American Indian Poetry (Twayne's United States authors by Helen Addison Howard

American Indian Poetry (Twayne's United States authors by Helen Addison Howard

By Helen Addison Howard

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They hunted, fished, and cultivated maize, beans, pumpkins, and tobacco. Like many other tribes, including the Nez Perce, they sought a vision quest for a guardian spirit, and they also had shamans who cured sickness. The Corn Dance and Gamwing were their important annual ceremonies. The Gamwing, held for two weeks in autumn, afforded men and women an opportunity to recite their visions, give names to children, and formalize adoptions. The Corn Dance in spring honored the Corn Mother. 48 Destruction of Lenni Lenape culture and tribal identity began in the 1700s when these peaceful tribesmen were exploited by the more aggressive Iroquois.

52 AMERICAN INDIAN POETRY hiri! harken! a call for reverent attention. ti'rakuse, sitting; present tense, plural number. tararawa hut, the sky or heavens. It implies a circle, a great distance, and the dwelling place of the lesser powers, those which can come near to man and be seen or heard or felt by him. tiri, above, up there, as if the locality were designated by pointing upward. 17 The free translation is as follows: Changing a Man's Name 18 Harken! And whence, think ye, was borne Unto these men courage to dare, Strength to endure hardship and war?

60 Alice Fletcher expresses the belief that the verse of the woods-dwelling C h i p p e w a is easier for Europeans to sing than the poems of other tribes, particularly those of prairie tribes. " Heeding now our crying, while our eyes she opens, Mother Corn moveth out before us On the lonely prairie, where we see straight the pathway lies there! My own investigations have failed to establish this theory of geographical influence as a rule. Moreover, modern anthropology does not recognize these differences as being due only to geographical influences, b u t rather to additional modifications of a social and cultural nature.

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