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Forum LockedNovels about Native Americans

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    Posted: 21-May-2009 at 14:23
Someone who can recommend some good novels (not the usual stereotype cowboys and indian stuff) about Native Americans (in North, Middle or South America)? The novels can be written by Native Americans themselves or by outsiders.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 14:47

Novels? I know many books about the conquist of Chile, if you would like to know.

If you want to go deep into classics, that despict the situation as it was, I can recommend you a book: "The Araucaniad" or "La Araucana" of Alonso de Ercilla. Written in the 16th century, despict with all the details the War of Arauco. The war against Amerindians the Spaniards lost against the Mapuche Indians of my country. If you want real stuff, that's the book to go.
 
Another book that treat the topic, this time as a novel, is Isabel Allende's Ines of my soul. I warn you it has some small historical inacuracies, though.
 
 
With respect to books written by Amerindians, what about the Popol Vuh, and the Chilam Balam. The first is a classic of Mayan religious ideas. The second is an eclectic book that gives insight about Mayan ideas.
 
 
And the Chilam balam:
 
 
In the last, there was written this famous frase describing the Spanish conquerors:
 
They taught fear; and they proceeded to wither the flowers
 
 
 
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 15:13
Thanks for good suggestions. Popol Vuh I actually read some years ago, it was amazing reading, I must soon read it again.
 
I´ve read some books by Isabel Allende but this one I haven´t read.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 15:32
That book of Isabel is pretty good. No matter, as I said before, it has some inacuracies.
Other books to read:
Letters of relation of Hernan Cortes. The conquest told by Cortes himself. Curiously, a very realistic and "impartial" book.
 
 
And the finest, in my opinion "El Cautiverio Feliz" (Happy Captivity) of Francisco Nuñez de Pineda y Bascunan. That tells about the relations between Spaniards colones and Mapuches in the 17th century, a century after the Conquist. Everything had changed already, including the mentality of people. The autor was captured by the Mapuches and lived with them for a year before being released. A very interesting book, that show the events how they were.
 
 
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 15:48
Forgot. Do you read Spanish? If you do, the finest book written by Mapuches on theirs situation, after the days when the Chilean army took theirs territories is the following:
 
Testimony of a Mapuche Chief Pascual Coña. It is billingual in Spanish and Mapudungun, but I am afraid there are no translation to English, as yet.
 
 
 
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 17:38
Some novels I´ve read has remained in my mind, as for example "Sedan kommo Spanjorerna" (Then the Spaniards came), 1945,  by Georg Dahl, a Swede that lived most of his life in Colombia. A couple of years he spent with the Engvera people. He also worked as an expert on fish for the Colombian government. The book is about the clash between the spaniards and the Muisca people and the book is rather unusual for it´s time depicting the events from the Muisca point of view. The hero is a young Muisca nobleman who later teams up with members of the Panche people, waging a guerilla war against the spaniards.
 
Another is "Land of the Beautiful River" by Helmer Linderholm (English ed 1963) who tells the story of New Sweden and the interactions between Europeans and the native Lenape and Susquehannock peoples. We  get to follow a young finnish man (many of the settlers of New Sweden were finns) and his Susquehannock wife also after New Sweden become first dutch (1655) and then British.
In the book the tragic fate of the Susquhannocks (they were more or less viped out) unfolds before our eyes.
 
In the novel "Den befjädrade ormen" (The feathered Serpent) by Swedish author (comedian, filmmaker, former chief of the outdoors museum "Skansen" in Stockholm and many other things) Hans Alfredsson, a young Toltec prince and his one-legged slave manage to cross over to Europe from Mexico on some sort of raft. In Europe they experience several adventures. Finally they end up in the North getting a ride from Norway to Iceland to Greenland with Vikings. Finally they follow Leif Ericsson to Vinland.
After a while the prince dies but the one-legged former slave becomes a shaman among an indigenous group far to the south, on the big plains of North America.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 17:51

In the "Feathered Serpent" Hans Alfredsson wants to entertain but also make a commentary about the notion that everyone in ancient time is supposed to be able to travel to America but nearly anyone talks about Pre Columbian voyages in the opposite direction. It´s the same topic as in the thread Pinguin started:

 

http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=24154&PN=18

 

               

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 17:53
I don´t know if Alfredssons book is translated to English.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 18:02
Another book I like is Lars Perssons "Lyssna vite man" (Listen White Man) which is a selection of speeches and writings of Naitve Americans mostly aimed at the whites. There are examples from both North, Middle and South America.
In the book there are also some quotations from religious writings as the Popol Vuh and others.
 
Among others there are a couple of tales from the Mapuches, one is named "When the God of mapuches turned the huinkas into stone".
 
 
Hope it will be translated into English soon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 18:09

Well, if you are interested in fact rather than fiction, you should turn into the Chronicles. They will give you a less romantic, and more realistic image about the region. For instance, in Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki, you have a very interesting picture about the Ecuador of the first half of the twentieth century, and also about native navigation.

With respect to Mapuche legends there are many, and very interesting. I haven't heared about the one you mentioned. In any case, the Mapuche God of the people is called Gnechen or Genechen. Check if it appears on your tale.
 
Why to read novels when the facts are as much interested as fiction?


Edited by pinguin - 21-May-2009 at 18:13
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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I mostly try to read facts, but now and then I like to relax with a fiction story if it´s enough captivating and exciting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 18:19
And many times if one reads a good novel about a subject I often get so interested that I start to read facts about the subject too.
 
For example after reading "The Land of the Beautiful River" I started to read "The History of New Sweden" a fact book by the same author, and that lead me to read other fact books about the same and similar subjects.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 18:22
And much later it lead me to coming in contact with descendants of the Lenape people who once lived there. So novels can be good both as entertainment and for inspiring an interest about a certain subject.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 18:28
You bet. In that case, I recomend you Isabel Allende's novel. Do you read Spanish? I have sources of free literature in Spanish you may downlow on the web.

Edited by pinguin - 21-May-2009 at 18:29
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 18:37
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

You bet. In that case, I recomend you Isabel Allende's novel. Do you read Spanish? I have sources of free literature in Spanish you may downlow on the web.
 
Unfortunately my knowledge in Spanish is to limited. I really shall try to improve it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 18:42

If you are really interested into the topic, you should. Hispanic America has the largest library of books on Amerindians and the largest populations, traditions and heritage. And most of those books are in Spanish, and many have never been translated to English. Even more, today most of the classics are available for free in the web, in Spanish.

"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 18:45
It´s funny that you mentioned Isabel Allende, I´m  just reading a book of hers, it´s called "Pygmeernas skog" (The Forest of the Pygmies, El bosco de los pigmeos) and is set in central Africa.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 19:03
Isabel is Chilean. Ines del Alma Mia is based in facts, not fantasy.
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 19:13
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Isabel is Chilean. Ines del Alma Mia is based in facts, not fantasy.
 
I shall get hold of it and read it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 19:17
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

For instance, in Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki, you have a very interesting picture about the Ecuador of the first half of the twentieth century, and also about native navigation.
 
Yes, Heyerdahls books are also available in Swedish. He really wrote a lot of books from all over the world. Many of his adventurers are also depicted in films that Swedish television has sent.
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