The 25th-anniversary edition of "a novel that in the sweep and inevitability of its events...is a major contribution to Native American literature." (Wallace Stegner)
In the Two Medicine Territory of Montana, the Lone Eaters, a small band of Blackfeet Indians, are living their immemorial life. The men hunt and mount the occasional horse-taking raid or war party against the enemy Crow. The women tan the hides, sew the beadwork, and raise the children. But the year is 1870, and the whites are moving into their land. Fools Crow, a young warrior and medicine man, has seen the future and knows that the newcomers will punish resistance with swift retribution. First published to broad acclaim in 1986, Fools Crow is James Welch's stunningly evocative portrait of his people's bygone way of life.
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Suspenseful and moving, written with an authenticity and integrity that give it sweeping power, Welch's third novel (The Death of Jim Loney is a masterful evocation of a Native American culture and its passing. From their lodges on the endless Montana plains, the members of the Lone Eaters band of the Pikuni (Blackfeet) Indians live in harmony with nature, hunting the "blackhorns'' (buffalo), observing a complex system of political administration based on mutual respect and handing down legends that explain the natural world and govern daily conduct. The young protagonist is first called White Man's Dog, but earns the respected name Fools Crow for meritorious conduct in battle. Through his eyes we watch the escalating tensions between the Pikunis and the white men (``the Napikwans''), who deliberately violate treaties and initiate hostilities with the hard-pressed red men. At the same time, the feared ``white scabs plague'' (smallpox) decimates the Lone Eaters communities, and they realize that their days are numbered. There is much to savor in this remarkable book: the ease with which Fools Crow and his brethren converse with animals and spirits, the importance of dreams in their daily lives, the customs and ceremonies that measure the natural seasons and a person's lifespan. Without violating the patterns of Native American speech, Welsh writes in prose that surges and sings. This bittersweet story is an outstanding work. Illustrated. 25,000 first printing; major ad/promo.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is a powerful book that's shows the transformation of a young member of the Blackfeet tribe, as there world changes rapidly against their will. It is well worth the read and you will definitely respect the the strength of the characters.
Powerful, poignant and gripping
This is an excellent book that seems to provide a sensitive and insightful peek into the lives of these people who faced the coming of the white men. Such a sad story. Such interesting people and times. I heartily recommend this book.