Drawing on oral narratives, fur traders' journals, trial records, missionary accounts, and anthropologists’ field notes, this book is a revealing glimpse into indigenous beliefs, cross-cultural communication, and embryonic colonial relationships. It also ponders the recent resurgence of the windigo in popular culture and its changing meaning in a modern context.
Shawn Smallmanis a professor of International Studies at Portland State University. He received his PhD in history from Yale University and is the author of three critically acclaimed academic books, Fear and Memory in the Brazilian Army and Society, The AIDS Pandemic in Latin America, and (with Kim Brown) An Introduction to International and Global Studies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
The Zuni society existed for centuries before there was a United States, and it still exists in its desert pueblo in what is now New Mexico. In the late nineteenth century, anthropologists-among the first in this new discipline-came to Zuni to study it and, they believed, to salvage what they could of its tangible culture before it was destroyed, which they were sure would happen. Matilda Stevenson, Frank Hamilton Cushing, and Stewart Culin were the three most important of these early students of Zuni, and although modern anthropologists often disparage and ignore their work-sometimes for good, sometimes for poor reasons-these pioneers gave us an idea of the power and significance of Zuni life that has endured into our time. They did not expect the Zuni themselves to endure, but they have, and the complex relation between the Zuni as they were and are and the Zuni as imagined by these three Easterners is at the heart of Eliza McFeely's important new book.
Stevenson, Cushing, and Culin are themselves remarkable subjects, not just as anthropology's earliest pioneers but as striking personalities in their own right, and McFeely gives ample consideration, in her colorful and absorbing study, to each of them. For different reasons, all three found professional and psychological satisfaction in leaving the East for the West, in submerging themselves in an alien and little-known world, and in bringing back to the nation's new museums and exhibit halls literally thousands of Zuni artifacts. Their doctrines about social development, their notions of "salvage anthropology," their cultural biases and predispositions are now regarded with considerable skepticism, but nonetheless their work imprinted Zuni on the American imagination in ways we have yet to measure. It is the great merit of McFeely's fascinating work that she puts their intellectual and personal adventures into a just and measured perspective; she enlightens us about America, about Zuni, and about how we understand each other.
When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill.
As the passengers stepped from the airplanes, exhausted, hungry and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours while security checked all of the baggage, they were greeted with a feast prepared by the townspeople. Local bus drivers who had been on strike came off the picket lines to transport the passengers to the various shelters set up in local schools and churches. Linens and toiletries were bought and donated. A middle school provided showers, as well as access to computers, email, and televisions, allowing the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.
Over the course of those four days, many of the passengers developed friendships with Gander residents that they expect to last a lifetime. As a show of thanks, scholarship funds for the children of Gander have been formed and donations have been made to provide new computers for the schools. This book recounts the inspiring story of the residents of Gander, Canada, whose acts of kindness have touched the lives of thousands of people and been an example of humanity and goodwill.