Tunkashila: From the Birth of Turtle Island to the Blood of Wounded Knee

Gerald Hausman, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-312-09928-2
Nearly 70 tales from such diverse tribes as Creek, Navajo, Roanoke, Hopi, Lakota and Seminole are loosely strung together into a single epic in this disappointing effort by this popularizer of Indian culture. While not Native American himself, Hausman ( Turtle Island Alphabet ) traces his interest to the '30s when his mother, then an anthropology student, collected some of the tales used here. The bulk of them, however, Hausman culled from oral and more familiar published sources. Taken individually, some of the stories are well told. Particularly effective is ``The Story of the Second Animal Council,'' in which beasts decide how to combat human encroachment, and ``The Story of the White Deer Named Virginia Dare,'' an account from the Indian perspective of the first white child born in North America. The biggest flaw is at the very heart of Hausman's enterprise: his decision to synthesize myths from different traditions into a putatively linear narrative with little indication of each story's original context. Though the volume purports to give readers the history of North America through the eyes of its original inhabitants, it only provides a stereotyped, romanticized image. Line drawings. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993
Release date: 10/01/1993
Paperback - 978-0-312-11345-2
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