Synopses & Reviews
Storytelling is an integral part of Native American tradition. It goes back hundreds of years, and spans the continent from ocean to ocean. It was the means by which tribes and nations communicated from generation to generation their feats, legends, and religious beliefs. These stories had a magical quality; they were both real and wondrous, and they had the power to bring the people together as nothing else did.
In this volume, Leslie Marmon Silko demonstrates that storytelling is not only alive but still imbued with the power to move and deeply affect us. "White ethnologists have reported that the oral tradition among Native American groups has died out," the author notes, "because whites have always looked for museum pieces and artifacts when dealing with Native American communities. . . . I grew up at Laguna listening, and I hear the ancient stories, I hear them very clearly in the stories we are telling right now. Most important, I feel the power which the stories still have, to bring us together, especially when there is loss and grief."
Here Ms. Silko weaves a magical spell, as she re-creates the ancient stories, in prose and poetry (the distinction for the Native American is far less than in the European tradition), spicing them with the realities of her own experience. They are stories of her own familyof Great Grandma Amooh, of Grandpa Hank and Aunt Susie and Aunt Susie's daughter Bessie; they are archetypal stories filled with characters like Old Ayah and Yellow Woman, Buffalo Man and Hummingbird; tales infused with a sense of tradition and love of place, yet filled too with the harsh realities of hunger, poverty, and injustice.
In this work, what Leslie Silko has given us is, in a real sense, a Native American Roots.