By Keith H. Basso
This outstanding booklet introduces us to 4 unforgettable Apache humans, every one of whom deals a distinct tackle the importance of areas of their tradition. Apache conceptions of knowledge, manners and morals, and in their personal background are inextricably intertwined with position, and by means of permitting us to overhear his conversations with Apaches on those topics Basso expands our know-how of what position can suggest to people.
Most folks use the time period sense of place frequently and quite carelessly after we give some thought to nature or domestic or literature. Our senses of position, notwithstanding, come not just from our person reports but in addition from our cultures. Wisdom Sits in Places, the 1st sustained examine of locations and place-names by way of an anthropologist, explores position, areas, and what they suggest to a selected crew of individuals, the Western Apache in Arizona. For greater than thirty years, Keith Basso has been doing fieldwork one of the Western Apache, and now he stocks with us what he has realized of Apache place-names—where they arrive from and what they suggest to Apaches.
"This is certainly an excellent exposition of panorama and language on the planet of the Western Apache. however it is greater than that. Keith Basso supplies us to appreciate whatever in regards to the sacred and indivisible nature of phrases and position. And it is a common equation, a stability within the universe. position could be the to begin with innovations; it can be the oldest of all words."—N. Scott Momaday
"In Wisdom Sits in Places Keith Basso lifts a veil at the such a lot elemental poetry of human event, that's the naming of the area. In so doing he invests his scholarship with that rarest of scholarly traits: a feeling of religious exploration. via his transparent eyes we glimpse the spirit of a notable humans and their land, and after we glance away, we see our personal global afresh."—William deBuys
"A very interesting book—authoritative, absolutely educated, super considerate, and likewise engagingly written and a pleasure to learn. Guiding us vividly one of the landscapes and comparable story-tellings of the Western Apache, Basso explores in a hugely readable method the position of language within the advanced yet compelling topic of a people's attachment to put. a major booklet by way of an eminent scholar."—Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.
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Additional info for Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache
Placenames are used in all forms of Apache storytelling as situating devices, as conventionalized verbal instruments for locating narrated events at and in the physical settings where the events occurred. Thus, instead of describing these settings discursively, an Apache storyteller can simply employ their names, and Apache listeners, whether they have visited the sites or not, are able to imagine in some detail how they might appear. In this way, to borrow Hoijer's felicitous phrase, narrated events are "spatially anchored" at points on the land, and the evocative pictures presented by Western Apache placenames become indispensable resources for the storyteller's craft. four "All These Places Have Stories" When I return to Cibecue in the spring of 1981, Nick Thompson is recovering from a bad case of the flu. He is weak, despondent, and uncomfortable. We speak very little and make no mention of placenames. His wife is worried about him and so am I. Within a week, however, Nick's eldest son comes to my camp with a message: I am to visit his father and bring with me two packs of Salem cigarettes and a dozen chocolatecovered doughnuts. This is good news. When I arrive at the old man's camp, he is sitting under the cottonwood tree by his house. A blanket is draped across his knees and he is wearing a heavy plaid jacket and a red vinyl cap with white furlined earflaps. There is color in his cheeks and the sparkle is back in his eyes. Shortly after we start to converse, and apropos of nothing I can discern, Nick announces that in 1931 he had sexual intercourse eight Page 48 times in one night. He wants to know if I have ever been so fortunate. His wife, who has brought us each a cup of coffee, hears this remark and tells him he is a crazy old man. Nick laughs loudly. Plainly, he is feeling better. Eventually, I ask Nick if he is ready to resume our work together. "Yes," he says, "but no more on names. " What then? "Stories," is his reply. "All these places have tales. We shoot each other with them, like arrows. Come back tomorrow morning. " Puzzled once again, but suspecting that the old man has a plan he wants to follow, I tell him I will return. We then discuss Nick's wages. He insists that I pay him more than I did the year before as it is necessary to keep up with inflation. I agree and we settle on a larger sum. Then comes the predictable farewell joke: a fine piece of nonsense in which Nick, speaking English and imitating certain mannerisms he has come to associate with Anglo physicians, diagnoses my badly sunburned nose as an advanced case of venereal disease. five This time it is Nick's wife who laughs loudest. The next day Nick begins to instruct me on aspects of Western Apache storytelling. Consulting on a regular basis with other Apaches from Cibecue as well, I pursue this topic throughout the summer. Historical Tales If placenames appear frequently in ordinary forms of Western Apache discourse, their use is equally conspicuous in oral narratives. It is there, in conjunction with stories Apaches tell, that we can move closer to an interpretation of native claims about the symbolic importance of geographical features and the personalized relationships that individuals may have with them.