|Vella Munn: Soul of the Sacred Earth|
Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0-312-86733-6
Perhaps not, but the four major characters, diverse and unique to their time, live and breathe within the context of this simple but eloquent telling of a time long gone. The author depicts, with honesty and truth, people involved in a culture clash that signals the ending of an age. On the surface, it seems impossible to merge thesis and antithesis and achieve synthesis under the circumstances. Or does she describe the painful birth of a new age, one that will in the fullness of time achieve synthesis?
The Spanish come to the Southwest, but what they seek differs from person to person. The priest, Fray Angelico, burns to save the souls of the savages (the Hopi and Navajo) and prevent them from going to hell unshriven. The ambitious military commander, Captain Lopez, seeks riches and power, and sees the Indians as less than human. Captive of the Spanish, Morning Butterfly grieves for the loss of innocence (hers and that of her people, the Hopi) and hopes to prevent their total destruction at the hands of the Spanish. Glorying in the horses he and his people liberate from the Spanish, Cougar, a Navajo brave, seeks to save his tribe from the fate awaiting the Hopi.
The Spanish commit atrocities in the name of their rulers. Both Morning Butterfly and Cougar witness the long-term effects on their families, and it teaches them wisdom. They strive for harmony, within themselves, between their tribes and with the Sacred Earth.
The scope and magnificence of Soul of the Sacred Earth took my breath, made me ache, and showed me the soul of world. A premier Native American storyteller, Vella Munn pens a tale of life, death, courage, and cowardice -- a tale that should be a must read for us all.
Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the contemporary PS, I've Taken a Lover, is available from Lionhearted Books . The Wandering Troll, an electronic magazine, began serializing her novel Prophecy Be Damned in April 2000.
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