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Two Toms Two Toms Two Toms: Lessons from a Shoshone Doctor Lessons from a Shoshone Doctor Lessons from a Shoshone Doctorby Thomas Hoevet Johnson
Synopses & Reviews
In 1969, Tom Wesaw was an 83-year-old Shoshone doctor and religious leader on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. He could no longer drive, which posed problems in making house calls. The arrival of young anthropologist Tom Johnson changed that. Johnson would drive Wesaw, and cook, pump water, and build fires for sweat lodges. In exchange, the elder Tom would show the younger Tom his work. The two were together so often that the people of Wind River began to refer to them affectionately by one name: Two Toms. By the light of the lamp Wesaw gave him, Johnson would write down what he learned. The Shoshone doctor wanted his student to share everything he saw and heard. Now, in Two Toms: Lessons from a Shoshone Doctor, he has.
Presented as an engaging narrative, Johnson’s book reveals details about the Shoshone culture and it chronicles the story of the friendship between these two men of different backgrounds. Filled with valuable anthropological information, this book is also highly readable and entertaining.
Presented as an engaging narrative, Two Toms reveals details about the Shoshone culture and it chronicles the story of the friendship between a Tom Johnson, a young anthropologist, and Tom Wesaw, an 83-year-old Shoshone doctor and religious leader on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.
A collection of prized Western Shoshone tales set primarily in the andldquo;Time when Animals Were People,andrdquo; the legendary past when animals had the power of speech and established human customs.
The Western Shoshone people live throughout eastern Nevada and western Utah (Goshute). When Anne Smith visited the region in 1939 there was only one formally designated reservation. Smith and her companion Alden Hayes traveled countless mile of remote road collecting stories, documenting Western Shoshonean tradition, and seeking to determine the outlines of Great Basin culture.
The tales in this volume are set primarily in the andquot;Time when Animals Were People,andquot; the legendary past when animals had the power of speech and established human customs though their adventures (and misadventures). Trickster tales figure prominently, with obscenity and blunt delivery common humorous devices. These tale were prized for their educational as well as entertainment value, and storytelling ability was highly respected. Thus, Smith was careful to credit individual storytellers of their versions of favorite Basin tales, avoiding the dryness of generic anthologies.
About the Author
Thomas H. Johnson is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point.
Helen S. Johnson assisted Thomas with fieldwork on the Wind River Reservation and is co-author of Also Called Sacajawea: Chief Woman’s Stolen Identity.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
1. The Pink Phone
2. Hat and Shoes
4. Another Way
5. Tom the Listener
6. A Visit with Bill Shakespeare
8. The Sweat Solution
9. What I Learned from Tom
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