Name: Course: Instructor: Date: Native American Culture Leslie Marmon Silko has a place of her own among the American novelists. If it is said that this distinct identity largely owes to her Native American origin, that is by means to underrate her ability as a writer…
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Yet, the world knows that the two things were as similar as they were different. It follows that on this ground, we might venture saying that America must be a strange land, for in few parts of the world would it make such a big difference to be a native as it does on this land. This difference turns out to be all the more significant for the reason that the history of the nation was not the same thing as the history of the native. It makes an interesting case study for the cultural as well as literary implications it can have and the works of authors like Silko give us demonstration of those implications. To take an example, we may consider Silko’s house which was nothing short of a prototype of a zoo and her coexistence in this house with a variety of creatures such as mastiffs, pit bulls, rattlesnakes, macaws and African gray parrots. The house qualifies to be described as a kind of mini-museum as well with pieces of crystal quartz and turquoise lying all over (Snodgrass 315). We may now contrast this with the life theme of another well-known name – to put it in the sarcastic words of famous conservationist late Gerald Durrell – the ‘much-lauded’ Buffalo Bill Cody whose only accomplishment (if it may be called so) was the ruthless killing of bisons. 4000 bisons in just 18 months was no ordinary feat (Bennett et al. 26). It is anybody’s guess how today’s environmentalists would react to the greatness attributed to this feat, isn’t it? What does this contrast establish? It only goes on to substantiate that Silko and Cody, then, are not just two individuals but representatives of the two sides of the history, culture and attitude of a nation with a dual character. Not that this difference is peculiar to America alone. In the rest of the world, what is perceived and interpreted as the distinction between tribal and mainstream populations is essentially the same as the one we have noted between natives and others in America. For the former, nature is the cradle that supports, sustains and nurtures life. The individual’s relationship with nature is one of harmony, much like a mother-child relation. The concern, yet, is to benefit from the resources in the nature but without compromising on the principles of fairness and give-and-take. Understanding, mutual respect and reciprocation form the guiding values. The attitude does not hesitate to believe in, be aware of and acknowledge the existence of a ‘parallel plane’. That Silko entitled the book of her memoirs after a bluish green mineral – turquoise – is a statement that confirms her visualization of one such parallel plane. What if the turquoise conjures up images of lifeless things for you and me? For her, an arroyo means much more than a dry stream bed and those turquoise pieces symbolize ‘Star Beings’. Not only the turquoise, even animals, birds, reptiles, vegetables, plants and their seeds are among the things that constitute this ‘Star’ family. It is interesting to recall here that one of the principal objectives of Silky’s decision to be a writer is to perpetuate justice without having to take on the mantle of a lawyer. For the latter, the world is a huge reserve for the humankind and nature is a repertoire that exists only to cater to its needs. The orientation of the relationship is more like the one between a master and his slave. The concern is to exploit, to the fullest possible extent, in the shortest possible span of time. Greed, control and domination are the core values to
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“Native American Culture Research Paper Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/english/1471140-native-american-culture.
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