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Old-man, or Napa, as he was called by the Blackfeet, is an extraordinary character in Indian stories. Both powerful and fallible, he appears in different guises: god or creator, fool, thief, clown. The world he made is marvelous but filled with mistakes. As a result, tensions between the haves and have-nots explode with cosmic consequences in Indian Why Stories.
Elders of the Blackfeet, Cree, and Chippewa (Ojibwa) people shared these wonderful tales with Frank B. Linderman in the late nineteenth century and early years of the twentieth century. War Eagle (the fictional name of Linderman’s friend and Chippewa medicine man Pah-nah-to, or Full-of-dew), tells these stories to attentive youngsters after the first frost in the fall. He speaks of animal people, including a deer and an antelope in a footrace, a dancing fox who convulses a buffalo with laughter, a white beaver and ghost people, a huge snake in love with the moon, a sparrow hawk of conscience, and many others. These sparkling tales reveal a reverence for life, honesty, and the unity of creation.
This expanded edition features thirteen previously unpublished verse stories along with an introduction to those stories by Sarah Waller Hatfield, granddaughter of Linderman.
Frank B. Linderman (1869–1938) spent his adult life in Montana, first as a trapper and then as an author, politician, and businessman. He lived closely with the Salish, Blackfeet, Crows, and other Native peoples in the region and is the author of Plenty-coups: Chief of the Crows and Pretty-shield: Medicine Woman of the Crows, both available in Bison Books edition.From the Back Cover:
Frank B. Linderman kept as close as possible to the Indian style of storytelling, using only the tales told him by elders of the Blackfeet, Chippewa, and Cree tribes. Indian Why Stories, originally published in 1915, recreates a cozy scene: a medicine man sits before a lodge fire relating tales of the old days to grandchildren not ready for bed. These stories have a moral framework, revealing a reverence for life, emphasis on honesty, and lack of bigotry.
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