"We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills and the winding strams with tangled growth, as 'wild. Only to the white man was nature a 'wilderness' and only to him was the land 'infested' with 'wild' animals and 'savage' people. To us it was tame. Earth was boutiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and with brutal frenzy heaped injustices upon us and the families we loved was it 'wild' for us, it was that for us the 'Wild West' began." TOUCH THE EARTH is a selection of statements and writings by North American Indians, chosen to illuminate the course of Indian history and the abiding values of Indian life. Together they recount the pain of the Indian as he watched the white man kill the wild herbs and overrun the sacred lands of his ancestors. Mystified at first by the white man's ways, the Indian tone guves way first to anger, then desperation and, finally hopelessness. More than 50 pages of photographs, taken by the American photographer Edward S. Curtis in the early years of this century, complement the text.
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(205mm x 170mm x 14mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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US Kirkus Review »
Reverence for the land, "kinship with all creatures of earth, sky and water," laments for the loss of hunting grounds and the desecrated graves of ancestors: Marshall McLuhan's daughter has edited this elegant, slim anthology of Indian testaments, polemics, prayers, and benedictions set off by the eloquent photographs of Edward Curtis. The words of Crazy Horse, Black Elk, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, and a score of others affirm the Indians as the original ecologists sharing, no matter the tribe, a vision of the land as a nourishing, fertile treasure store. ("Only to the white man was nature. . . 'infested' with 'wild animals' and 'savage' people. . . To us it was tame.") The Indians' personal pain at the despoliation of the land - "everywhere the White man has touched it, it is sore" - is expressed in stark, lyrical cadence. There is no original research here and many of the selections are readily obtainable elsewhere, but this is a modest, restrained and tastefully packaged gathering of fugitive spirits. (Kirkus Reviews)
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