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Fools Crow Set in Montana shortly after the Civil War, this novel tells of White Man s Dog later known as Fools Crow so called after he killed the chief of the Crows during a raid , a young Blackfeet Indian on the verge of manhood, and his band, known as the Lone Eaters The invasion of white society threatens to change their traditional way of life, and they must choose to fight or assimilate The story is a powerful portrait of a fading way of life The story culminates with the historic Marias Massacre of , in which the US Cavalry mistakenly killed a friendly band of Blackfeet, consisting mostly of non combatants A major contribution to Native American literature Wallace Stegner James Welch was a gifted American writer and one of the best to realistically depict the culture of the modern day Plains Indians After reading one of James Welch s earlier books, I put off reading any other books for years They are hard to read in that they are excellently written but give such a sense of despair Fool s Crow is not quite the same as the othersof a look back at the Blackfeet before the white man entered the scene but towards the end the foreboding and sense of los James Welch was a gifted American writer and one of the best to realistically depict the culture of the modern day Plains Indians After reading one of James Welch s earlier books, I put off reading any other books for years They are hard to read in that they are excellently written but give such a sense of despair Fool s Crow is not quite the same as the othersof a look back at the Blackfeet before the white man entered the scene but towards the end the foreboding and sense of loss are there as well I found this a very powerful novel dramatising the cultural clash between the Pikuni Blackfeet Native Americans and thepowerful and advanced American settlers called Napikwans by the Blackfeet.I found the detailed description of the vanished life style of the tribe immensely interesting I would tend to agree with the introduction by Thomas Mcguane when he makes the point that Tribalism is now accepted as a societal model best left to history But he also states thatit he I found this a very powerful novel dramatising the cultural clash between the Pikuni Blackfeet Native Americans and thepowerful and advanced American settlers called Napikwans by the Blackfeet.I found the detailed description of the vanished life style of the tribe immensely interesting I would tend to agree with the introduction by Thomas Mcguane when he makes the point that Tribalism is now accepted as a societal model best left to history But he also states thatit helps to see what is lost when cultures evolve and our relationships to one another are blurred And James Welch very movingly does let us see the losses that come with the destruction of a way of life that allows a people to live in aprofound relationship with Nature than we seem unable to emulate.The novel deals with profound issues and the central character, Fools Crow, is very vividly realised He starts as an uncertain young man, becomes a warrior and finally a mystic Other characters are equally convincing In fact, probably the great central cry of the novel is in the following passage Fools Crow s father is speaking to another chief, Three Bears We will lose our grandchildren, Three Bears They will be wiped out or they will turn into Napikwans Already some of our children attend their school at the agency Our men wear trousers and the women prefer the trade cloth to skins We wear their blankets, cook in their kettles, and kill the blackhorns with their bullets Soon our young women will marry them And the reply he gets from Three Bears offers no consolation I am an old man and I see things I do not like I see the signs all around me Many of you young men go off on their own They do not listen to their chiefs They drink the white man s water and kill each other Some of the our young women already stand around the forts, waiting to fornicate with the seizers for a drink of this water They become ugly before their time, and then they are turned out like old cows to forage for themselves We live many sleeps from these places of ruin But the day will come when our people will decide that they would rather consort with the Napikwans than live in the ways our long ago fathers thought appropriate But I, Three Bears, will not see this day I will die first A wonderful, compelling story of change and misunderstandings The arrival of the White Man to the Plains of America brought changes to the Pikuni Natives in ways that they could not understand or were given the time to adapt to The results, as we know, were disastrous to all Native Americans The story of Fools Crow shows the desire to live in peace, with all people, and their confusion at the worsening of their situation through no fault of their own.This is a well told and thoughtful story A wonderful, compelling story of change and misunderstandings The arrival of the White Man to the Plains of America brought changes to the Pikuni Natives in ways that they could not understand or were given the time to adapt to The results, as we know, were disastrous to all Native Americans The story of Fools Crow shows the desire to live in peace, with all people, and their confusion at the worsening of their situation through no fault of their own.This is a well told and thoughtful story of a time of change and instability An amazing book that makes you realize just how much sympathetic, realistic, humanizing portraits of Native Americans are lacking in American fiction This book tells the story of Fools Crow, a young Blackfoot warrior, and his village in the late 1800s as US soldiers are encroaching on their territory However, white people loom at the very outer periphery of the story This book is not the usual Requiem for the Noble Savage that you might have read before Most of the book deals with the daily An amazing book that makes you realize just how much sympathetic, realistic, humanizing portraits of Native Americans are lacking in American fiction This book tells the story of Fools Crow, a young Blackfoot warrior, and his village in the late 1800s as US soldiers are encroaching on their territory However, white people loom at the very outer periphery of the story This book is not the usual Requiem for the Noble Savage that you might have read before Most of the book deals with the daily trials and dramas of the Blackfeet political intrigues, siblings jealousy, broken friendships, young love and coming of age It does not romanticize Blackfeet culture, nor exoticize it It takes a while to get into though it s written in English, it s as if it was written in the Blackfeet language and then translated into English But that s its genius, because once you begin to understand the strange turns of phrase, you are able to relate to and identify with characters who lived in a totally different world, and who subscribed to a totally different set of values and beliefs about how the world works And while it is sad to think about all that was destroyed over several centuries of genocide, the fact that the book was written by a modern Blackfeet tribemember, James Welch, shows that not all was lost

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