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Oneida Iroquois, Folklore, Myth, and History: New York Oral Narrative from the Notes of H.E. Allen and Others

Overview

"Anthony Wonderley sheds light on a rich yet nearly forgotten body of Native American literature. He explores uniquely Iroquois components in Oneida oral narrative as it existed in the early twentieth century. Drawn largely from journals by non-Indian scholar Hope Emily Allen, the book includes newly discovered field notes - documents of an oral tradition no longer extant - and opens a door on the golden age of Iroquois folklore (ca. 1880-1925). "What Allen was able to document around 1920 was normally hidden from white eyes," writes Wonderley.
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Overview

"Anthony Wonderley sheds light on a rich yet nearly forgotten body of Native American literature. He explores uniquely Iroquois components in Oneida oral narrative as it existed in the early twentieth century. Drawn largely from journals by non-Indian scholar Hope Emily Allen, the book includes newly discovered field notes - documents of an oral tradition no longer extant - and opens a door on the golden age of Iroquois folklore (ca. 1880-1925). "What Allen was able to document around 1920 was normally hidden from white eyes," writes Wonderley. The fact that Oneida informants opened up to Allen at all was a unique occurrence and one only briefly possible." "Wonderley's work spans nearly four centuries of Iroquois narrative art, emphasizing how folklore and myth can respond to historical circumstances at the same time that mythic thinking shapes perception of the past. Even as he examines time-honored themes and stories, Wonderley breaks new ground exploring links among legend, history, and everyday life. He questions how oral traditions are born and develop. Comparing traditional tales from various times and native cultures, including two previously unpublished versions of the Iroquois creation myth, Wonderley documents substantial continuity in Iroquois mythic traditions through the centuries. Finally, he explores links between Oneida folklore and material culture in discussions of craftworks and archaeological artifacts of cultural and symbolic importance. He aims to convey something of the experience, life, and spirit of the People of the Standing Stone. Their story is an extraordinary one of endurance and adaptability, an American tragedy and an American success." The first major study of Oneida folklore in nearly one hundred years, this book will appeal to scholars in a wide range of professional disciplines - from anthropology, history, and folklore to religion and Native American studies - as well as to the general reader interested in Native American be
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815608301
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors Ser.
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction xiii
1 A People Undone 1
2 Where the Earth Opened 32
Sidebar: The Oneida Longhouse 53
3 The Creation 57
Sidebar: Twins in Oneida Art 84
4 Old Ones of the Forest 87
Sidebar: Human Figures on Oneida Pottery 107
5 Thunders 112
Sidebar: Dan Webster's Wampum String 133
6 Something New and Some Things Very Old 138
Sidebar: Reified Narrative? 156
7 The Fabric of Daily Life 161
Sidebar: Oneida Basket Making 188
8 A People Resurgent 192
Epilogue: Studying Iroquois Folklore 221
References 233
Index 255
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