Re: re. Books from an Indian perspective

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Posted by Elaine on March 22, 1998 at 23:29:17:

In Reply to: re. Books from an Indian perspective posted by Francois de Melogue (The Chef with the foaming mouth) on March 22, 1998 at 20:42:03:


So many comments/questions! First, thanks for the family background and explanation for your interest in the history. Sorry to hear of your father's death, I remember you spoke of his illness awhile back.

I am a Cooper fan, with NO apology! Yes, his style takes some getting used to and the era in which he wrote must be considered. Nonetheless, I think he was brilliant and am awaiting the rest of the world's discovery of that. Meanwhile, us Cooperphiles sneak in any defense of the man we can onto these pages. (We can say ANYTHING we want to...... it's our site!)

As to the movie comparison; though there are differences, I do not agree with you that is that far afield from the novel. It is an adaptation, as were earlier productions of LOTM. We have a lot of Musings on the differences and similarities.

Black Robe: I hated it!!!! Dark! Dark! Dark! It portayed both the Indians and the French as animals. It was NOT accurate, nor was it the least bit inspiring.

Francis Parkman; Like his work a lot, though his bias is all too evident at times. Anyone interested in the F & I War should read Parkman.

History was always recorded by the victor.... always. But, that does not mean it is always an erroneous record. Sometimes it is myopic and fails to understand or look at the opposing perspective; sometimes it is amazingly broad minded and observant.

Jesuits.... my, what a bad rap everyone wishes to give them. I could go on and on here, so rather than do that, I'd suggest reading the "Jesuit Relations". It is a record of the early Jesuit missionaries in North America. There is tons of information on the people, geography, religious practices, dress, languages, etc...... Also, the first book written in an Indian language, if I remember correctly, was the Bible, written by the Jesuits in Huron/Wyandot. And the Jesuits also were the first to record the Iroquois language.

Scalping; definitely pre-dated Europeans. It had purpose, and was not merely an act of cruelty. It was proof of a warrior's deed, which was very important in a warrior society. A comparison? The Celts used to cut the heads off of their enemies for the very same reasons. You have to admit, it's MUCH easier to cart around a scalp than a head. The European factor in scalping is they took advantage of the practice as a means of proof of slain enemies, and as a way to encourage more enemy deaths. Hey! That's war! The thing about the European involvement is that through issueing a bounty reward, they turned the whole business into a commodity market. What would you expect to happen if someone was willing to pay you for scalps? Not only were some very enterprising Indians dividing an individual scalp into 2 or 3 (additional revenue), but many children, women, poor slobs who had the misfortune of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, lost their locks... and lives.

Cannibalism; it was practiced by some tribes, but it was NOT done for a food source (sorry, Bill). Those people who did practice cannibalism (including the Mohawk and Ottawa) did so with the belief that they would gain the qualities of the victim, such as strength or bravery. Sometimes it was also an effective tool of terror. The only occasions that I can think of where cannibalism was practiced for food purposes in the whole of the 17th and 18th century were; the Hurons, after the Iroquois had ravaged their villages, fled to a Jesuit settlement. Winter was approaching, the Jesuits could not support the numbers of people who had flooded the mission, and despite pleas to leave or they'd face starvation, the Huron refugees stayed. They did starve and some turned to cannibalism to survive. Another was when Rogers' Rangers, on the return from St. Francis, ran into a bit of bad luck. A small group of them came upon the bodies of their dead companions and a couple of them did eat.... until they got sick. The third time was at the Jamestown colony. Some of the settlers there, to avoid starvation, cannibalized their dead.

Francois, you swear this interest does not stem from your profession???? If it does, we're planning on roasting Billy this June. We're looking for some creative marinades. (He's old and tough!) I don't know if we taste like chicken. Maybe in June we'll find out that some among us taste like soup birds. Or capon, Bill????????

Betrayals; an excellent, excellent book on Fort William Henry's "massacre".

Yes, Francois..... there is a Santa Claus. And an anti-Cooper faction among us. But there is the pro-Cooper faction as well. WE WIN EVERY DEBATE!!!!


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