After reading the book Grass Dancer, many different things can be learned from the Native American people throughout the book. It shows how unique of a people the numerous tribes in the book are, as for their beliefs and how they live among their reservations. Compared to the outside world, some may think of the Native American people as selfish Indians who only drink and gamble, but these are dismissed as stereotypes. For after reading the book Grass Dancer a new outlook can be developed upon natives.
By reading the Grass Dancer, we know Native Americans are a spiritually entwined people throughout their tribes by telling meaningful legends, how they connect with their ancestors, and how they respect those in the tribe. To begin with, we know Native Americans are spiritually entwined people through their tribes from their meaningful legends. In the book the Grass Dancer, we meet a very interesting character who represents numerous Native American beliefs, Mercury Thunder.
Mercury Thunder is considered an evil witch who uses “Dark Magic” to bind those she desires to her every will, which happened to many weak souls throughout the book. In contrary to Mercury, we learn of another powerful character that represents Native American beliefs, Ghost Horse. Ghost Horse is a rather majestic individual in a sense, that he is a character that has been visited to by the Thunder Birds in a dream, causing him to be heyo’ka. (Pg. 67, Paragraph 9, “This uncle of yours…”) which is a belief many Natives still believe in to this very day.
Another powerful legend in the Grass Dancer is that of Red Dress. Red Dress is an ancient ancestor of Mercury’s, who first discovered a frightening power to control people through twin stones she stumbled upon. However, this power backfired as she abused it and eventually lead to her death, which can be referred to as a legend to worn Natives that you can’t abuse power without consequences. In addition to my first point, Native Americans are also spiritually entwined through their tribes by connections with their ancestors.
Native Americans have a deep spiritual bond with the people that they are related to and those before them. This is represented in the Grass Dance perfectly through the Thunder family and Red Dress. Red Dress acquired a power that allowed her to in a way, bind people. Mercury later received this power through her bloodline being a descendant of Red Dress. Anyone of this descent can also be taught how to use these powers, assuming they want to. Another direct relationship with Native Americans and their ancestors in this book is the Wind soldiers, and Ghost Horse.
Ghost Horse is a distant relative of the Wind soldiers and is a good influence on them. Ghost Horse although some saw as a clown, was given a unique ability, which in Harley Wind Soldier’s eyes illustrated him as a warrior, directly changing his personality throughout the book. As stated on page 68 of the Grass Dancer, Harley started “…copying his ancestor’s contrary behavior. ” showing his influence upon the Wind Soldiers. Another ancestral connection is Harley and his warrior cousins who appear to him during his vision on horseback.
This imagery is used to show how great of importance family is throughout Native Americans everyday lives because his family is appearing to him to help guide him back onto the right path in his life. The warriors or cousins take Harley to meet numerous family members and Harley is definitely thrilled to spend some time with these family members. Furthermore to the discussion, Native Americans are again a spiritually entwined people throughout their tribes due to the respect they show for fellow tribe’s people. In the Grass Dancer, respect is shown on numerous occasions to different tribe’s people, such as Mercury Thunder.
Although many fear Mercury and her powers, Native Americans are a highly respectable people, demonstrated in the Grass Dancer by everyone greeting Mercury (Pg. 291 Paragraph 2, “…made sure to shake her grandmother’s hand…”). This proves how much of a respectful people Native Americans are to honor one who could so easily control them. In addition, another form of respect is shown in the book when a large amount of people came to attend Elk Nation’s funeral. Even though some of the Natives might not have known him very good or even at all, Natives from all over came to honor him by attending the funeral and ceremony to show their respect.
Also, another way respect is shown in the Grass Dancer is the many tribes’ people providing Red Dress and Long Chase with supplies on their journey to Fort Laramie. While briefly stopping at a village near the fort, Red Dress and Long Chase were given different gifts, as stated on page 252, “Gifts were pressed into our hands: pebbles, berries, a handful of earth beans and another parched corn. ” Native Americans would often show respect to travelling tribesmen by providing gifts and trading with them, this is accurately show in Grass Dancer from the gifts Red Dress and Long Chase received.
In Conclusion, Native Americans are an honorable people who we could learn much from. Including not only the way they act and treat others, but by how they value everything in their lives whether it be family, friends, or lifelong stories. Native Americans aren’t always accurately represented by some people who plague them with not necessarily true stereotypes. Overall, it can easily be seen from this evidence that Native Americans are entwined spiritually within their tribes through their meaningful legends, ancestral connection, and respect.