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Native American Multicultural Literature Synthesis Essay


Synopsis

Native Americans have been challenged in maintaining their culture since the white man first set foot on the North American continent. However, they have in many, diverse ways continued to maintain their culture and historic, cultural traditions (Kuiper 109). There exist many literatures that support these views.

In the Ceremony, Silko reveals that though the Pueblos cannot disregard the force that the whites have had on their customs, they cannot entirely ditch their old ceremonies and still carry on culturally. In his view, the solution to continued existence is created in letting native Pueblo rituals adjust to meet the present veracities of reservation being.

Thomas King’s work and life history demonstrate flexibility and mobility of Indigenous groups and societies, and links that stay strong even as the people relocate to other places. According to Kings, Indians who relocate do not die out, nor does the disappearance from their ancestral society predict a loss of legitimacy.

In “The Man to Send Clouds” by Silko, Native Americans smear old Teofilo to organize him for his passage, and they too request the cleric to spray holy water. The cleric becomes immensely displeased, as the Native Americans fail to conduct suitable rituals for a Christian funeral.

In this account, Silko demonstrates that while Native Americans have been manipulated by European customs and values, they endeavor to uphold diverse features of their Native American customs and ideals. This paper discusses these accounts in detail, starting with the Ceremony by Silko, Borders by Thomas King and finally, “The Man to Send Clouds” by Silko.

Main Body

In the novel Ceremony, Silko describes the dying out situation of the Laguna customs subsequent to World War II. The terrain is destroyed by an overspill from the uranium quarry, and a cohort of juvenile Pueblo men is shattered by the battle (Silko 242). These juvenile men initially enrolled in the army for two key reasons.

First, they thought that it would aid them in breaking off feelings of lowliness, and second the militia assured them the chance to observe the globe and be received into conventional America. Three emblematic youthful Pueblo namely Rocky, Emo and Tayo, think they have lastly gained admittance to the white humanity when the military enlistee informs them that they can as well join the fight (Silko 64).

Instead of presenting a new life to the youthful men, World War II devastates them. Tayo suffers from post-traumatic stress ailment, which white drug has been incapable of healing. Emo turns out to be a drunkard and Rocky dies while combating the Japanese. In his hunt for treatment, Tayo initially resorts to alcohol, thus joining other Indian veterans and Emo (Silko 53).

However, Tayo does not heal by engaging in activities of violence and drinking, which are strange to his Indian culture. Instead of telling customary narratives regarding persons association with gods and the world, the Indian veterans give accounts of sorcery in the new humanity, which has deceived them into trusting it is acceptable.

Tayo subsequently tries to get cure from an old medicine man, who attempts to cure him using the old ritual. He sings in the indigenous language, and tells Tayo that his healing is not merely vital for his good, but the whole humanity, which is beneath the curse of witchery (Silko 86). However, Tayo vomits prior to the conclusion of the ceremony.

When the old medicine man recognizes that he fails in his attempt to cure him, he attributes his failure to the coming of the white man. However, if neither joining the white humanity similar to the other Indians nor going back to the customs can cure Tayo and his people, then what is capable of curing the disease? The two individuals who are able to hoard Tayo from the sorcery of the globe disclose Silko’s response to this query.

One of them is Montano, a lady whom Tayo notices staying on the rim rock. Montano stays in touch with the natural world, and trains Tayo the customary rituals of offering and the curative ability of various natural matters and plants (Silko 227).

Although the revisit, to the customs assists Tayo, another thing is required to finish his healing ritual. Hence, Betonie, a novel medicine man, takes position. He employs the old medicine man’s belongings and makes the healing sand pictures. However, Betonie as well adds modern devices, for instance, phone books, pictures of Indians, calendars and coke bottles, to his healing apparatus.

Betonie explains how the ritual has changed since the coming of the white man (Silko 121). Betonie, just like Tayo, is half-Mexican. Betonie and his ritual transformations arouse doubt among the Indians. However, Betonie explains that the new ritual may be dissimilar to the previous one, but it is as well comprehensive (Silko 233-234).

It is impossible to assume the impacts that contact with whites has caused among Pueblos, if the sorcery of the contemporary world is to be conflicted fruitfully. By incorporating the existing facts of Indiana life into customary ceremony, Betonie reveals the latent of ceremonies to reflexivity (Silko 126). These new processes not only mirror transformations in the Pueblo customs, but also provide a system for approving them.

Silko also disputes the inevitability of cultural transformation in the transmission of conventional oral legends into print. While it is disputed that the use of print leads to myths declination, Silko reveals how literacy can assist in the growth of ritual life.

Silko’s conviction in the significance of letting myth and ceremonies develop to meet the requirements of existing situations are best understood from Betonie’s explanations on his ritual practices, as mentioned above.

While the Pueblo Indians got to endure the repeated efforts of early white subjugators to obliterate their ceremonial routine, they have experienced situations that intimidate their customs markedly in the twentieth century. Though the Pueblos cannot disregard the force that the whites have had on their customs, they cannot entirely ditch their old ceremonies and still carry on culturally.

The solution to continued existence, as Silko shows in Ceremony, is created in letting native Pueblo rituals adjust to meet the present veracities of reservation being. The Pueblos can only obtain the curing they need, following the distress of over four hundred years of white subjugation, in this blend of old and new.

In general, European existence in the Americas, while disparaging, is not eternal. Although inhabitants and items with European origin may not vanish, their customs may die away, as Silko elucidates. The native character of the Americas is potent enough to take up novel technologies and novel persons without eliminating its Indigenousness.

King’s “Borders” gives an account of a disturbed who finds esteem in her home culture. She exhibits strong emotions regarding her culture. She belongs to the Blackfoot, hence presents herself as Blackfoot at the Canadian border (King 129). Notwithstanding the rage of the public guards and the likely threats of detainment, she refuses to identify herself as either American or Canadian.

The relation, amid Indigenous persons from diverse states, implies that King visualizes an intertribal society that contains all native North America (Brown and Amy Ling 57).

The intertribal society appreciates the value of tribal attachments, and so King ought not to be misinterpreted as proposing that anybody can become indigenous only by existing close to native people. Rather, his work recommends an Indigenous internationalism for natives who are remote from their own cultural homes, as the home can exist everywhere close to Indians (Lunsford 143).

King’s Indigenous internationalism as well serves to analyze the conventional narrative of the estranged Indian who cannot prosper away from the ancestral nation, since the entire North America was previously a tribal territory. King puts forward that estrangement rests on the beholder.

King restructures the discourse of what Indian is to contain a far wider array of manners and persons than the typecast allow, as well as the capacity to move and live remote from native lands with no loss of customary links.

In King’s work, home is a vital place. However, he does not form any particular central home space. Rather, he says that home is any place that Indians exist. King has accepted Canada as his home, in spite of growing up and his ancestors coming from the southeastern United States. Also, his traits show a propensity to feel at home in different spaces.

Instead of visualizing the humanity as a succession of disparities amid home and estrangement, King visualizes a world whereby Indigenous citizens. Despite the tribal disparities can exist at home with new Indigenous individuals, individuals that they have a common world view with, and stories may vary but whose experiences and viewpoints are analogous.

While King’s Cherokee predecessors were not locals to Canada, his ancestral association with the Cherokee and his close connections to Indigenous Canadians demonstrate that the colonially obliged U.S.-Canadian boundary is problematical and that his work ought to be taken as both pan- tribal and ethnic specific. His accounts indicate that home can be plural for Indigenous North Americans (Porter 16).

While some may perceive his distance from Cherokee societies as proof of alienation, his intimacy to the country, where he currently builds his home, plus his ongoing engagement with Cherokee mores rather presents proof of Indigenous internationalism.

Therefore, the term home can refer to different places. Regardless of his distance from Cherokee society, King maintains Cherokee customs, and he values his affiliation to home. Hence, King perceives Blackfoot land as home, instead of Cherokee, a perception that can clarify why his accounts are set in the motherlands of the Native Canadians instead of Cherokee region.

Thomas King’s work and life history demonstrate flexibility and mobility of Indigenous groups and societies, and links that stay strong even as the people relocate to other places (Brown and Amy 66). The Indians who relocate do not die out, nor does disappearance from their ancestral society predict a loss of legitimacy. Hence, migration and reservations of culture do coexist (Lunsford 67).

In the story of “Man to Send Clouds”, Silko gives an insight to a society of different cultural backgrounds. She demonstrates how cultural diversity separates the society of Catholics and Native Americans. The coming of the Europeans brought Christianity to the Native Americans.

In the 19th century, public officers were forced to assist home missionaries repress the Native Americans beliefs and make Native Americans hold to Christianity (Gonsior 6). At the same time, the Native Americans went through a stern loss of local language and beliefs.

In Silko’s work, Native Americans smear old Teofilo to organize him for his passage, and they too request the cleric to spray holy water (Rosen 6). The cleric becomes immensely displeased, as the Native Americans fail to conduct suitable rituals for a Christian funeral. Hence, he cannot spray holy water as requested.

He justifies his actions by saying that both a funeral mass and the last rite ought to have been performed (Silko 185). In most Native American customs, a burial is a ritual for the subsequent life of spirits. Similarly, death is interpreted as the commencement of a spirits expedition. Hence, they conducted ceremonies that would organize the spirit for the next world.

Finally, the cleric consents to spray holy water at the burial, although it is apparent that he does not recognize this rite (Rosen 7). He as well inquires about their objectives. In this account, Silko demonstrates that while Native Americans have been manipulated by European customs and values, they endeavor to uphold diverse features of their Native American customs and ideals.

She conveys the collision amid two diverse societies. Silko’s account is apparent in the Laguna Pueblo credence in the circle of existence. They deem that when one passes on, his/her spirit progresses.

They required the cleric to spray holy water, so that Teofilo would not feel thirsty, signifying that his essence or soul will live (Rosen 6). This account demonstrates a western humanity, symbolized by a cleric, struggling to exhibit much approval for the Native American customs.

In this account, Silko puts persons’ capacity to recognize and not criticize civilization they know less about into a question. For instance, the catholic cleric criticizes the funeral of Teofilo since it does not follow catholic customs. Although the cleric concurs to spray the holy water, he appears to disregard it (Rosen 7). It is apparent that he is biased against the Native American customs, since they seem to be strange and weird to him.

The clerics’ outlooks symbolize widespread ideas that the non-Native Americans hold about Native American traditions, mores and ceremonies. Silko explains that while the priest was spraying the holy water, the environs and the circumstances made him recall something. He is most likely referring to the rites of a Christian funeral ceremony, which are similar to the Laguna Pueblo ritual apart from the Last Rite.

He is too engaged examining the disparities between the Christian ritual from the Native Americans, and he encounters trouble in admitting diversities amid the two diverse societies. Silko emphasizes that each one has an outstanding view of humanity and what lies ahead of it. Hence, everybody must seek to respect the disparities that may exist among cultures.

There exist lots of typecasts attached to the Native Americans, formed by popular descriptions (Brown and Amy 37). Silko narrates from a Laguna Pueblo standpoint, thus contravening stereotypical thoughts of the Native Americans, which are prevalent in societies.

In conclusion, the three novels depict that although the Native Americans have been challenged in maintaining their culture since the white man first set foot on the North American continent, they have in many, diverse ways continued to maintain their culture and historic, cultural traditions. Silko, in his account of the ceremony, uses a young man named Tayo to show the impact that the whites have had on the Native Americans.

Tayo obtains ailments from the war. He seeks treatment from the whites, but the whites’ drugs are incapable of healing him. He then consults an old medicine man, but he is not able to cure him using the old ritual. The old medicine attributes his failure to the coming of the white man. Tayo meets Montano who trains him the customary rituals of offering and the curative ability of various natural matters and plants.

However, something else is required in order to finish his healing ritual; hence he visits Betonie. Betonie employs the old medicine man’s devices together with modern devices in the healing procedure. He laments that, long ago, one could perform the healing ritual with only traditional devices, unlike the current situation, where one has to merge traditional devices with modern devices.

This demonstrates that the ritual of the Pueblos also employs devices of the whites, in addition to their old devices. Though the Pueblos cannot disregard the force that the whites have had on their customs, they cannot entirely ditch their old ceremonies and still carry on culturally.

The solution to continued existence, as Silko shows in Ceremony, is created in letting native Pueblo ritual adjust to meet the present veracities of reservation being. The Pueblos can only obtain the curing they need, following the distress of over four hundred years of white subjugation, in this blend of old and new.

King’s uses his personal experience to indicate that home can be plural for Indigenous North Americans. His intimacy to the country, where he currently builds his home, plus his ongoing engagement with Cherokee mores rather presents proof of Indigenous internationalism.

He also restructures the discourse of what is Indian to contain a far wider array of manners and persons than the typecast allow, as well as the capacity to move and live remote from native lands with no loss of customary links. In his work, home is a vital place.

However, he does not form any particular central home space. Rather, he says that home is any place that Indians exist. King has accepted Canada as his home, in spite of growing up and his ancestors coming from the southeastern United States. Also, his traits show a propensity to feel at home in different spaces.

Regardless of his distance from Cherokee society, King maintains Cherokee customs, and he values his affiliation to home. Thomas King’s work demonstrates the links that stay strong even as people encounter different customs.

In “The Man to Send Clouds” by Silko, Native Americans smear old Teofilo to organize him for his passage, and they too request the cleric to spray holy water. The cleric becomes immensely displeased, as the Native Americans fail to conduct suitable rituals for a Christian funeral. Silko’s account is apparent in the Laguna Pueblo credence in the circle of existence.

They deem that when one passes on, his/her spirit progresses. They required the cleric to spray holy water, so that Teofilo would not feel thirsty, signifying that his essence, or soul will live. This account demonstrates a western humanity, symbolized by a cleric, struggling to exhibit much approval for the Native American customs.

In this account, Silko demonstrates that while the Native Americans have been manipulated by the European customs and values, they endeavor to uphold diverse features of their Native American customs and ideals.

Works Cited

Brown, Wesley and Amy Ling. Imagining America: Stories from the Promised Land. London: San Val, Incorporated, 2003. Print

Gonsior, Jeanette. Exploring Native American Culture through Conflicting Cultural Views. Munchen: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2009.Print

King, Thomas. “Borders.” One Good Story, That One. Toronto: HarperCollins, 1993. Print

Kuiper, Kathleen. Native American Culture. New York, NY: Britannica Educational Pub, 2011.Print

Porter, Joy. Place and Native American Indian History and Culture. Bern Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007.Print

Rosen, Kenneth. The Man to Send Rain Clouds: Contemporary Stories by American Indians. New York: Penguin Books, 1992.Print

Silko, Leslie. Ceremony. New York: Viking, 1977.Print

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