Academic journal article The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture

Hog and Buzzard

Academic journal article The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture

Hog and Buzzard

Article excerpt

In his book History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians, Horatio B. Cushman sometimes seems to imply that Choctaws and Chickasaws and other Southeastern Native Americans were perfect.1 You have to admire a European-American with good sense like that. Actually, he indicates our meetings were perfect because no one interrupted anyone else. In contrast, Antoine Simon Le Page DuPratz wrote when the Natchez would meet with Europeans, the Natchez spent a lot of the time chuckling amongst themselves.2 When asked why, they said the French reminded them of a flock of cackling geese-everyone trying to speak at once. Therefore, when we tell our stories to Southeastern Native audiences, we can assume we will never be interrupted. However, it occurs to me that not everyone listening to Native stories is Native, so it might be handy for a storyteller to have a story to tell about interruptions. This is mine.

When Hog first arrived in this land, he came with DeSoto from Europe-specifically, Spain.

He was very eloquent and mysterious, and when he spoke he would start, "Soy de España..."

All the women would tilt their heads and sigh.

All the men would say, "He's sure a smooth talker."

Everyone wanted to hear him speak.

Everyone except Buzzard, that is.

Before Hog arrived, everyone wanted to hear Buzzard speak, because he was the doctor and knew many important things.

One day, Buzzard challenged Hog to a speaking contest to decide who was the better speaker, so they agreed to a day and went away to prepare their speeches. …

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