Where the Lightning Strikes: The Lives of American Indian Sacred Places

Where the Lightning Strikes: The Lives of American Indian Sacred Places

by Peter Nabokov
     
 

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From the author of How the World Moves: A revelatory new look at the hallowed, diverse, and threatened landscapes of the American Indian

For thousands of years , Native Americans have told stories about the powers of revered landscapes and sought spiritual direction at mysterious places in their homelands. In this important book, respected

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Overview

From the author of How the World Moves: A revelatory new look at the hallowed, diverse, and threatened landscapes of the American Indian

For thousands of years , Native Americans have told stories about the powers of revered landscapes and sought spiritual direction at mysterious places in their homelands. In this important book, respected scholar and anthropologist Peter Nabokov writes of a wide range of sacred places in Native America. From the “high country” of California to Tennessee’s Tellico Valley, from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Rainbow Canyon in Arizona, each chapter delves into the relationship between Indian cultures and their environments and describes the myths and legends, practices, and rituals that sustained them.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Inspired and highly informative . . . those wishing to understand the embattled Indian religion, and its profound relationship to the earth, won’t find a better guide than Nabokov. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Publishers Weekly
According to UCLA professor Nabokov (Native American Testimony), the places that American Indians call sacred may be as wondrous as "cliffs spilling with waterfalls" and as humble as "caves splattered with bat excrement." What makes them important is not postcard-perfect beauty but the beliefs a group has about "what lies within or beneath what the eye can see." This excellent volume presents the "biographies" of 16 such places, from Maine to California. Through them, Nabokov surveys a wide range of Native American spiritual practices and reveals how intrusions into Native Americans' land have also constituted assaults upon their religious beliefs. Indeed, many of the assaults continue to this day: after the disruptions caused by war, disease, missionary activity and forced relocation came those of hydroelectric dams, agribusiness, parking lots and extreme sports buffs. Nabokov's deeply informed text is enhanced by first-person accounts of his visits to the locations and by his spirited commentary on the writings of other ethnographers, naturalists, linguists and anthropologists. Sentimental cliches and monolithic views are dismantled along the way. Each of Nabokov's biographies can be savored separately; taken together, they demonstrate both that there is "more to some American places than [meets] the eye" and that Native Americans have known that for a very long time. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
What makes a location sacred to a particular group of people? Nabokov (American Indian studies, World Arts and Cultures, UCLA; A Forest of Time: American Indian Ways of History) probes the depths of this question in his sensitive examination of the relationship between Native American spirituality and physical geography. Nabokov provides profiles of 16 distinct American Indian holy places in different areas of the United States. His skilled narrative explores the wide diversity of Native American beliefs concerning the earth, the land, and special locations in each unique environment. The profiles are grouped into four sections, each of which has as its theme a relatively recent United States court case in which American Indian rights to certain sacred places were removed or limited. Some of these cases involved the construction of dams that completely destroyed important Native American sacred sites. Nabokov does a masterly job of exploring the numinous balance between the American Indian sense of place and sense of the sacred while being careful not to intrude upon aspects of Native American spirituality that should remain private. His work is thought-provoking, poignant, and evocative. Highly recommended for anthropology and American Indian studies collections in academic and large public libraries.-Elizabeth Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143038818
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/27/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
411,274
Product dimensions:
5.62(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.81(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Inspired and highly informative . . . those wishing to understand the embattled Indian religion, and its profound relationship to the earth, won’t find a better guide than Nabokov. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Meet the Author

Peter Nabokov is professor of American Indian Studies and World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. His previous books include A Forest of Time, Native American Testimony, Native American Architecture (with Robert Easton), Indian Running, Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior, and Architecture of Acoma Pueblo.

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