The theme of aboriginal people and their relations with people from the Western world has always been topical. The existence of multiple disputable issues, extremely sophisticated relations, many cases of discrimination, violence, and the clash of cultures create the basis for vigorous debates about the behavior of one or another group or their relations. For this reason, many authors devoted their works to the description of these episodes, trying to attract readers’ attention to the issue, and provide them with information that might make them think. The theme of violence remains one of the most important among these, and the novel “Fools Crow” by James Welch, a Native American writer, revolves around it. He touches upon the unique culture of aboriginal people and the massacre as one of the horrors of war.
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Analyzing the novel, the author’s attempt to show the pressure that white civilization creates on American Indians becomes visible. He outlines the unique culture peculiar to people, especially the Blackfeet tribe, living on these lands, and how it should adapt to the new conditions that disregarded their beliefs and customs. As against coherent society characterized by the focus on tolerance and protection of unique lifestyles, the book represents a hard choice that should be made by people. They can either accept new rules offered by white people and assimilate to the colonists losing their culture and unique identity, or struggle to protect their customs, traditions and cultural legacy. The given choice is perfectly demonstrated by the existence of parties that serve colonists and tribes that prefer to fight.
This dilemma also gives rise to violence as resisting white intruders, aboriginal people, and Fools Crow have to fight. Welch shows that contrary to some stereotypical models that depicted American Indians as rude and cruel people who killed civilized colonizers, the desire to resist is logical and is more justified if compare with the desire to conquer, peculiar to all Europeans on these lands. Fools Crow correctly realizes the fact that his culture can be destroyed because of multiple diseases brought to the continent and wars; for this reason, there is the need for actions to cultivate it and ensure that new generations will also have the opportunity to enjoy unique traditions. Their violence becomes understandable as it was the only possible way to resist oppression and save the next generations.
From the perspective of modern civilization, Native American’s actions might be taken as unnecessary or too cruel as there are a dominance of the humanistic values and attempts to avoid military conflicts by engaging in negotiations. It also preconditions the existence of the idea that colonizers, who wanted to bring civilization on these lands, suffered from unfair attacks and murders. However, Welch, using the example of Fools Crow, demonstrates that the desire to save cultural heritage was one of the main motifs that impacted aboriginal people, and violence was the only way to resist the pressure of the white world. Moreover, Europeans came to these lands and wanted to conquer them, so it was mainly their fault that multiple cruel actions appeared.
Altogether, the novel Fools Crow by James Welch gives a deep insight into the main factors that driven American Indians and their desire to struggle. The Indian violence can be justified as, similar to Fools Crow, these people wanted to save their legacy and transfer their knowledge to their children. In the end, they might also select other ways to accomplish this goal; however, their struggle was also an important element of cultural identity that helped to survive.