Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A dream prompt from a deceased scholar of the Iroquois

First of a series occasional notes on my rambles as a dream archaeologist. 

The Tuscarora ethnographer John Napoleon Brinton Hewitt was a fascinating figure who epitomized the Iroquois ability to live in two worlds. Hewitt sat patiently with the old Speakers on the reservations, married a Washington socialite, attended a Unitarian church, and, without a relevant diploma, awed droves of newly minted anthropology Ph.D.s at the Smithsonian with his inexhaustible scholarship and command of languages.
      He appeared to me in a dream when I was writing my book Dreamways of the Iroquois. He presented himself in an Edwardian wing collar and frock coat, to urge me to read his essay on Tawiskaron, the Dark Twin in Iroquois cosmology). This proved to be an invaluable source, previously unknown to me, when I was eventually able to locate in volume 2 of the long out-of-print 1910 edition of the Smithsonian Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico.

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