Author Topic: [Mercy #6] River Marked Discussion  (Read 105330 times)

DarlingWolfEyes

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #180 on: April 06, 2011, 07:33:42 am »
A quick google search pertaining to coyote and his "berries"  LOL yielded this; Coyote and the Monster of Columbia, a story of the Klickitat tribe. I found it in Handbook of Native American Mythology by Dawn Elaine Bastian and Judy K. Mitchell. It's available on google books, for anyone who's interested. They are the western neighbours of the Yakama tribe in River Marked. However, I personally am not convinced that this really says anything about Mercy's tribe or genetic makeup. There are tons of other Coyote stories from all over America, and Mercy just happened to be at the site of this one.

When Mercy meets Coyote's sisters, and is speaking to one whose tribe she is, at first, unable to place, she goes on to say...

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I decided she was Hopi, and as I did so, her features changed just a little until there was no possibility of her being anything else.

What this might suggest, other than that reality is subjective, I have no idea.

It's this passage that makes me believe that, genetically at least, she must be descended from a particular tribe--it just doesn't seem to matter to Coyote or his sisters. Coyote is talking here about Mercy's heroic tendencies:

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“Maybe that’s where you get it. I always assumed it was just too much Star Wars, but maybe it was genetic.” After a moment’s thought, he shook his head. “No. I know where his genes came from. I think it must have been Star Wars.”

So Coyote knows, but doesn't feel it's important to tell her. Additionally, it doesn't sound like Joe's genetic source was anything like him or Mercy.
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Avarel

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #181 on: April 06, 2011, 07:51:09 pm »
I haven't gotten on to give my 2 cents worth yet.

I loved the book! (I always do)

I went to the Portland OR signing and Patty explained the naughty version of the berries.  :-[

Edit: It is really more potty humor than naughty.

Patti L.

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #182 on: April 06, 2011, 07:58:29 pm »
So, "rude" but not... sexually naughty.  Not too much of a surprise.
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Avarel

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #183 on: April 06, 2011, 08:00:53 pm »
There are two versions of every story.
The version that the men tell the women and children.
The version the men tell each other when they sit around the fire and have man talk.

Think something that elementary and middle school boys would enjoy.

DarlingWolfEyes

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #184 on: April 07, 2011, 06:20:09 am »
Wasn't that story censored for a modern audience though? As opposed to Native American men censoring it for the sake of the women?

Oh, and you forgot the versions that women share with each other. You make it sound like all stories come from the mouths of men.
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DandelionWine

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #185 on: April 07, 2011, 11:05:52 am »
Totally agree with DarlingWolfEyes.  According to a Navajo woman I worked with, it wasn't so much censorship.... a story might be told amongst men a certain way, and amongst women another way, but generally, if a woman overheard the 'men's version' she pretended not to hear it, even if it was completely clear that she did.  She acted as if she didn't hear it, and the men acted the same way.  Then of course, she would go and tell her friends or female relations, and the story might be shared that way, or else, because most of the stories were told pretty often, everyone already knew both or several versions quite well.   Old time stories were told in however many versions with a little preamble about how the story was told to them, or where some version of a story came from.

Any censorship was only so the Anglo's didn't get all in a fuss about things.  It's not even (for the most part) anything secret... though there are things kept private.  It's just more of a sort of 'time and place' for everything.... and some stories are told at certain times, and generally only for the sharing of family and friend situations.

Not sure that made sense, I'm trying to get it right the way it was expressed to me. 
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Patti L.

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #186 on: April 07, 2011, 12:05:10 pm »
The version for the occasion makes sense to me.  In "Pawn of Prophecy", Belgarath tells the full story of the first great war with Torak in the version that is only told... it's either "before A king" or "before THE RIVAN king" one winter holiday, at the farm where the (unknown) Rivan king is being fostered. 
Or, in "Cordelia's Honor", the off planet woman has several moments of puzzlement about the details of sex & childbirth that are told/known among different groups.
One of my favorite moments from that book is when a political rival of her husband, trying to upset her & thus her husband, informs her that "He's bi-sexual, you know."
Now, any proper Vor woman would have been horrified by this and reacted just as he anticipated. 
She, coming from a much, much more sophisticated society, absently corrects him, "was bisexual, now he's monogamous."   A few seconds later, when his reaction of "I pulled the pin, why is Mr. Grenade not going off?" hits, she tells him, "Do you know why Admiral X died?  He tried to get between Aral and me.  Stay out of my way, Z."
(Too bad for him that he didn't listen... >D )

So, to get back more specifically on subject, yeah, the version first told to any child, the more "men and their testosterone poisoning" version(s), the women's versions, the "family" or "Guest" versions... yeah, I can see that.
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Kyria

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #187 on: April 07, 2011, 04:57:33 pm »
Having heard and told context-specific variations on many personal life stories, not to mention the kid-friendly versions of various ghost stories (Brotherling used to have a paralyzing fear of ghosts) as compared to the versions the kids tell each other, or the adult versions - yeah, that totally makes sense. 

Too bad the rude versions aren't a clue, then.  *sigh* There aren't nearly enough (innocent, fun) conspiracies in the world to amuse me...

Tybaltlovetoby5

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #188 on: April 28, 2011, 07:53:37 pm »
I think that the point was pretty much exactly what Kyria said. 

I got the impression that Coyote found it mildly amusing that Mercy found it necessary to label herself as this tribe or that.  Coyote himself doesn't belong to any particular tribe, so I don't think Joe probably saw himself as belonging to a particular tribe, either, although his genetic material may have been from one particular tribe. 

Coyote, whether on his own or in the avatar he chose/created, doesn't belong to any one particular tribe.  I suspect Mercy doesn't, either.

hey everyone new person here.
I have to agree. Mercy and Coyote doesn't belong to any tribe. Coyote  loves to be criptic.  LOL

Yidenia

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #189 on: May 04, 2011, 07:13:22 pm »
I love the books, but I find it odd that Coyote just branches out to all Native Americans, to be honest. What are coyotes doing with the Inuits, after all? Why would Coyote have an Inuit sister? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I can't claim to know much about Native Americans, but I always had the impression that Native Americans are just grouped by modern society into one whole group when in fact they were originally very distinct from each other. They shared as many similarities as African ethnic groups or Asian ethnic groups, but that didn't mean they associated with each other or felt any sort of kinship back then—in fact, I'm pretty sure there were groups that were at odds all the time. I would expect in this case that Navajos would feel as distinct from Blackfeet as a French person would feel from a Felipino. Just because they shared looks and weren't separated by miles and miles of sea doesn't mean their cultures have anything to do with each other, so why would Coyote encompass so many different tribes? One tribe's Coyote wouldn't be the same as another's. It would make much more sense to me if there were many many different Coyotes, just as there are many many different fae, and Mercy's Coyote just happens to be the Coyote of Blackfoot lore.

Kyria

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #190 on: May 04, 2011, 07:22:33 pm »
I got the impression that "Coyote" was just a convenient name/persona for a more universal "trickster" deity (like "Old Man").  I don't know many Inuit legends, but my guess is that they probably have a trickster of some sort who fills Coyote's role.  And Coyote would probably appear to one of them as something else. 

Like I said, I haven't looked into the specifics here, but that's my guess.  Or "Inuit Woman" could really be more similar to Tlingit or Haida (I don't know if they have a Coyote, either.  I think Raven may fill that spot there.) but Mercy could simply not be as familiar with the northern tribes. 

As with European culture, I think Native American culture exists as more of a continuum overlain with tribal (national, in Europe) identities.  Very complex and hard to pick apart, whether you're within the system or an outside observer. 

Zealith

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #191 on: May 04, 2011, 07:23:38 pm »
Ah, but Coyote is the essence of what a coyote is, not necessarily the essance of what a specific group of people thinks the essence of a coyote should be.
Or maybe the Inuit sister is a hold over from when the first groups of native americans came to the United States.
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Patti L.

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #192 on: May 04, 2011, 07:36:40 pm »
Also, the animal coyote is found from east coast to west (I think... haven't actually heard of them east of the Plains states) and from at least Mexico possibly as far south as the southern tip of South America to pretty deeply into northern Canada, where, I agree, Raven or maybe Fox would take over the Trickster God role.  Just as most cultures in Africa, regardless of being Swahili, Ivory Coast, Arabic, etc. would have lion gods or architypes, because the creature is there.  Further, just because (at random, I don't know which tribes are close to each other geographically) Navajo and Hopi are not identical, and may raid or war with each other, it doesn't mean they don't talk too.  There are truces, there are escaped prisoners, there are intermarriages, there is trade.  The stories would change -- this has been discussed elsewhere -- from one telling to the next by the same person, depending on what's influencing him or her at the moment, but the essences of "trickster god" would still be there, with the easy acceptance that a person, let alone a god, could be human or animal shaped, just as they pleased.  Christ is Christ, whether you're Catholic, Lutheran, or Mormon, just seen somewhat differently from one group to the next.
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Yidenia

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #193 on: May 05, 2011, 05:10:00 am »
Sorry, I know I'm probably being difficult XD but I'm not convinced that Europe is a good example to compare the American peoples with. Europe and East Pacific Asia can both trace their cultures and languages to one origin; in Europe it's Roman, which can trace back to Greek, and in East Pacific Asia it's China. Further, in Europe Christianity was a uniting religion that had a single origin; the many factions branched out from that origin because they disagreed with the interpretation, but I think it's safe to say that they all came from the same place. In addition, Europe had a specific political history, where the different countries were really just separated by map borders, and in many cases even language wasn't specific to an area; up till recently most French people didn't even speak French, for example, and in many cases everyone had to learn multiple languages, not just their own. Because of this, Europe didn't really have the kind of national identities they have now—nationalism was brought on only around the 20th century, while before this everyone just kind of lived where their homes were. Most white people have an ancestry that includes many different nationalities—German, British, French, Russian, Italian, Icelandic, when even in Asia, Chinese people trace back only to Chinese ancestors, Japanese to Japanese, Koreans to Koreans, Mongolians to Mongolians—the kind of free interbreeding we see in white people is, I think, a special case specific for Europe, at least in the past. That's why during the age of imperialism, when Europeans just divided the African colonies into arbitrary sections, it was so disastrous because it didn't take into account the native people's cultural impacts, but the Europeans (in addition to just being jerks back then) didn't think this was a huge issue because it was essentially how their own countries were divided themselves.

I don't know if Native Americans ever united their religion the way Europeans did under Christianity—not until the Europeans came, and I don't see how they could even if they associated with their neighbors because America's a pretty large landscape, and considering geographical boundaries, certain sections had to have been isolated from others. Even if they did, that doesn't mean they consider their cultures to be interdependent, just as Europe and India had been linked by trade and I don't think you can get much more different than between Europe and India. Native Americans all have Coyote stories or some Trickster equivalent, and I understand that Coyote in Mercy's story was supposed to just embody the Trickster, but if we look at an age before Christian Europe, Greco-Roman gods also had their equivalents in Egyptian gods. They're hardly separated at all back then—we all know the story of Cleopatra and her Roman lovers. However, when people talk about Greek gods and Roman gods (who were, admittedly, considered the same) they're always distinct from Egyptian gods, despite having blatant similarities. In fact, certain gods were sort of plagiarized from the other culture and vice versa, but the two pantheons remained separate even so, at least to arts and literature. I just feel that Native American cultures would also carry this sort of distinctiveness, and grouping them all together is a result of a European mindset and current political outlines. People in America (like Sarah Palin) think Africa is a country because of this, and a similar mindset is applied to the native Americans because everyone falls back on Europe as a model. Making Coyote encompass all the tribes makes me as a reader group all the Native Americans into a single entity, which seems to me to be too much of a generalization.

Granted, I can see Coyote as an entity that is independent of the people and more the manifestation of the actual coyotes which happen to encompass the American continent and happened to say hello to all the tribes who lived there. It would certainly make sense then that he doesn't consider himself part of any tribe, and has sisters that came from different tribes he'd encountered. Still doesn't really explain the Inuit sister though; even if Inuits had a trickster equivalent, I don't think it's quite fair to use Coyote to represent it. Not that I really minded; the sisters' tribal origins didn't really manifest themselves much in the book, and I'm aware I'm likely being nit-picky or just downright retarded XD

DandelionWine

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Re: River Marked Discussion
« Reply #194 on: May 05, 2011, 06:46:44 am »
I disagree quite a bit with a lot of what you say Yinedia.  The old world gods had a lot of parallels from one culture to another, exactly as the new world ones did/do.  Parallels, not exact replication, and yes, Raven filled a lot of the trickster roles in Eskimo and Inuit Cultures, and when an Inuit or Eskimo, Tlingit or Athabaskan, Haida and many others from the far north hear Coyote stories, they are able to relate to them because of those similarities.  Trade goods from the Plains Indians have been found very far north, so I think it's safe to say that the stories of the Plains Peoples are just as likely to have traveled centuries ago.

Those stories are a uniting influence amongst them, we Euro descendants didn't much 'get' the differences in the tribes a century or so ago, but now I fear we aren't seeing all the similarities.  Some tribes did have a lot of enmity between them, but mostly it was a flexible thing between most tribes.  Squabbles and raiding were common, but there were times of trading and such too.   

I'm also not familiar with 'trickster' stories from eastern tribes, but there were (and ARE) actual coyotes (the canid I mean) across the continent, so I wouldn't rule it out.  I viewed Coyote's sisters in this case as being allegorical, meant to show both the differences and the similarities of all the American Native peoples.  Mercy has been searching out her personal roots and history lately, and it seemed natural to me that she be reminded of various tribal histories as well...  just my two coppers.
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