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THE HERO'S JOURNEY IN JAMES WELCH'S FOOLS CROW AND TRADITIONAL PIKUNI SACRED GEOGRAPHY Jay Hansford C. Vest Enrolled Member Monacan Indian Nation Associate Professor of American Indian Studies University of North Carolina at Pembroke Pembroke, North Carolina USA, 28372~1510 [email protected] Abstract I Resume Using an auto-criticism reflecting the author's experiences among the Pikuni, the essay explores the mythic significance of James Welch's Fools Crow as it reveals a traditional Pikuni sacred geography. The origins of the novel, as disclosed through experience and oral tradition, are, thereby, revealed through a mythic discourse analysis. En ayant recours a une autocritique qui reflete les experiences de I'auteur chez les Pikuni, I'article explore la signification mythique du roman de James Welch qui revele la geographie sacree traditionnelle des Pikuni. Aussi, les origines du roman, divulguees en se fondant sur I'experience et la tradition orale, sont revelees en utilisant une analyse du discours mythique. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies XXV, 1(2005):337-353.
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338 Jay Hansford C. Vest A jet black night secured the evening. Icy fingers gripped the brick walls of my dwelling, each one feeling about the crevices and touching heavily upon the windows. It seemed a perfect night to settle in and begin writing the doleful academic treatise. Alone in the cocoon of sur- rounding books, I began to think through the prospects of a disserta- tion. When out the darkness and cold, a crisp rap sounded upon the front door. Arising from my thoughts, I made way across the dimly lit room thinking who could possibly be out on a night like this. The air was thin and still; the temperature was ten or more below zero. Having made no preparations for Santa, I hadn't expected any visitors on this evening world renewal. With care, I opened the door doing best to guard against the exchange air. Standing on the porch were Keith and several shad- owed figures. Quickly, I invited him in and the shadows made haste to join us. The cold figures stood about the living room while Keith took a seat. "What brings you here tonight Keith?" I asked. A raspy coughbarked from a corner and Keith looked about before answering. "I've come to ask your help." The air was chillingly still since opening the door. Keith began de- scribing an appeal the Lewis and Clark National Forest Plan, which proposed drilling oil and gas wells in a Pikuni sacred area known as the Badger-Two Medicine. He said that they had gone to Joseph Epes Brown but in failing health and declining memory, he had suggested that I might help them and passed his regrets. Keith had come to door on behalf the Pikuni Traditionalist Association and the shadows had danced along on Cold Maker's breath. Time was pressing hard, Keith explained, "Seven days is all we have to complete the appeal." Long interested in this matter, I looked past him to the waiting figures in a darkened corner study. "I'll do what I can. Let me review the literature tonight and come back tomorrow morning. We'll see what we have then," I replied.
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