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GRANDFATHER'S SONG, by Jake George
Jake George has given us a work about Lenape people which purports to be based, in part, on 'ancient Lenape tribal lore.' Unfortunately, there are almost no recognizable Lenape elements anywhere to be found in this book.
The Indian names of the months used are none of them Lenape--except that for December (which is probably only by coincidence).
The very sparse employment of the Lenape language is terribly flawed. The author writes, 'N'gsisak,' for 'my son.' No such word exists in Lenape. This should be 'gwitet.' He writes 'Ana,' for 'mother.' This is fine when a character is addressing his mother, but not when speaking *about* his mother. The author uses 'his Ana' and 'my Ana.' The correct forms are 'kohesa' and 'gahes,' respectively. George calls Bigfoot, a 'Xinkwelenowak' (literally, 'big men'), throughout the book. This is a plural form, not a singular. (Bigfoot has no place in Lenape lore or beliefs.
The 'spider sight' ('...through a thousand little prisms...' - p.2) is drawn from modern biological science--not from Indian ideas!
The author's exposition of Lenape beliefs about homosexuality (gays are 'healers' - p.14) is not a Lenape belief.
The Lenape of Pennsylvania, in 1702, had not employed the atlatl ('spear thrower') for hundreds of years, by that date, though the author has them using it (pp.22 & 23).
There were no moose in Pennsylvania, in 1702, and the Allentown, PA area is not in the natural range of the raven. Both appear there in this work. (pp.23 & 24).
The author states that the 'Sioux' are an 'Algonquin' people (p.41). They are not.
He thinks, for some reason, that the 'Unami' are native to southwestern Virginia (p.112). They are not. [I suppose he got this idea from the so-called 'Ani-Stohini Unami Nation,' which has a site on the internet but, that group has no discoverable ties to the Unami of the Lenape, whose traditional homeland is southern New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and northern Delaware.]
The author's misidentification of the honorific familial terms for various spirit-beings of the Lenape is telling. He calls the Great Spirit and Winter, 'grandfather (pp.164 & 108) and, the Earth he calls 'grandmother' (p.64) To the Lenape, the Great Spirit is 'father,' Winter is not accorded an honorific title, and the Earth is 'mother.'
Finally, the whole tale revolves around the magical powers of a few sacred tobacco pipes, which items are NOT a part of traditional Lenape culture and religion.
I'm not a literary critic, so I'll pass on commenting on whatever aesthetic worth this book may or may not have, as literature. For furthering the reader's understanding of the Lenape, it has no value.
LENAPE TEXTS & STUDIES
Last edited by sschkaak (Dec-24-2009 09:29:am)
I ought to be ashamed of myself for laughing. I don't know how I missed this book review, lol. Thank you, sschkaak! I don't know why some ppl were given a skate on some board . May I please repost this elsewhere? Well, this individual wasn't given a skate by you & one other person.
Anywhere except "americanindiantribe.net."
laughing, no, that isn't where
Alrighty, I captured it, thanks Ray!