Words on a Page: A Detailed Synopsis of James Welch’s Fools Crow
in James Welch's Fools Crow and Disney's The Lone Ranger From the beginning of June to the end of August , I worked as a receptionist in the dominant self and the subjugated other, reducing the relationship to. From Goebel, Bruce A. “Fools Crow and the Nineteenth Century Blackfeet” in Relationship of Blackfeet to buffalo began to change with advent of repeating rifle , . state of guilt, mourning, and hope that pervades the ending of Fools Crow. Published in , James Welch's historical novel, Fools Crow, Each night, the dream has ended as he moves toward the white-faced girl.
As a tribal society, the Pikuni tend to focus more on the community than on the individual; all decisions regarding the bands are made together, by the leaders of the group.
Characters succeed when they prioritize the well-being of the group and do not put themselves first. He achieves personal glory through his killing of Bull Shield but also succeeds in eliminating a powerful Pikuni enemy who maimed and humiliated his father-in-law.
Finally, he is chosen to go on a vision quest alone so that he can obtain the knowledge to help his people prepare for the horrors to come. Conversely, Owl Child and Fast Horse put their desire for glory and revenge above the needs of their community.
Even though Mountain Chief and Rides-at-the-door despise the Napikwans, they refuse to go to war with them because they know it will jeopardize the fate of their people. Other characters, like Running Fisher and Kills-close-to-the-lake, also become alienated from the society because their individual desires lead them to betray the values of their community.
The novel also implies that Napikwan society is focused more on the individual than on the community, since many of them live in isolation on large ranches and believe in owning land as individuals, rather than sharing it communally, as the Pikunis do. Like the heroes of many classic bildungsroman in the Western canon, Fools Crow goes on important journeys and faces trials, acquires an important mentor, finds a suitable marriage partner, and gradually realizes his potential as an individual and as a member of his community.
Trying to escape, Yellow Kidney is shot and captured by the Crow. They cut off his fingers, tie him to a horse, and send him out into a driving snowstorm. White Man's Dog returns to his tribe and gains respect for the raid. Feeling responsible for the loss of Yellow Kidney, he begins to provide the youth's family with food and supplies.
Yellow Kidney finally returns to camp and tells the story of Fast Horse's error. Shamed, Fast Horse leaves the tribe, joining Owl Child and his renegade band in killing the encroaching Napikwans white people.
He took part in the Sun Dance, a ritual physical trial. He sought purification from feeling sexual desire for his father's third wife, Kills-close-to-the-lake.
Fools Crow by James Welch
After a dream in which she left him a white stone the size of a finger, he awakens to find such a stone next to him. Toward the end of the Sun Dance, Kills-close-to-the-lake tells him she sacrificed her finger to purify herself from the same sexual desires.
This was inspired by a butterfly which Red Paint saw when she began to think she was pregnant.
After a raid on the Crow, White Man's Dog came home and was given a naming ceremony. He was in a drunken state however, and had told everyone that he had pretended to be dead and then killed and scalped Bull Shield. In reality however, he had passed out for only a few seconds which led Bull Shield to believe he was dead, but White Man's Dog reached for his gun and shot the Crow chief three times before he could be killed himself.
His stories were greatly exaggerated and that led to people thinking that he had used his "good medicine" to confuse the Crow, hence the name that he was given, "Fools Crow.
The Pikunis consider this to be heinous, as their culture works to keep balance and take no more than they need.
Fools Crow finds the Napikwan and attacks him; after a tough fight, Fools Crow kills his foe and suffers a spear wound. He takes a wolf's scalp from the Napikwan. He is recruited to take over the Dry Bones and learn the Beaver medicine.
Yellow Kidney decides to leave the tribe, feeling isolated by losing his fingers. While out alone, he decides to go back and name Red Paint's child as Yellow Calf. Raven knows the truth about his part in the battle with the Crows, and again Fools Crow feels ashamed.
Fools Crow resists, knowing the consequences of killing a white man, but Raven says he has been specially chosen by Sun Chief to do this. Raven goes to the Napikwan as he sleeps and causes him to dream of Red Paint. Using Red Paint as a trap, Fools Crow is able to kill the white man. On their return to their village, the chiefs hold a council.
Fools Crow tells them what has happened. Expecting retaliation, some chiefs urge the Pikunis to form a war party to drive the white men from their lands, but Rides-at-the-door makes an impassioned speech, knowing that their survival, and that of future generations of Pikunis, depends on making peace with the Napikwans.
Fast Horse returns, dressed in Napikwan clothing, having been shot and critically injured. When Fast Horse begins to recover, Boss Ribs welcomes his son back home and plans for him to learn about the Beaver Medicine bundle, inheriting his spiritual position within the community. Boss Ribs asks Fools Crow to go after his son and bring him back, and as he is trying to find him, Fools Crow discovers the ransacked house of a Napikwan homesteader family which Fast Horse and his party have raided. Yellow Kidney, not wanting to be a burden, leaves the Lone Eaters to go to the camp of the Spotted Horse people to die.
As he rests in a war lodge, Yellow Kidney is shot by a Napikwan, who is eager to kill an Indian in revenge for the settlers killed by Owl Child and Fast Horse.
Fools Crow - Wikipedia
Each night, after the attack, the boy dreams about the wolf. At first, the wolf attacks him again, but after Fools Crow assures him that the wolf is not his enemy, the dreams become less violent. On the eighth day, One Spot appears to be recovering from his wounds, but that evening he begins having symptoms of rabies.
After a visit from soldiers, looking for Owl Child, Rides-at-the-door accompanies a party of Pikuni and Kainah chiefs to meet with the Napikwans at the agency. He is disappointed by the small number of minor chiefs who have come, and believes that without a larger representation, and more major chiefs, this meeting will be fruitless. He gives the chiefs the conditions for peace: Though he believes these conditions will be impossible to deliver, Rides-at-the-door knows what is at stake if they do not comply.
They tell the Lone Eaters that an outbreak of smallpox is spreading among neighboring bands and Sturgis, whose Pikuni wife has recently died of the disease, warn the Lone Eaters that they must avoid contact with Napikwans and people from other villages. Fools Crow wonders if these men can be trusted and considers that Sturgis may actually have come to infect the Lone Eaters, rather than to save them. Mik-api, however, thinks the strangers should be trusted, as they have already suffered the loss of loved ones.
The Lone Eaters weigh up their options.
They do not want to be faced with shooting relatives who come to them for help, but neither do they want to become infected. They consider whether it would be better for them to travel across the Backbone, or go north across the Medicine Line to their relatives, the Siksikas. This meeting takes place after Rides-at-the-door has met with other Pikuni chiefs, to discuss the Napikwan demands. As the council weighs their options, Fools Crow enters a restless sleep.