Inspired by Rip Van Winkle: Chogan, an Alogian Tale

Image result for algonquin tribe

http://www.native-languages.org/algonquian-legends.htm

Chogan was his name he was known for being part of the Tribe’s watchmen. Everyone did their part in unison as part of the gifts that mother nature had bestowed on them. Women and children equal to the men of the tribe because they depended on each other. Most men would go hunt for the days’ time or talk among other tribes for goods. Life was serene and peaceful. Nadie and Pules were the wives of chief elder Eluwilussit. During the gathering time, the children, men, women, and Chogan would listen to the tales of wise wives. They told of times where Nanabosho, a man friend to the rabbits, bravely fought off the evil water spirits and saved our tribes. Sometimes they would tell legends of the Pukudgies who in their mischief play tricks around the mountains.

 

The land was abundant and generous in its spirits. Birds chirped and the land was filled with trees, lakes, and animals. Sometimes Chogan would take the children with their small spears and teach them how to hunt. He would remind them of the paths to mark if should anyone get lost. All the kids were smiling and cheerful. Treading softly and cautiously sometimes they would come home will many fishes. All the kids would run back into their huts showing their parents their prize. Smiling Chogan would tread carefully into his own hut where his best friend lay, his animosh (dog), wolf. Wagging his tail wolf licked his face removing all sweat from his cheeks. Petting he set aside his satchel and breathed in. That day he had seen a herd of deer and wanted to hunt one for the whole tribe. However, the deer herd was by the Haunted Mountain where Pukwudgies, little forest people, tricksters who have misplaced some tribesmen.

 

Unable to contain his curiosity and excitement he set out to hunt them. Wolf followed him and he began to walk towards the familiar marked trees.

“Chogan where are you headed?” the voice said to him. Turning around he saw Wematin, child of Biwilka. The little child grinned with a one-toothed smile. His long black hair nearly covered his whole bare back. He had large round black eyes that were currently sparkling with curiosity. The most noticeable feature of Wematin was a scar on his left eyebrow he had gotten it from hunting a squirrel. Shaking his head from the memory. He addressed the following.

 

“First of all, you cannot come with me,” Chogan replied with a stern voice.

“Aww come on Cho—” his whining voice was cut off right before it woke up anyone else.

“Second of all, I will be going to the forbidden mountains.” He whispered. Wematin’s eye’s widened.

“But they are forbidden, why are you going over there?” He asked.

“I found a herd of deer,” he replied.

“Wow! That could feed everyone in the village!” he shouted happily.

“Shh!” retorted Chogan placing his hand on Wematin’s mouth.

“Okay I will wait right here okay?” whispered Wematin.

“Don’t tell anyone I want it to be a surprise.” Winked Chogan. He began treading up the mountain towards the place where he last saw the herd of deer. Soon enough he saw a bent figure.

“Who is there?” Chogan questioned as Wolf barked. The figure appeared before his eyes. It was an old man naked with warrior marked paint across his chest and cheeks.

“Come along boy,” the old man responded. Chogan stood up Wolf hiding behind him.

“Sorry I cannot you see I am—”

“Waiting for the herd of deer to pass by?” the old man cut him off.

“Yes,” Chogan replied surprised at the man’s intuition.

“They will come soon enough I just need to get back to my men but have trouble with my old bones,” The man responded. Nodding Chogan helped the old man to deeper into the mountains Meanwhile, Wolf treaded behind them whining under his breath.

Around a circle of rocks were other men wearing the same clothes and warrior pain across their chests and cheeks. They were signing and drinking from a small bottle.

“Come sit down, this young man helped me, so let’s celebrate,” the old man said addressing his fellow men. They all nodded and one of them passed Chogan the bottle. In this odd situation, Chogan decided to accommodate to the old man’s wises and drank.

 

A loud sound ripped through the skies. Chogan awoke in an instant. Alarmed and disoriented he looked around and the old men were gone. Whistling he called to Wolf, but he never came. Standing up his satchel fell stiff and old. Brushing it off and putting it back on he walked back to the huts. Wolf and his spears were gone surely it must have been the old men playing tricks on him.

 

Black slithers of smoke lightened the skies. All the tribesmen were gathered in a large crowd with spears in their hands and red painted cheeks.

“Men what is going on?” question Chogan.

“Who are you?” questioned another man who Chogan had never seen in his life. He thought he knew everyone.

“I am Chogan,” he replied.

“Chogan is that really you?” a man stepped out from the crowd. Others mounting their horses.

“Wematin hurry there is not enough time, they are closing in fast and killing everyone,” said the leader.

Wematin was now a full-grown man. His height was greater than that of Chogan. His scar was barely visible, and his long black hair was cut short.

 

“Chogan by spirits you have aged! I thought you lost forever it’s been twenty years.” Wematin embraced him.

“Wait twenty years for was only gone a night!” he replied.

“No, look at you, your hair is long with streaks of silver and lines cover your face. You have aged,” said Wematin somberly.

 

Touching his hair he saw the long silver streaks dominating its once black color. Unable to stand Chogan fell on his knees. This can’t be he thought. It must be a dream.

“Chogan you must leave with the women and children. War is about to befall into our lands. Many have already died.” Wematin said.

“War with who,” that must be crazy he thought.

“White folks have broken many promises. They plan to take our lands next. We must fight to take back what is rightfully ours. Go on you are an elder and others need your help,” Wematin said as he mounted his horse. Chogan looked around. Birds fleeing away their cheerful chirps were gone. It was quiet and desolate. The sky was tainted with billowing streaks of smoke. He could see it all the way from where he stood. This was not his home. Cries and loud sounds were heard from a distance. He ran towards the group of huddled tribes’ women, children, and elderly men. He was greeted with shaking frames and tired eyes.

 

The story I have tried to imitate was inspired by Rip Van Winkle, through an Alogian native American character, Chogan. I know that the history of these two subjects is very apart, but I was drawn to the previously discussed natives that were mostly erased from the colonization of the United States. The story is set around an Alogian tribe who haven’t yet encountered the start of colonization. So, in a sense, everything is good just like Van Winkle and his daily life. I followed along and kept some of the original story parts like the dog Wolf, setting, and the shift of time. However, the change occurred within the original Algonquian folklore like the Pukudgies, who are mischievous little people. In the story, these little forest people are the ones that lead Chogan astray and get him drunk. When he wakes up, he is not met with political change and othering. He is the othered that is in the middle of a war within the native Algonquian and the American colonizers. Morphing the stories is similar to both themes of displacement and loss of identity that continued within the native American people. For the Dutch, they lost their freedom and their language as the New settlers overtook.

— Karla Garcia Barrera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Harp Of My Country

The Harp of India by Henry Derozio illustrates the cultural deprivation of the harp because of European colonization. The Irish harp represented the epitome of Gaelic aristocratic culture. However, the tradition was lost after the colonization of Ireland. In The Harp of India, Derozio uses the harp to represent similar absence of culture in India because of British colonialism.

“Why hang’st thou lonely on yon withered bough?” (1)

The first line demonstrates the deprivation of the harp tradition. The imagery of the “withered bough” emphasizes the absence of the tradition. Moreover, The narrator personifies the harp through referencing it with a question.

“Why doth the breeze sigh over thee in vain?

Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain;” (4-5)

In the fourth line, the narrator personifies the breeze, as it “sighs” because of the silence of the harp, representing the Indian audience. In the fifth line, the narrator personifies silence with “her fatal chains,” representing the British colonialism in India.

“Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,

Like ruined monument on desert plain:” (6-7)

The simile of the harp to a “ruined monument on desert plain,” illustrates the severity of the loss of the harp tradition, representing the loss of Indian culture from British colonialism.

“Those hands are cold — but if thy notes divine

May be by mortal wakened once again,

Harp of my country, let me strike the strain! (12-14)

The narrator illustrates the possibility of the resurrection of the harp, “wakened once again,” and concludes with the narrators aspiration to “strike the strain,” and does through the creation of the poem. The narrator uses the poem to resurrect the “harp of my country.”

-Hongxi Su

Don’t Cry for Me, Harp India

This poem is a very powerful piece as it calls out to those that have been impacted by the never ending grasp of colonialism. The use of the harp within the piece signifies that the country of India, as described in the poem “The Harp of India” by Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, interprets that the country, which was once one of the most beautiful things that the population could enjoy has now been neglected, that it is in tatters due to the mismanagement that it had endured. The poem talks about how how many of the pleasures the harp once brought are now mere memories and that it just stands as a testament to the follies of the imperialists that had resided in India up to that point.

However, there is some semblance of hope within this powerfully poetic piece. At the end of the poem, there is a moment where the speaker, despite his melancholia getting the better of them for most of the poem, has a moment of resolve in their want to improve the country, as is described in line 12-14: “but if thy notes divine/ May be by mortal wakened once again,/ Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!” Even though the reader finds himself to be unworthy of such a task, as he mentions in line 8, he yearns for an age in which he can finally live in a space that was once the strong and proud nation that was before the colonialists had arrived.

This piece was powerful in its message about being in the face of the adversity of colonialism and imperialism that, despite the neglect inflicted upon the population and the country itself, the people strive to claim back their country in any which way, which is exemplified by even just the poem itself.

Alejandro Joseph Serrano

The Harp and A Call to Action

Henry Louis Vivioan Derozio’s “The Harp of India,”  uses the illustration of the harp as a means to comment on and explore colonialism and Irish history. The poem reflects Derozio’s personal position of being mixed race through his idealization of the harp’s beauty and his own reflection of his identity. This reflection parallels the symbolism of the harp in that, historically Irish peoples were labeled as uncivilized by the English and held bad reputations. On this note, the Irish people related their experiences and identities to that of the beauty and elegance of this instrument. Derozio is essentially speaking out against the impact English politics, imperialism, and colonialism had on not only the Irish, but the entire world.

Derozio writes:

“Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain;

Thy music once was sweet- who hears it now?”

In these lines the harp is used to symbolize Irish culture; what was, yet what is now impacted by English influence. The harp becomes a political weapon that not only exemplifies grace but serves as a reminder to fight against and speak up against all forms of oppression that destroyed/ tried to destroy what they found to be, such beauty.

Derozio continues to write:

“Once thy harmonious chords to sweetness gave,

And many a wreath for them did Fame entwine

Of Flowers still blooming on the minstrel’s grave:

Those hands are cold- but if thy notes divine

May be by mortal wakened once again

Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!”

The ending of this poem proves to be an affirmation for the push for political reform as a means to return to original Irish Culture. Derozio speaks to the past, but provides a call of action to his people in the last line to fight for and maintain a sense of national pride.

-Angelica Costilla

Equiano, The Epic Hero

In Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, he illustrates the pandemonium that occured in the blackness of a night on August 1759 through his reference of the Iliad.

Here I could have exclaimed with Ajax,

‘Oh Jove! O father! if it be thy will

That we much perish, we thy will obey,

But let us perish by the light of day.'”

In the Iliad, Ajax is second to Achilles as an Achaean warrior. In Book 15, Ajax defends an Achaean ship from the Trojans, and he declares the exclamation in order to motivate the strength and spirit of his Achaean soldiers. Jove is the Roman name for Zeus, ruler of the Greek gods – hence “father.” After hearing Ajax’s prayers, the gods – Athena – remove the clouded air,” enabling Ajax and his soldiers to fend off the Trojans. Equiano’s reference to the Iliad during this tumultuous moment provides the audience with an imagery of the epic hero, Equiano. His reference to the Iliad illustrates his attempt to connect and resemble a heroic Greek warrior during this epic conflict.

“I no longer looked upon them as spirits, but as men superior to us; and therefore I had the stronger desire to resemble them; to imbibe their spirits, and imitate their manners.”

Equiano’s divulgence illustrates the double consciousness caused by colonialism. Equiano’s reference to the Iliad is an incident of his double consciousness illuminating the consequences of colonialism. Initially observed as Equiano’s attempt to converse with his white audience through referencing the Greek epic, becomes a man suffering from the double consciousness of colonialism. He recognizes them as his “superior,” and his “desire to resemble them” motivated him to reference Ajax’s deliverance in order to illustrate his literary knowledge as an African individual to his “superiors” and to resemble his “superior” by posing as a Greek hero. Through reading this passage in Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, we can analyze the consequences of colonialism – the double consciousness – on the colonized individual.

download

-Hongxi Su

 

Equiano’s Rhetorical Strategy

In his autobiographical work, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Equiano integrates a portion of Thomas Day’s “The Dying Negro” into his writing. “The Dying Negro” was an abolitionist poem published in 1773 that sought to express sentiment against the institution of slavery. Similarly, Olaudah Equiano’s slave narrative was another form of literary work that contributed to the abolitionist movement. While aboard a ship, Equiano has a frightening experience and states that “[he] called on death to relieve [him] from the horrors [he] felt and dreaded, that [he] might be in that place”. This statement reflects the fear that Equiano felt in that moment and how death felt like a better fate than whatever was to come after. Right after that statement, Equiano references Thomas Day’s poem and writes that he wished to be

“Where slaves are free, and men oppress no more.

Fool that I was, inur’d so long to pain,

To trust to hope, or dream of joy again.”

This part of the poem is mentioned by Equiano in order to demonstrate that he was able to draw parallels between other works of literature and his own life. Equiano longs to be free and live in a place where he could dream of joy, but he knows that because of his situation, it seems foolish. Equiano also continues to cite the poem and substitutes Day’s words stating

“No eye to mark their suff’rings with a tear;

No friend to comfort, and no hope to cheer:

Then, like the dull unpity’d brutes, repair

To stalls as wretched, and as coarse a fare;

Thank heaven one day of mis’ry was o’er,

Then sink to sleep, and wish to wake no more.”

The use of this part of the poem highlights the misery that slaves faced and Equiano is able to verify Day’s words by attaching them to his own story. The fact that Thomas Day was white was significant because it meant that even white people knew that the actions taking place during that time by their fellow brethren was wrong. Using Day’s words is meaningful because literature was considered to be an important attribute of civilized and respected people. Equiano is demonstrating to the readers that just like any white man, he was able to read and write just like them – reducing the differences between them and suggesting that he was literate and trustworthy (just like the white man). Furthermore, Equiano is making it clear that he understands English literature perfectly and he is using it as a rhetorical strategy to bring the white readers to his side in order to ultimately make them agree that slavery should be abolished. Equiano continues with his narrative and once he reaches land, he continues to use Day’s words as a description of the thoughts he had when he saw those

“Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace

And rest can rarely dwell. Hope never comes

That comes to all, but torture without end

Still urges.”

Thomas Day never experienced slavery himself, but the fact that he was able to depict the situation so vividly and accurately enough for Equiano to use his words to detail his own experience as a slave is significant. Therefore, Equiano is using Thomas Day’s literature in order to prove the point that even free, white males can relate to Equiano and feel his suffering without having to actually live through the same experience. Thus, compassion and sentiments opposing slavery do not have to be expressed by only those who have gone through the same circumstances. This allows Equiano to use his own slave narrative as a literature of power in order to move his readers and persuade them subconsciously to fight against slavery just like Equiano and Day.

-Maria G. Perez

Swift’s Satirical Parallels

In Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift satirizes Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative. The satire begins in the first chapter, after Gulliver is shipwrecked onto a strange island. When he makes it to the island’s shore, he falls asleep, but when he awakes, he is bound by ropes. When he tries to break free from the bondage, he is shot with hundreds of tiny arrows and he “fell a groaning with Grief and Pain” (Swift 24). After Gulliver learns that it is best to remain calm and do as he is told, the people of Lilliput feed him “Baskets full of Meat” and drinks that “tasted like small Wine” (Swift 25-26). Because the people of Lilliput are small (around six inches), the amount of food they give to Gulliver is significant. Though he is supposedly their captive, they still feed him well and give him shelter. This resembles Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative because she is taken captive and is physically hurt during the act. However, after she begins to do as the native’s instruct, she is never harmed again and she is also given food. In one particular instance, Rowlandson is offered her peas and such when the native people were suffering from the same sense of starvation as her. The experience Gulliver has with the people of Lilliput reflect’s Rowlandson’s experience with the natives.

Furthermore, when he is explaining everything that occurred in writing, Gulliver integrates words from the Lilliput people. He mentions words such as “Borach Mivola”, “Hekina Degul”, “Peplom Selan”, and “Hurgo”. Though at first, he did not understand the meaning of those words, he eventually began to learn what some of those words meant. Gulliver states, “he cried out three times Langro Dehul san (these Words and the former were afterwards repeated and explained to me) (Swift 25). This reflects Mary Rowlandson’s writing in her captivity narrative because she also includes Native language words and she makes it clear that she learned the meaning of those words. Rowlandson created an unspoken bond with the Natives and despite her efforts to make it seem otherwise, Swift’s writing reflects her experience (in a more comical manner).

Gulliver is taken to meet the leader of the people – the same way that Rowlandson was taken to meet King Philip. Gulliver becomes more amicable with the people of Lilliput even though he is considered to be their captive because they do not exactly mistreat him. Gulliver sees the people as strange because of their physical features and that is parallel to the way that Mary Rowlandson (and white colonists) saw the Natives – as otherworldly. The parallels continue throughout the novel, but in this specific part, there is much similarity between Rowlandson’s writing and Swift’s fictional tale.

-Maria G. Perez

Apess’ Answer for Allowance

Excerpt of transcribed recording of William Apess’ sermon in response to Mary Rowlandson’s ordeal:

The plight endured by some held captive by my brethren [native americans], although painful and at times brutal, reflects on the character of the individual whether they be white or colored. I ask on whether the actions of an individual reflect on their entire people? Similarly to whether seeing but a tribe of refugees reflects solely on the character of native peoples in all breadths?

In same a way as a man of color faces trials and tribulations, is not through irony the persecution of a white woman amongst them reflective of the injustices faced by indigenous peoples? Similarly to how some in captivity may suffer, as abhorrent as it is for any innocent to suffer needlessly, is it not also the case that the unfettered suffering of an entire people is an even greater injustice? Her suffering was shared amongst my brethren around her, both through bitterness and starvation, but as she was treated with compassion by a select few, and as some shared the last morsels of food they had with her, so too should we all not use this as an example that we should show love to one another?

As a fellow Christian I can relate to Rowlandson’s crisis of faith, but she is misguided in her assertion on what the precepts of Exodus entail her. Does being a refugee amongst the masses make one akin to Moses, despite not in any form leading or guiding them? But rather, does not being lost amongst a people in the same desert teach temperance and familiarity with their fellow lost? It is fortunate that none need atone for their father’s sins, and rather in unification of her and my brethren’s struggle should we use this example as a lesson.

Does not suffering of a temperate woman warrant attention and concern? So should not the primary cause of such distress be addressed? And as a consequence, should not the repression of an entire people be addressed if that would continue misaligned harm to befall more innocent people?

-Kevin Martinez

A Misguided Attempt to Unify

As I have just reading Mary Rowlandson’s History of Captivity I saw fit to offer my thoughts as I feel quite strongly about this conflict having to do with the relations of the white man and the Indians that have pre inhabited this land. I see myself thinking that Ms. Rowlandson offers a more genuine view of the Indians of this land at least more so than her fellow settlers which seems strange, does it not? Considering her capture. I see this narrative as both helpful and harmful to the relations of these two peoples. For one Ms. Rowlandson seems at times fond of her captors even thinking of their leader King Phillip as a friend, yet uses foul language toward them at other times. The endearing terms she voices may strike a chord with the white reader and shed light on the fact that their discriminations run quite contrary to the teachings of the Lord, while Rowlandson’s at times prejudice language may have a reverse effect whether intended or not. It is my belief that one should commit fully to their values. If Ms. Rowlandson truly views these natives as among her friends then she should write abut them as such and veer away from language that would only cause more unrest. Rowlandson views herself as a woman of the Lord yet seems to struggle to view the natives of America as among her equal, is this not in direct violation of her Puritan beliefs? Rowlandson truly had an opportunity here to change the way a broad group of people think for better, which would only help both sides to unify, as all of humanity should be, at least those who seek to properly follow the teachings of the Lord they claim to follow. Alas I have said my piece and leave it in the hearts of my kindly reader to decide if they will heed it.

  • Evan Klang (Writing as William Apess)

A Poem Imagining Apess’s Reaction to Rowlandson’s Narrative

He (Apess) was the grandson of a white man

But also the grandson of a native woman

His grandmother was the granddaughter of King Philip


He was born and taken to alcoholics at a young age

Only to be beaten and sold like an animal in a cage

He was no stranger to misfortune and pain


He then went on to understand religion and what from it there was to gain

Rowlandson was also devoted to God

So she tried to see her ordeal as part of her path


Apess may relate to the misfortune she faced

But he related more to the Native race


Apess read what Rowlandson had to say about her captors

She called them “heathens”

She regarded them as barbaric actors

She went beyond lengths to come up with the words to insult them


Apess could see perhaps where she was coming from

But he suspects she was surprised


To see the (native) children facing hunger

To see the lack of actual violence

To see how they live off the land and to know that her people were taking that land


Perhaps Mary knew she had been prejudice in her beliefs

Just as Apess questions whether it is right to have those prejudices


Apess knew that what was under white skin was no different than what was under red skin

But Rowlandson held onto her prejudice so that she would not be shunned from her own kin


But after living with her captors

And bonding with them – though she may deny it

Apess must wonder why it was so hard to defend them


To at least deny their savagery

To understand where their motives came from


A place of oppression

A place of inequality

A place of misfortune


If they had crossed paths at the same time

Apess could ask Rowlandson why


Why white people believe they are more deserving of God’s grace

When their skin is just one

Among dozens of other colors


Why she chose to degrade the native people and continue to secure her place among the whites

Why she chose to believe that her torture was part of God’s plan but not consider that

Perhaps that torture was placed so that she could understand those people


If her destiny was to come across the natives and live with them

Why did she not think that maybe her God put her there to learn

To change her preconceived notions

To see with her own eyes that the native people deserve better treatment

Better rights

Better imagery


Apess is of native descent and he believes in a God

So why was Rowlandson’s God any different or any better


If they both worship and live for the same God

Why are Rowlandson’s people more deserving

Or why do they think they are more deserving


Because of color

Because of what they think it means to be civil

Because of their ignorance


Apess has many questions

Many that cannot be answered fully even today


Because what happened back then

Still happens today

As if some aspects of time haven’t changed


The prejudices still exist

The color still pulls people apart

The idea of religion has been split into all sorts of parts


People will believe what they want to believe

People will not accept some people

People will be people


They will always hold on to the good and the bad

Both will always stick around

Because people will always find a way to justify their beliefs as good

-Maria G. Perez