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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Giant To Whom?

Swift’s parody of the captivity narrative throughout part 1 of the novel showcases the disparity between perception and reality within the captivity narratives, specifically Rowlandson’s. A rather large aspect of Swift’s parody is the blatant size difference between Gulliver and his captors, the Lilliputs. “I perceived it to be a human creature not six inches high, with a bow and arrow in his hands” (Pg. 14 Part 1 Chapter 1). I believe Swift does this as a direct parody towards Rowlandson and the ironic disparity which surrounds her captivity.

Often within the captivity narrative the protagonist is portrayed to be vulnerable and at the mercy of their captors. Additionally, they usually take the form of an under-dog type character. One who has the odds stacked against them and we as the reader are hoping they prevail through their ordeals. It is very much reminiscent to biblical figures like Daniel in the lion’s den. Yet here, the lions are three times as small and pose almost no threat to Gulliver. This disparity is a metaphor for Rowlandson’s situation in her narrative.

Her kidnapping was a desperate attempt from the Algonquian tribe to have some leverage over the colonists. They were starving and at genocide’s door. While Rowlandson was but one individual, she represented the whole of colonists in her situation. The colonists outnumbered the natives and they out-gunned them. So, in a grand scheme, how much of a threat did they really pose to Rowlandson and to the colonists at large, especially when she was their only leverage? I would answer, not much, as I believe this is what Swift is conveying. This is directly visualized in this passage, “when in an instant I felt above a hundred arrows discharged on my left hand, which, pricked me like so many needles” (Pg. 15 Part 1 Chapter 1). While native attacks on colonists did damage them as a whole, it was but a thousand needle pricks to the metaphoric giant.

It is not a coincidence that Gulliver found himself stranded on this island after being deviated by a storm, on the brink of disaster. Later within the first confrontation he is fed and given drink by the Lilliputs. “a hundred of the in-habitants mounted and walked towards my mouth, laden with baskets full of meat” (Pg. 17 Part 1 Chapter 1). This conjured up pictures of the first thanksgiving where only half of the original colonists survived the long voyage. And only through the help of the natives were the survivors able to have enough harvest to last through the winter.

-Daniel Rodriguez

Better Than One Might Believe

To Lady Mary Rowlandson,

While many may be able to sympathize with you regarding the terrible loss of your family, I find your descriptions of the Indians to be continuously unwarranted and unbecoming of any good Christian throughout your narrative. I can see why it may be difficult for even a pious Christian such as yourself to initially forgive the Indians, but even as your story continues, even as you appear to grow more understanding of the Indians and their lifestyle, and even when they begin to show you kindness and welcome you into their homes, you still choose to think of them as little more than devils sent by God to tempt you with their lifestyle. I would kindly like to ask a well-educated Christian such as yourself where in the scriptures does our Lord say that the Indian is a devil and the lifestyle he lives is unfit for a Christian? If tomorrow every Indian chose to convert to Christianity and live a puritanical lifestyle such as yourself, do you believe that the conflicts would stop and a peaceful resolution would be found? I find such an occurrence difficult to believe, as even in your writing, you appear to group those Indians who have converted to our faith while dressing and acting like us into the same group as those who hold onto their old faith and reject everything about our lifestyle. I could hardly call one such as you a proper Christian when you are so quick to label any Indian, regardless of their faith, a devil.

Were the whites not at one time living a lifestyle arguably more degrading than the one they live now? Red skin does not prevent one from accepting the teachings of God, nor does red skin take away their right to own and protect their land. As one who has also lived among the Indians and personally seen the lifestyle they live, or in some cases, the lifestyle they have been forced into, I would ask you to reconsider your view of the Indians. Perhaps you chose to think of yourself and do truly believe that they are equal to us in the eyes of God, but there can be no changing the damage that your narrative can do to reinforcing the ideas of others that the Indians are devils and could never be equal to whites, not because of their faith, but because of their skin.

May God keep you safe.

Sincerely,

William Apess

-Ryan Bucher

A Letter to Mary Rowlandson 151, or 337 Years Later

Dear Mary Rowlandson,

I ask not that you continue your views perplexed but awaken to a truth that I believe you have seen in person. How different is our skin, our way of life, and our culture that you cannot see the similarities, the love, the assimilation of our way of life into yours? We have our families, our hopes, strife, and are all the same in the eyes of God. You may quote the Bible, and so can I. I ask of you, and I recite, “Let us not love in word but in deed” (1 John 3.18). You have had such atrocity afflict you, and the Native or Savages that I come from, have too dealt with atrocity. So, I ask of you, not forgiveness, and I ask of you to not ask forgiveness either, as too much has been done, but to accept peace. What does it matter what we look like? What our way of life is? We may not ever see eye to eye, or trade the kindest of words, but at the very least, I wish for mutual respect for those alive, those who have already suffered, and for those who will live.

Cordially,

William Apess

—Joseph Rojas

Oh, Mary!

Oh, Mary!

Those words you use to describe my people –

Heathens, and barbarians we are to you?

Although yours have left us hungry and feeble?

And have us living in captivity too.

Oh, Mary!

How you have mistaken the captivity made by my people,

Whose actions were the result of torture and murder.

What about the acts of those you share a skin color with?

We, the true bearers of misfortune and pain.

Oh, Mary!

Did God not create us to be equals?

Though we have different skin, we are the same within.

Will God not judge us by our evils?

Yet we the Indians have been forced into sin.

Oh, Mary!

Even though plenty shared their meals with you,

And you tasted the richness of our food,

You still scorned and cursed us in plain view –

And allowed for us to be forced into solitude.

Oh, Mary!

I beg of you to see our point of view,

We pursued violence to assure we made it through.

I beg you all to believe we live under one God,

And to see we are all the same within his heart.

 

But in the end I know the white man will prevail,

And you shall leave my people poor and frail.

Mary, I hope one day you are able to see the inequality –

And understand we simply fought white brutality.

-A poem by William Apess

(Beverly Miranda-Galindo)

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

Depending On Whose Narrative

Tania De Lira-Miranda

picture45.jpg

Though there are many people who believe that the first people who lived in the what is now known to be the United States were the Europeans, the first people were actually the Native Americans whose ancestors migrated there 40,000 to 17,000 years ago. But even so, the Europeans portrayed the natives as savage people who they had to defend against which led to bloodshed, war, and eventually the displacement and the decline of the natives. And even though the Europeans did a lot of damage to the natives, they do not consider that what they did was genocide to the Native Americans, instead, history is framed that what the Europeans did was a good thing and schools tend to gloss over the fact that so many Natives Americans died so that the Europeans can have their City Upon A Hill, which to them was to show the rest of the word how rightful living was supposed to look like.

Looking back in history and like Rowlandson said, the Native Americans might have burned down the settlers’ houses and killed and injured some settlers, the Europeans weren’t as innocent as they portrayed themselves to be. The Europeans committed many crimes against the Native Americans such as massacres, torture, and sexual abuse, to name a few. So while I may sympathize with Rowlandson about how her family was taken captive, injured and even died while in custody of the natives, the Native Americans suffered just as equally if not more due to the Europeans having more advanced weaponry and because of the diseases the Europeans brought to the Native Americans which killed many. But the losses of the Native Americans are not really known because they do not have their own written accounts of what happened during King Philip’s War. Because of the memoir, Mary Rowlandson wrote detailed all the things she went to when being held ransom, she helped, if unintentionally, the narrative that the natives were savage people who kidnapped women and children which led some of those people to die, people who read the memoir begin to develop a bad image of the Native Americans and because the natives do not have their own published account of what they went through, people take the side of the Europeans as they believe that the innocents ones in the war are the Europeans and that the Native Americans are the villains in this story.

So while I feel bad for Mary Rowlandson and wish that no one should have to experience being held captive and having some of their children die, the Native Americans also suffered great loses that might never be known because they didn’t have the power to tell their own story and narrative.

Taking Language: Its Complicated

The exchange between Rowlandson and the native Algonquians does complicate the history of intolerance against indigenous people during the English colonization of eastern North America. Looking at the way Rowlandson uses certain words from the Algonquian language it definitely suggests that there is more to the dynamic between Rowlandson and the natives. The cross-linguistic aspect of Rowlandson’s writing is surprising because it is at odds with the blatant racism in her writing. To accept Algonquian culture through its language makes me think that perhaps Rowlandson knew deep down that there were fewer differences than others would have her believe.

Not only does she adopt certain words that are related to family but the aspects of her story that relate to family are not as explicit as they could be. So perhaps in adopting some of the language it becomes inevitable that she would adopt some of the culture. This certainly complicates the history between the two groups because it suggests that despite all the tragedies there were situations in which people were not completely against each other.

By Diana Lara

An Endless Cycle

Mary Rowlandson’s narration was just one of the different perspectives of what happened. Not arguing that the traumatic and terrible things she witnessed and faced are false or invalid, but her views were biased in terms of what she felt towards the Native Americans. Overall, one can’t argue what happened to her wasn’t upsetting or awful. As a human being, she went through a substantial amount, but this is not to say that one side was righter or more wrong.

It’s an endless cycle of violence against violence for violence against violence. In the end, a lot of people died tragically. Does this confirm, contradict, or complicate the history of intolerance against indigenous people during the English colonization of eastern North America? It has always been complicated, but it is not an argument that indigenous people were treated unfairly.

Even to this day, that is a topic of conversation which time and time again reminds people of what history has shown us which is indigenous people have suffered due to settlers and colonist. What is different is we are viewing it through the eyes of a discriminatory woman who suffered a traumatic terrible event.

But what do we learn from reading this point of view? Just because it is ethically wrong does not mean it does not give insight or perspective. I believe it shows the horror of war and massacre. The horror of the mentality where killing is justified. Children, men, and women were murdered on both sides. There shouldn’t have been an eye for an eye nor a reason to have one in the first place. It doesn’t show the truth of human nature. It shows the truth of human emotion and anger. Same can be said about Dryden’s play The Indian Emperour, a lot of characters reacted out of emotion, anger and frustration. Maybe that’s why Dryden didn’t have Cydaria and Cortez end up together. The complexity of the matter and of the situation. I think while Mary’s narration was hard to read due to a lot of the racism and prejudices, it’s still a piece of literature and a telling of a woman’s horrific journey. I believe, overall, it’s a telling of being afraid and of the unknown which a lot of the indigenous people face when the settlers came. It’s the fear that drives people to do crazy things sometimes.

Abe Alvarez

Mary Rowlandson is my Mom

Mary Rowlandson would probably have made a lot of dough as a writer nowadays and that is because she is incredibly conscious of her audience. The entirety of her narrative reads as a careful “tightrope walk” between telling her story’s truths and protecting her own identity as a Puritan woman. There is a certain ambiguity regarding certain events in the story – such as whether she hits the pipe or even whether her “chastity” was violated – and this lends to the story’s overall narrative being a passive “floating.” This allows Rowlandson ample opportunity to delve into her own psyche – though it is important to remember that she is writing this in retrospect. This is not a journal and, therefore, she has a great degree of agency with how she portrays the events and her reactions to them. In many ways, her simply writing this novel and it being as successful as it was was already a subversion of the Puritan’s tropes regarding women. She has total control over her characterization and she uses this control to great monetary effect: the ambiguities in the story are a result of her needing to respect Puritan ideals to actually capture a Puritan audience. Even as she is being empowered by having control over her own captivity story, she is still forced to portray herself as more passive and more reserved with the natives than many in the class were positing she actually was. It would be interesting to have a conversation with Rowlandson pre and post captivity. I think pre you might see a devout Puritan mother but I wonder if post, and despite her insistence that she thanks God for what happens her, if you would actually see as devout a Puritan as before. I wonder if she was forced into portraying a more passive version of herself compared to how she actually acted.

To be honest – and if I am going on a tangent here, I am sure that Zakhir will reflect it in my grade but I still have to say it: I was a little disgusted by just how many people in the class claim they would not sympathize with Rowlandson’s circumstances. I really do think that this viewpoint comes from one of ignorance and of a need to be self-affirmed in a bizarre set of virtues. From an objective angle, Rowlandson was not a combatant and neither were her children. She was not personally attacking anybody and if you removed the races from the equation, I bet that a lot more people in the class would be sympathetic to a character who has just had their home suddenly raided and burned and their children shot in front of them. I really do think there is a severe degree of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance affecting those who voted “No;” they appear to have forgot that, prior to Rowlandson’s captivity, they and Rowlandson could be compared extensively on a matter that goes above race and gender: that of cultural identity. Whether those “No” – sayers like it or not, they are no different from Rowlandson in that they are, presumably since they’re in college, attempting to build and maintain a life while living under a government that still exhorts imperialism and nationalism. It is perplexing to me just how many people in our class forget that they are living under a government that does the same thing to impoverished nations across the world that the Puritans did to Indian. Now, however, the United States uses more subtle tactics of conquests such as election manipulation or wide-spread invasion – but when you look at the Puritan’s overt brutality, they and the current United States did not exactly achieve different results. Yes, I am accusing everybody who voted “No” of hypocrisy. You all seem to forget that you are citizens – or at least participants – in a nation that is just as imperialistic and violent as it ever was. You can refute this by saying that you did not vote for Trump, that he is not your president, that you don’t support the betrayal of the Kurds or that you don’t support the U.S. providing the weapons that the Saudis are using to kill millions – MILLIONS – of Yemeni – but all I say to that is bullshit. Everybody in this class, including me, goes on with their lives despite the fact that, many hundreds of miles away, our government is persecuting and murdering en masse. To me, those people who voted “No” are very close-minded people. They are configuring a moral compass by which we might measure which grieving mother should be empathized with…and yet they are not applying that moral compass to themselves. If you want to put yourself in a position to decide who is worthy of being sympathized with, you need to look at yourself: by the standards of the moral compasses put forth in that “No” answer, the only response to the United States contemporary imperialism would be to quit paying taxes and live off the grid, separate from the government and maybe even in another country. If just by being a citizen trying to build a life in an imperialist country you are somebody abhorrent and somebody who deserves no sympathy when your child is shot in front of you…then what the hell is everybody in this class? Don’t forget what kind of a government we live under. Don’t forget what kind of a government we pay taxes to and “participate” in.