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White Buffalo Woman's words to women retold by Lone Man

White Buffalo Woman's words to women retold by Lone Man
Photo: Tonto Apache Woman, taken at the San Carlos Indian Reservation. She is not identified by name.



​White Buffalo Woman's words to women: 'My dear sisters the women: You have had a hard life to live in this world, yet without you this world would not be what it is. Wakan Tanka intends that you bear much sorrow - comfort others in time of sorrow. By your hands the family moves. You have been given the knowledge of making clothing and feeding your family. Wakan Tanka is with you in your sorrows and joins you in your grief. He has given you the great gift of kindness toward every living creature on earth. You he has chosen to have a feeling for the dead who are gone. He knows that you remember the dead longer than do the men. He knows that you love your children dearly.'
(Retold by Lone Man, Teton Lakota)


Recommended Reading:
'American Indian Literatures: An Introduction, Bibliographic Review and Selected Bibliography'
By A. Lavonne Brown Ruoff (Author)
Purchase Book:
Providing a history of Native American literature from 1772 to the present, this work describes various types of oral literatures and life histories, evaluates secondary works in the field, and includes an extensive selected bibliography. Includes an appendix of important dates in American Indian history.
'Brown Ruoff has created in "American Indian Literatures" an essential collection of Native American (or Indian, as Sherman Alexie calls himself) oratories, histories, stories, and written books. While it was published in 1990, and therefore contains none of the more recently-published Indian writers (Alexie, Vizenor, much of Louise Erdrich), "American Indian Literatures" offers a decent overview of 1970s and 1980s writing such as Leslie Marmon Silko, and what precious little criticism appeared in that time period.

What "AIL" does, however, is compile a vast quantity of oral and written stories, fictional and not (although that term is used loosely when discussing Indian literature, that's the beauty of it). The cover advertises that it contains information from 1772, and most of what Ruoff has compiled is in the early and mid-1800s, at least as far as oral tradition is concerned. This is what makes "AIL" absolutely invaluable: this may be the very first time these oral histories were compiled not for historical or sociological interpretation, but for the purpose of examining them critically as literature (which Ruoff mostly leaves to the reader). The Bibliography of Indian oral and written histories is immense, taking up nearly a third of the sum total of the book. Anyone seriously studying Indian literature needs a copy of this volume, unless he or she relishes spending days combing through hundred-year-old books in the library. The most important pieces are contained here, and the book helpfully tells the reader exactly where to go to find something if it is not published between these covers. "AIL" is a great scholarly tool for the study of Indian lit, which MUST include early Indian literature if it is to be taken seriously and placed in its proper context.'

(Jason Mical)
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