Arapaho Stories, Songs and Prayers: A Bilingual Anthology (Paperback)
A bison and a bobtailed horse race across the sky, raising a trail of dust behind them--leaving in their wake the Milky Way to forever mark their path. An unknown Arapaho teller shared this account with an ethnographer in 1893, explaining that the race determined which animal would be ridden, which would be food. Traditional American Indian oral narratives, ranging from origin stories to trickster tales and prayers, constitute part of the great heritage of each tribe. Many of these narratives, gathered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, were obtained or published only in English translation. Although this is the case with many Arapaho stories, extensive Arapaho-language texts exist that have never before been published--until now. Arapaho Stories, Songs, and Prayers gives new life to these manuscripts, celebrating Arapaho oral narrative traditions in all the richness of their original language.
Working with Alonzo Moss, Sr., and William J. C'Hair, two fluent native speakers of Arapaho, Andrew Cowell retranscribes these texts--collected between the early 1880s and the late 1920s--into modern Arapaho orthography, and retranslates and annotates them in English. Masterpieces of oral literature, these texts include creation accounts, stories about the Arapaho trickster character Nih'oo3oo, animal tales, anecdotes, songs, prayers, and ceremonial speeches. In addition to a general introduction, the editors offer linguistic, stylistic, thematic, and cultural commentary and context for each of the texts.
More than any other work, this book affords new insights into Arapaho language and culture. It expands the Arapaho lexicon, discusses Arapaho values and ethos, and offers a uniquely informed perspective on Arapaho storytelling. An unparalleled work of recovery and preservation, it will at once become the reference guide to the Arapaho language and its texts.