November, 2014

Natives

Posted on November 1, 2014 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off

November is Native American Heritage Month, so why not delve into human heritage of cultures from all over the world with 10 gems from our catalog.

Let’s start at the beginning of Western civilisation. Troy has fallen, its men are dead, and even the noblest of The Trojan Women will have to spend the rest of their lives in slavery. Hear their plight in the ancient drama by Euripides.

A similar story, but from the victor’s viewpoint, is chronicled by Frederick A. Ober. His biography Francisco Pizarro and the Conquest of Peru tells how it took only 168 Spanish men to destroy the great kingdom of the Inca.

Less violent, but equally destructive was the meeting between the beautiful Indian Iracema, the Honey Lips and the Spaniard Martim in the Brazilian forest. Had she not saved his life, not fallen in love with him, maybe there had been a happy ending in José de Alencar’s novel?

Many meetings between whites and natives of other races ended with the natives being forced to adapt to a new life. In The Indian To-day, Ohiyesa presents the 1915 status of the American Natives, and talks about their past and future and what he sees as the Indian’s gift to the nation.

Charles Godfrey Leland went to the North American East Coast and there collected The Algonquin Legends of New England. The book contains more than 70 stories of the tribes called Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot.

These stories always have a strong environment-dependent character, but very often the morals behind them are the same. Compare the above to our 30 Australian Legendary Tales compiled by K. Langloh Parker from the stories of the Noongahburrah aborigines.

The Folklore of the Santal Parganas, an Indian district about 150 miles northwest of Kolkata, collects legends and stories about different aspects of life, infused with a lot of Eastern Wisdom as it is found in India.

While Isabella L. Bird was not in search for such wisdom, her time Among the Tibetans in 1890 – as one of the first Westerners – gives an insight into the daily lives and customs of a people that is still relatively unknown today.

Equally unknown at that time was the then called Hermit Kingdom. Henry Lee Mitchell Pike’s book tries to raise children’s interest for the lives of other people and does so by having them spend time with Our Little Korean Cousin.

Let’s close our tour by returning to the start of Western civilisation. Ovid describes in his poem The Fasti the numerous holidays and thus connected customs of the Romans. Unfortunately he could not finish the work, but at least the first 6 months have been handed down to us.

Enjoy – and celebrate your heritage!

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