Fools Crow, James Welch

Essay by schafm3College, Undergraduate February 2014

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McKayla Schafer

September 15, 2013

English 318

Professor O'Meara

Irene S. Vernon, in her article for the American Indian Quarterly, titled "A Happiness That Sleeps With Sadness: An Examination of 'White Scabs' in Fools Crow," presents an in-depth analysis of the prevalent appearance of "white scabs" or Smallpox in the James Welch novel Fools Crow. During this article Vernon describes what is mentioned in the novel dealing with sickness and the healing process used in the Pikuni or Blackfeet tribes. She starts the article out by saying, " Fools Crow is more than a coming-of-age story, however, because as the life of Fools Crow unfolds, so does a Blackfeet story of epic proportions (179)." The reader not only understands Fools Crow's thoughts and actions as he grows into a rather important figure in the Lone Eaters community, but also understands that the Pikuni tribe is battling something much worse, the invasion of Napikwans and their deliverance of deadly diseases.

Summarizing Vernon's article and providing passages from the novel we can get a better understanding to the Smallpox disease that devastated this tribe.

Vernon brings up the point that sickness qualifies as many different things in the Blackfeet culture. "The multidimensional Fools Crow provides a wealth of information about the Pikuni and their representations of sickness (179)." Because this novel is told through the words of not only Fools Crow, but also multiple other Pikunis, we can gather information about what some qualify as sickness and what others qualify as a healing process. Vernon discusses how the term "medicine" is a word used widely throughout the tribe and possesses the same meaning. "It has also been found that medicine is closely allied to religious beliefs and mythology, and most internal disease is attributed to...