Classics English literature

Fool’s Crow

Question One

             The Blackfeet society represents the Lone Eaters band of the Pikuni Indians, who live in agreement with the natural world, pursuing the buffalo, employ a complex political system and pass knowledge by handing down their legends from generation to generation through narrations. The black foot society possesses very rich oral traditions a good example being the use of dreams and visions in their narrations (Mails, 2001). Animals possessing inborn authority played an imperative function in the dreams of young men in the Blackfeet community. The young men from the community would receive the powers of their Nitsokan, when they dreamt with them. White Man’s Dog dreams with a raven giving him instructions to go and free a wolverine from the Napikwan, the white man and if he succeeds then he will receive goodwill from the raven and the wolverine’s powers (Mails, 2001). The power he receives from the wolverine helps him later to become the leader of his community though he is initially branded as a coward. This type of oral narration helps the author to build his story as it authenticates the story based on the beliefs of the Blackfeet society and exemplifies the profundity of the beliefs of that community. It also gives the story a traditional touch from the community in question.

Question Two

The major imperative cryptogram established in this book is dreams. Dreams play a vital role in the Blackfeet society tradition depicted by messages from spirits and Nitsokan (Mails, 2001). These messages if acted on could save the community from atrocities but if ignored, they had dire consequences and they also provided truth and guidance to the community. In this book, there are many examples of dreams but the two that stand out are White Man’s Dog and Fast Horse dreams (Mails, 2001). White Man’s Dog dreams of the events that are going to befall his community. The community will face the white mans expansive invasion leading to the loss of their land, they will be faced by an incurable diseases that will over power the medicine man as well as fools crow and they will be forced to adapt to the new ways for them to survive (Mails, 2001). This helps to give guidance to White Man’s Dog so that he can prepare his community for what was to come. The dream that brings out truth is the joint dream that White Man’s Dog shared with his father’s younger wife in which they desired each other. They had a similar dream where White Man’s Dog dreamed of making love to his father’s wife and being given a slender white stone by the wolverine. Kills-close-to-the-lake advances to him and illustrate a similar dream (Mails, 2001). In her dream, the Wolverine who bites her finger ravishes her and the finger turns into a slender white stone, which was to be a reminder of her evil desire for White Man’s Dog. This dream helps to cleanse the two of their perverse desire and transmit the wolverine’s authority to White Man’s Dog.

Question Three

The Fools Crow’s tribe found out that intelligence is both intuitive and learned. In the intuitive part, they acquired intelligence without effort since it was imparted on an individual by dreaming of an animal that possessed intelligence (Mails, 2001). Later they were able to learn intelligence when they had to adapt to the new way of life. Their children had to go to school as opposed to before where they could acquire intelligence from the legends passed down from one generation to the other by the elders (Mails, 2001). Therefore, intelligence to them was not something to be learned only but it was also intuitive. Fast Horse after moving from his community and acquiring more intelligence comes to loathe the aged financial system of his community because he felt that wealth could be earned in an easier way. His intelligence was learned not intuitive (Mails, 2001). At the end of the story, everything is as it should be because after the people were able to make peace with the disasters that were to befall the community and move to the sand hills then they could enjoy a banquet as the spring rains would return and the black horns would return (Mails, 2001). Happiness would once more befall the people and they would live as they had before the disasters befell them.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Question One

This book established the fact that the whites prompted majority of the clashes between them and Native Americans. The evidence acquired from this book shows that the U.S. government endeavored to obtain Native Americans’ land through intimidation, trickery, and massacres (Brown, & Sides, 2009). In the Battle of Wounded Knee, soldiers from the seventh US cavalry massacred many women and children without mercy. The white soldiers instigated the battle. When Big foot and his tribe’s men met the soldiers, they were disarmed but later two guns were found between some blankets. One of the guns belonged to Black Coyote and as he was laying it down the soldiers grabbed it. Unfortunately, when the soldiers spun him around the gun went off but it was not in his hand and the soldiers opened fire towards the Indians (Brown, & Sides, 2009). This shows that it was not the Indians who instigated the fight so most Americans are not aware that the white soldiers initiated the fight. It shows the brutality of the government to the Native Americans so it cannot be recorded in history as it would destroy the competence of the US government.

Question Two

Different Indian tribes had different ways of life. They had different languages, religions, beliefs, organization and different living environment. When it came to wars, they also reacted differently (Brown, & Sides, 2009). There were collaborators, others signed treaties with the settlers, others raided the settlers and despite the fact that certain similarity to the results was experienced, each tribe had a dissimilar occurrence (Brown, & Sides, 2009). The Indians believed that land was a communal based property so when the settlers tried to grab their land they acted in a communal manner. They came to be known as the first conservationists as they conserved the land that was grabbed and later destroyed by the settlers. This thus shows that the reason why Brown exposes this story from the perspective of different tribes is to make the readers aware of the different ways that the government used to acquire land from the Indians (Brown, & Sides, 2009). It was through treaties as it did with the Santee Sioux who submitted their land for wealth and necessities but never received them or by killing like the way, the U.S. Army slew or dislodged all Mescalero Apaches and Navahos in a certain region to acquire their land (Brown & Sides, 2009).

Question Three

The type of writing embraced helps one to determine the topic, purpose, style or tone to be used in the writing process. From a subjective perspective, this book could have been presented in a different type of writing where the purpose is concerned. The writer is biased as he only gives the Indians side of the story whereas every story has two sides (Brown, & Sides, 2009). This shows the biasness of the book thus it should have included the government’s side of the story. The book only talks about those tribes that were either massacred or exploited by the whites but does not convey those who collaborated with the government. It does not also suggest those tribes that were massacred by their fellow Indians due to tribal rivalries (Brown, & Sides, 2009). If the book could have been written with the inclusion of these three aspects, it would an unbiased work of history that could be used to educate all Americans without sparking any form of hatred. However, though the author took the side of the Indians only his work still brought out the effect that he intended.

The holy songs used in the book were used to assure the warriors that the soldiers’ bullets would not penetrate their sacred garments thus helping them to overcome fear during the wars. Other songs were taught for the new dance called the Ghost Dance (Brown, & Sides, 2009. The quotes used in the story give more life to the story as they are quotes made by the Indian chiefs to give insight in some circumstances. The portraits help to animate the book and make it more interesting as one is able to get a real picture of the happenings of that century. In addition, they also make the story more believable and involve the reader into the life of the Indians after the arrival of whites in North America.















Brown, D., & Sides, H. (2009). Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: The Illustrated Edition: An Indian History of the American West. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company.

Mails, T., E. (2001). Fools Crow: Wisdom and Power. San Francisco, CA: Council Oak Books.


























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