Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories

Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories

Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories

Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories

Synopsis

Charles F. Lummis's profound understanding of Indian and Spanish culture in the American Southwest is reflected in this collection of thirty-two myths centering around the Pueblo of Isleta on the Rio Grande. In adapting these traditional oral tales, Lummis drew on his experience of living at Isleta and his familiarity with the native language. originally published in 1894, Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories is as enchanting as ever. Seven elders seated around a campfire take turns telling about Antelope Boy. the fabled coyote, the man who married the moon, the snake-girls, the sobbing pine, the feathered barbers, the hero twins, the revengeful fawns, and other natural and supernatural entities. Beautifully wrought, these wisdom and initiation stories speak to all who have not lost their sense of wonder.Charles F. Lummis, who founded the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, wrote such books as A Tramp across the Continent, also reprinted in a Bison Book edition. Robert F. Gish is Director of Ethnic Studies and a professor of English and Ethnic Studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His books include Frontiers End: The Life and Literature of Harvey Fergusson published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Excerpt

Charles F. Lummis Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories is a book worthy of reintroduction. First published as The Man Who Married the Moon and Other Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories in 1894 and again sixteen years later under the title of Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories, Lummis's narrations of Isleta myths allow readers crucial insight into Pueblo cultures and into Lummis's own encounters with them as a major nineteenth-century Anglo adventurer and writer in the American West. Now, nearly a century later, this Bison reprint commemorates both the Pueblo peoples whose myths and stories Lummis sought to perpetuate and Lummis's own love for the region of the West that he took credit for naming "the Southwest."

In the 1990s, as centennial exhibitions of Lummis's first "tramp across the continent" and personal "discovery" of the Southwest are staged, and the quincentenary of Columbus's "discovery" of America and its aboriginal inhabitants is both celebrated and condemned, it is especially appropriate to reissue Pueblo Indian Folk- Stories.

Certainly Lummis was not Columbus. But in addition to characterizing himself as a "New Mexico David," he also thought fondly of the Spanish conquest of the New World, and particularly of Nueva Granada (the earlier designation of "the Southwest"). It is not surprising, then, to hear and take note of various Pueblo storytellers in Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories address Lummis as "Don Carlos," and for him to editorialize on the rightness of early Spanish dominion of the region.

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