The Names: historical links

Momaday’s book is rich in historical detail. Though, as we learn from the example of Pohd-Lohk and his “calendar history’ of the Kiowa people, it is not conventional in its accounting of history. It is, yet again, a hybrid, a composite of what we might think of as a traditional (Western/white) perspective of history or autobiography and imagination, story, mythology, environment.

But there is history there–and it might help to browse/research some of it to ground yourself better in the reading. Here are some links you might begin with–using our contemporary version of Pohd-Lohk, also known as Wikipedia.

Kiowa

Devil’s Tower (rock tree)

Smallpox epidemic, 1837

Rainy Mountain

Navajo

Momaday

This historical grounding applies to Momaday’s text. But consider your own grounding as well, as you read. Can you imagine the history that your autobiographical piece will invoke or, as Pohd-Lohk puts it, picture? What will you need to research about your own life?

You might start (as we will in workshop) with genealogy–where Momaday begins as well. Note the implications in the word: race, generation.

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