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Where the Lightning Strikes: The Lives of American Indian Sacred Placesby Peter Nabokov
Synopses & Reviews
A compelling portrait of cultural transition and assimilation via the saga of one Acoma Pueblo Indian family
Born in 1861 in New Mexicoand#8217;s Acoma Pueblo, Edward Proctor Hunt lived a tribal life almost unchanged for centuries. But after attending government schools he broke with his peopleand#8217;s ancient codes to become a shopkeeper and controversial broker between Indian and white worlds. As a Wild West Show Indian he travelled in Europe with his family, and saw his sons become silversmiths, painters, and consultants on Indian Lore. In 1928, in a life-culminating experience, he recited his version of the origin myth of Acoma Pueblo to Smithsonian Institution scholars.
Nabokov narrates the fascinating story of Huntand#8217;s life within a multicultural and historical context. Chronicling Pueblo Indian life and Anglo/Indian relations over the last century and a half, he explores how this entrepreneurial family capitalized on the nationand#8217;s passion for Indian culture. In this rich book, Nabokov dramatizes how the Hunts, like immigrants throughout history, faced anguishing decisions over staying put or striking out for economic independence, and experienced the pivotal passage from tradition to modernity.
"According to UCLA professor Nabokov (Native American Testimony), the places that American Indians call sacred may be as wondrous as 'cliffs spilling with waterfalls' and as humble as 'caves splattered with bat excrement.' What makes them important is not postcard-perfect beauty but the beliefs a group has about 'what lies within or beneath what the eye can see.' This excellent volume presents the 'biographies' of 16 such places, from Maine to California. Through them, Nabokov surveys a wide range of Native American spiritual practices and reveals how intrusions into Native Americans' land have also constituted assaults upon their religious beliefs. Indeed, many of the assaults continue to this day: after the disruptions caused by war, disease, missionary activity and forced relocation came those of hydroelectric dams, agribusiness, parking lots and extreme sports buffs. Nabokov's deeply informed text is enhanced by first-person accounts of his visits to the locations and by his spirited commentary on the writings of other ethnographers, naturalists, linguists and anthropologists. Sentimental clichs and monolithic views are dismantled along the way. Each of Nabokov's biographies can be savored separately; taken together, they demonstrate both that there is 'more to some American places than [meets] the eye' and that Native Americans have known that for a very long time." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Based on years of research and personal experience, this volume reveals a range of holy lands containing beneficial as well as malevolent forces, reminding readers of the stubborn persistence of Indian beliefs in the sacredness of the American earth.
A revelatory new look at the hallowed, diverse, and threatened landscapes of the American Indian
For thousands of years , Native Americans have told stories about the powers of revered landscapes and sought spiritual direction at mysterious places in their homelands. In this important book, respected scholar and anthropologist Peter Nabokov writes of a wide range of sacred places in Native America. From the high country of California to Tennessees Tellico Valley, from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Rainbow Canyon in Arizona, each chapter delves into the relationship between Indian cultures and their environments and describes the myths and legends, practices, and rituals that sustained them.
From the author of Native American Testimony comes a revelatory new look at the hallowed, diverse, and threatened landscapes of the American Indian
For thousands of years Native Americans have told stories about the powers of revered landscapes and sought spiritual direction at mysterious locations in their homelands. In Where the Lightning Strikes, Peter Nabokov offers sixteen "biographies of place" that dramatize the rich diversity of Indian cultures and their religious systems across North America. From the mountains of Maine to Tennessee's Tellico Valley, from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Rainbow Canyon in Arizona to the high country of northwestern California, each chapter explores a host of relationships between Indian cultures and their environments and describes the myths, legends, practices, and rituals that sustained them.
Based on years of research and personal experience, Where the Lightning Strikes reveals a range of holy lands containing beneficial as well as malevolent forces and reminds us of the stubborn persistence of Indian beliefs in the sacredness of the American earth.
About the Author
Peter Nabokov is professor of American Indian Studies and World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. His previous books include A Forest of Time, Native American Testimony, Native American Architecture (with Robert Easton), Indian Running, Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior, and Architecture of Acoma Pueblo.
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