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Reviews 153 ment that “The incidents of this simple story are true”; and that Grinnell obtained the stories from “one or more informants living the life so clearly and arrestingly described.” The first episode is remarkably skilful in narrating from the point of view of a five-year-old boy an attack upon an Indian village: the confused shouting of war cries, men mounting and riding to meet the enemy, women rushing about, hiding children, and singing victory songs to the warriors—just the details that would impress a child. Later episodes simply and colorfully tell of the boy’s first bow, a friend’s being killed by a wounded buffalo, Indian children playing games that imitate adult life, Indian bravery and pride of family and tribe, ruthless plans to kill whole villages of enemy tribes, details of horse stealing, courtship, and m arriageall activities with appropriate ceremonies and rites. Like Grinnell’s Pawnee Hero Stories and Folk Tales (With an Intro­ duction by Maurice Frink), reviewed by Jan Brunvand in Western American Literature, Summer, 1966, these two volumes are good medicine for a reader who wants Indian customs, stories, legends, and myths told in a style that fits the subject. B e n G r a y L u m p k in , University of Colorado The Shoshoneans. The People of the Basin Plateau. Text by Edward Dorn. Photographs by Leroy Lucas. (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1966. 95 pages, $6.95.) Composed or fashioned by two angry young men, Edward Dorn, white, and Leroy Lucas, black, who, in 1965, at the ages of 36 and 28, traveled to­ gether from Reno, Nevada, to Fort Hall, Idaho, and from Idaho to Salt Lake City, in search of material on the present status of the Shoshonean Indians of the Basin-Plateau, as they designate the semi-arid region of Nevada, Idaho, and Utah, this is the latest of a long line of books depicting the wrongs of the American Indian. Yet angry though they may be, these young men are extremely articulate. And their articulation has been trained in good places. Dorn is a Fullbright Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Essex, England, while Lucas has been camera man for documentaries for Columbia Broadcasting System and has had photos in Downbeat, Negro Digest, Harper’s Bazaar, and Esquire. The result is a somber picture. Abruptly detached from his past and 154 Western American Literature his spiritual heritage, set down arbitrarily in squalor in a flimsily constructed approximation of a white man’s house too often located by the city dump pile of a town that ignores his existence or placed on a reservation of barren land the whites have bypassed to possess themselves of the better watered areas, the red man, deprived of his nomadic past and unable to cope with the prevailing culture, exists in an intermediate vacuum, a sort of spiritual limbo. Such the thesis of our authors supported by graphic photographs. Perhaps the most sensitive word-picture we get is that of the 102-yearold Willy Dorcey, a Shoshoni, in whose house, at Duck Valley, on the NevadaIdaho border, Dorn interviews the centenarian and finds him keenly—if fragilely—alive, a man of dignity and poise who was yet warmly receptive to the gift of a carton of cigarettes, and whom he leaves uttering a Shoshonean chant. An eerie sense of another world, of another civilization, of another set of values as good as ours or better, is conveyed here by the author. Less tragic but more pathetic than this survivor of another era are the later, younger Indians the travelers meet. Full-bloods exposed to two civiliza­ tions they are, who seem inevitably to take up the vices of each. A drunken steer-rider conducting Dorn and Lucas on an inconclusive tour of his numerous relatives which winds up in a steer-riding exhibition by moonlight in a cousin’s corral in which he is ingloriously thrown is an example. Wilbur P. is the lost Indian, the man with no future, whom we see in the bars on the skid rows of the towns of the American West from Oklahoma to Nevada...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 153-155
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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