contribution to the growing literature of the central American diaspora.

University of Nebraska Press has reissued in its Bison paperback series The Seven Visions of Bull Lodge, originally published in 1980. The text presents the reminiscences of Bull Lodge's daughter, Garter Snake, as she remembered her father and stories about him. These recollections were collected in the 1930s by Frederick Peter Gone of Fort Belknap as part of a larger WPA project which had the aim of preserving as much as possible of Native North American traditions. George Horse Capture recovered the WPA texts in the 1970s and edited them for the Gros Ventre people.

Another reprint comes frrom University of New Mexico Press, which has reissued John Bierhorst's The Red Swan: Myths and Tales of the American Indians, first published in 1976. Texts from disparate cultures are arranged thematically under headings such as "The Dream Father," "From the Body of Our Mother," "The Lure of the Serpent," "A Gift of Honey," and so on; interpretive comments often draw on the ideas of Freud. Bierhorst's notation of sources and bibliographic commentary is characteristically meticulous; the book also includes black and white reproductions of early (1500-1800s) paintings of American Indian themes.

*                *                *                *



William Bright is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Anthropology, UCLA, and Research Associate in Linguistics, University of Colorado, Boulder. His research interests include the Indians of California. His book, A Coyote Reader, is forthcoming.

Alanna Kathleen Brown, Associate Professor of English at Montana State University, has focused research on Mourning Dove since 1986, publishing in Plainswoman, The Wicazo Sa Review, Legacy and Canadian Literature. She is currently working on a literary biography, an edition of Mourning Dove's letters, and publication of Okanogan Sweat House as it was originally conceived.

Beatrix Dudensing-Reichel works at the University library in Trier, FRG. She recently edited a German translation of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her doctoral thesis on orality and literacy in Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales is going to be published by Lang Publications.

Birgit Hans teaches in the Indian Studies Department at the University of North Dakota. The collection of D'Arcy McNickle's short stories that she has edited will be published by the University of Arizona Press this fall. She will also edit a special issue of SAIL devoted to European criticism of Native American literature.

Jane Hipolito is Professor of English and liberal studies at California State University Fullerton.

Arlene Hirschfelder teaches contemporary Native American experiences through poetry and fiction at the New School for Social Research in New York City. She has published numerous bibliographies, articles about stereotyping of Indians, and books including Happily May I Walk: American Indians and Alaska Natives Today.

Wolfgang Hochbruck is presently American and Canadian Studies Professor at the University of Osnabrück, FRG. He has published on American, Candian, and Native American literatures.

Helen Jaskoski writes fiction, poetry, and articles on American literature and poetry therapy.

Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr. is Professor of English and Director of the American Native Press Archives at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His most recent book is Alex Posey: Creek Poet, Journalist, and Humorist (U Nebraska, 1992), and his edition of Posey's letters is forthcoming from U Nebraska.

Denise Low teaches Indian literature at Haskell Indian Junior College. Her articles and reviews appear in American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Dionysos, Journal of the West and the Kansas City Star. She has received NEH fellowships for study at the University of California, Berkeley and the Newberry Library.

John Lowe teaches Southern, African American and multi-ethnic literature at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He is the author of Jump at the Sun: Zora Neale Hurston's Cosmic Comedy (forthcoming, Illinois) and has published articles in American Quarterly, Appalachian Journal, The Journal of the Short Story in English and other periodicals.

Laura Murray is a graduate student at Cornell University, preparing a dissertation on the triangulation of politics, aesthetics, and identity between England, colonial and post-colonial America, and native America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Erik Peterson is completing his PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is interested in the fusional and oppositional borderlands of cultural discourses, especially in literature and in postwar cultural theory.

A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff, Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Chicago, has published extensively on American Indian literatures, including American Indian Literature: An Introduction, Bibliographic Review and Selected Bibliography (MLA, 1991). She is series editor for University of Nebraska's Native American Lives series and has directed NEH seminars in American Indian literatures.

James Ruppert teaches in the English and Alaska Native Studies Departments at the University of Alaska--Fairbanks. He is a past president of ASAIL and a frequent contributor to a number of magazines.

Rodney Simard (Cherokee) is Assistant Professor of English at California State University, San Bernardino. He teaches various courses in American Indian literatures and Native American cultures and is general editor of the American Indian Studies Series from Peter Lang Publishing.

Annette Van Dyke is Director of Women's Studies at Denison University. Her book, The Search for a Woman-Centered Spirituality (New York U, 1992), features the work of Leslie Silko and Paula Gunn Allen. She has a fellowship to study Native American autobiography at the D'Arcy McNickle Center at the Newberry Library.

Roger Weaver edited Kamath elder Marie Norris's unpublished autobiography Along Klamath Waters. He teaches poetry writing and literature of U.S. ethnic minorities at Oregon State University. His most recent book is a handbook for poets called Standing on Earth, Throwing These Sequins at the Stars, Drift Creek Press, 1992.

Andrew Wiget is Associate Professor of English and Director of the New Mexico Heritage Center at New Mexico State University. A past president of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures, he is author of Native American Literature and editor of Critical Essays on Native American Literature.

Contact: Robert Nelson
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