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Sun Chief: The Autobiography of a Hopi Indian (Yale Western Americana Paperbounds Serie)

ISBN: 0300002270

Language: English

Publisher: Yale University Press

Lowest Price: $3.68

Sun Chief: The Autobiography of a Hopi Indian (Yale Western Americana Paperbounds Serie)


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The story of Don C. Talayesva, the Sun Chief, who was born and reared until the age of ten as a Hopi Indian, and then trained as a white man until he was twenty. Although torn between two worlds and cultures, he returned to Hopiland and readopted all the tribal customs. This is his autobiography, written for Leo Simmons, a white man who was a clan brother.

Customer Reviews of Sun Chief: The Autobiography of a Hopi Indian (Yale Western Americana Paperbounds Serie)

Excellent view of Hopi lifestyles in transition

It's a little ironic that they listed the "author" of the book as Leo W. Simmons when this is actually an autobiography of Don Talayesva. Nonetheless, it's an excellent account of the life of a Hopi man during a time of great change. Talayesva was born in 1890 and the book covers his life up to 1940. This was a period of great change for the Hopi in the pueblo of Oraibi. Talayesva lived through the great social conflict that caused the split of the village and the aftermath of that split, as the traditional ways at Oraibi were steadily eroded by the white Christian government, settlers, tourists, and missionaries.
Talayesva's account of his life is an important and lasting record of the hard life of the traditional Hopi people. Unfortunately, nobody has taken the time to complete the account of Talayesva's life and I was left with a sense that the story is unresolved. Surely, he had another 10 to 40 years of life left after the end of the book, but that isn't covered here.

Insight into turn-of-the-century Hopi

I enjoyed this book so much that I finished it in a couple of days. In my opinion, Don Talayesva is a charming narrator. His sometimes humorous, many times heart-breaking recollections underscores the tremendous cultural, social and religious upheavals the Hopi tribe were going through at the beginning of the 20th century, as no anthropological or historical work could ever do.

One of the 2 best books ever written

Reading is the most boring human activity there is... unless it comes to reading certain books, those actually being the only objects that should be called "books"as opposed to the rest which are just printed paper sheets. Writing a real "book" takes the best there is in humankind and the authors were lucky enough to have it all during the writting of this book.

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