12th out of 62 books — 4 voters
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Preview — In the Land of the Grasshopper Song by Mary Ellicott Arnold
In the Land of the Grasshopper Song: Two Women in the Klamath River Indian Country in 1908-09
In 1908 two young women—the authors of this book—accepted Indian Service appointments as field matrons for the Karok Indians in the Klamath and Salmon River country of northern California. Although the area had been the scene of a gold rush some fifty years earlier, they write in the foreword, "the social life of the Indian—what he believed and the way he felt about things...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published November 1st 1980 by Bison Books
(first published November 30th 1956)
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335th out of 518 books — 570 voters
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To start it was mostly a crazy notion sparked by the improper desires of two proper white women craving adventure and freedom.
A Mr. Kelsey was staying with Cousin Annie at the time we were there. We learned he was Special Agent for all Indians in California, and we told him we should like to see what a really rough country was like. Mr. Kelsey looked at our pleated skirts, seven yards around the bottom, and down to within an inch of the floor, and his eye hardened....more
“Shall I send you to the rough
Interesting, if you love getting inside the head of white people blindly fucking shit up for Indians. Oh, you don't like that? Me neither. I also don't like boring things that are not just boring but take interesting situations and make them boring (polygamy! rooms full of eels! all delivered SO INANELY). I gave this 150 pages. It's non-fiction, and a diary account, so superficially it doesn't have the pressure to be rocking and rollicking, but it was pretty gross to be inside the daily head of...more
As interesting for what is not said as for what is said. Going in to this book, I had some expectations. I figured there may be a turning point when the writers, who went to "Indian Country" to educate and civilize, become educated themselves. But this book reads more like a meandering post-experience journal, partially written years after the fact. There's no plot structure to speak of, just a roughly chronological account. It doesn't attempt to put their visit in historical context, or thoroug...more
I began this book after having just finished reading another story about a guy who becomes a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakstan for two years. After having finished this book I realized that the two stories had a lot in common, namely, the experience of people taken out of their own culture and dropped into another. What I love about 'In the Land of the Grasshopper Song' is that the cultural exchange that is being written about took place in (more or less) my own back yard: The American West.
I think living in the area they are telling about made this book far more interesting to me. I can see how it may have been hard to get into it if you weren't familiar with the area. It felt more like a report than a book in the ways it described a lot of the culture and events. I would have loved a little more elaborate details but the story did do a good job of creating an image of what life would have been like in the early years. Made me thankful I came along a hundred years later to enjoy t...more
I think the most interesting part of this story is likely what is not written... what motivated two young women to venture out into Indian country in 1908 in the first place? What were their lives like before this adventure? What kind of personalities did they have that made them brave enough to ford rushing rivers, cross suspended swing bridges on mules, etc... Because this is a journal, we're left at the mercy of the writer, who wasn't an exceptional storyteller. So this is more of an account...more
I borrowed this book from a friend in New Mexico who also loves Humboldt County, California. Set in Happy Camp and surrounding areas in the Trinity Alps, it is an astonishing look at Kurok life from two pioneer women who are basically adopted by the native families. Like Mary Kelley's captivity narrative, it is set from the Anglo perspective, but this is the first book I've read that is pretty much in total sympathy with indigineous world-views. It's awesome!!!
Two white women, looking for adventure or at least something different, become matrons in the Indian service and travel to the Klamath River country to work with the Yurok people. They--the women--learned quite a lot, and their account, written several decades later with some sensitivity and a good sense of humor, is surprisingly absorbing.