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How the World Moves: The Odyssey of an American Indian Family

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A compelling portrait of cultural transition and assimilation via the saga of one Acoma Pueblo Indian family Born in 1861 in New Mexico’s Acoma Pueblo, Edward Proctor Hunt lived a tribal life almost unchanged for centuries. But after attending government schools he broke with his people’s ancient codes to become a shopkeeper and controversial broker between Indian and white A compelling portrait of cultural transition and assimilation via the saga of one Acoma Pueblo Indian family Born in 1861 in New Mexico’s Acoma Pueblo, Edward Proctor Hunt lived a tribal life almost unchanged for centuries. But after attending government schools he broke with his people’s ancient codes to become a shopkeeper and controversial broker between Indian and white worlds. As a Wild West Show Indian he travelled in Europe with his family, and saw his sons become silversmiths, painters, and consultants on Indian Lore. In 1928, in a life-culminating experience, he recited his version of the origin myth of Acoma Pueblo to Smithsonian Institution scholars. Nabokov narrates the fascinating story of Hunt’s life within a multicultural and historical context. Chronicling Pueblo Indian life and Anglo/Indian relations over the last century and a half, he explores how this entrepreneurial family capitalized on the nation’s passion for Indian culture. In this rich book, Nabokov dramatizes how the Hunts, like immigrants throughout history, faced anguishing decisions over staying put or striking out for economic independence, and experienced the pivotal passage from tradition to modernity.


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A compelling portrait of cultural transition and assimilation via the saga of one Acoma Pueblo Indian family Born in 1861 in New Mexico’s Acoma Pueblo, Edward Proctor Hunt lived a tribal life almost unchanged for centuries. But after attending government schools he broke with his people’s ancient codes to become a shopkeeper and controversial broker between Indian and white A compelling portrait of cultural transition and assimilation via the saga of one Acoma Pueblo Indian family Born in 1861 in New Mexico’s Acoma Pueblo, Edward Proctor Hunt lived a tribal life almost unchanged for centuries. But after attending government schools he broke with his people’s ancient codes to become a shopkeeper and controversial broker between Indian and white worlds. As a Wild West Show Indian he travelled in Europe with his family, and saw his sons become silversmiths, painters, and consultants on Indian Lore. In 1928, in a life-culminating experience, he recited his version of the origin myth of Acoma Pueblo to Smithsonian Institution scholars. Nabokov narrates the fascinating story of Hunt’s life within a multicultural and historical context. Chronicling Pueblo Indian life and Anglo/Indian relations over the last century and a half, he explores how this entrepreneurial family capitalized on the nation’s passion for Indian culture. In this rich book, Nabokov dramatizes how the Hunts, like immigrants throughout history, faced anguishing decisions over staying put or striking out for economic independence, and experienced the pivotal passage from tradition to modernity.

30 review for How the World Moves: The Odyssey of an American Indian Family

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    "Hunt never had the permission of the pueblo to impart any Acoma sacred information to anyone, much less to the Bureau of Ethnology for publication. The pueblo has always considered this publication by the Bureau of Ethnology to be a fundamental breach of trust by the United States. It is a glaring example of the unfortunate and ugly incidents of the late 19th century involving archaeologists and anthropologists, personified by the likes of Frank Cushing at Zuni. The Origin Myth of the Pueblo of "Hunt never had the permission of the pueblo to impart any Acoma sacred information to anyone, much less to the Bureau of Ethnology for publication. The pueblo has always considered this publication by the Bureau of Ethnology to be a fundamental breach of trust by the United States. It is a glaring example of the unfortunate and ugly incidents of the late 19th century involving archaeologists and anthropologists, personified by the likes of Frank Cushing at Zuni. The Origin Myth of the Pueblo of Acoma is the intellectual property of the pueblo, not the property of the United States, and surely not the property of Hunt or Nabokov to reproduce. The pueblo today has grave uncertainty as to Hunt’s actual knowledge about Acoma beliefs, as he left the pueblo at an early age to attend school, and thereafter chose not to participate in the activities where traditional knowledge is passed on to the younger generations. This concern is strengthened by the many inaccuracies in the book. It is a product of the complete disregard and disrespect for the community, which Nabokov’s book builds upon. It is not, as your article suggests, a book for the pueblo youth to learn about the Acoma origin beliefs. Instead, it is a modern-day example of sensationalized disrespect and disregard of tribal culture, community and sovereignty." Fred S. Vallo Sr. is governor of Acoma Pueblo.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

    This is the best history book I have ever read. You really get a true picture of the how this family endured as culture shifts occurred in the American Southwest. What is special about this narration is that you get to know the how and why behind the events. You actually learn how people reacted and felt in what feels like real time. The author paints the picture of the homes, clothing, thoughts, events in such a way that the reader becomes part of the story. I loved so much I shared with friend This is the best history book I have ever read. You really get a true picture of the how this family endured as culture shifts occurred in the American Southwest. What is special about this narration is that you get to know the how and why behind the events. You actually learn how people reacted and felt in what feels like real time. The author paints the picture of the homes, clothing, thoughts, events in such a way that the reader becomes part of the story. I loved so much I shared with friends and it became a take-a-long book. We read on the bus, the beach, and on break at work. That this should happen with a history book is priceless.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe

    Carefully researched, painstakingly pieced together into a fascinating portrait, this book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the Southwest and in particular New Mexico and its history. Edward Hunt, born Day Break to the isolated, ancient Acoma people in 1861, is the central figure around which Nabokov writes, but there is so much history and detail provided for context that it is easy to be sidetracked by these many interesting facts. Day Break, like many children of his time, was s Carefully researched, painstakingly pieced together into a fascinating portrait, this book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the Southwest and in particular New Mexico and its history. Edward Hunt, born Day Break to the isolated, ancient Acoma people in 1861, is the central figure around which Nabokov writes, but there is so much history and detail provided for context that it is easy to be sidetracked by these many interesting facts. Day Break, like many children of his time, was sent to Indian school and there indoctrinated into white religion, dress, and lifestyle, and when he finally returned home to Acoma Pueblo, found that he could not quite slip back into old ways. Business ventures like storekeeping and later, a wild west circus show that took his family all over Europe, were pragmatic choices for survival. Many extraordinary black and white photos sprinkle the text and certainly these are rare images. Adult.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Delta

    Oh, man. This is no easy read. Even the most dedicated history buff might feel a bit bogged down with all the details and facts in this 500+ page book (with many pages of references). And I was put off that there was almost no mention of the women in this long family line, but Nabokov addressed that in his Post Script. While I'm disappointed that we have all these chapters about the men in the family, I suppose there's no helping it if your historian is no longer around to talk to you. **I receiv Oh, man. This is no easy read. Even the most dedicated history buff might feel a bit bogged down with all the details and facts in this 500+ page book (with many pages of references). And I was put off that there was almost no mention of the women in this long family line, but Nabokov addressed that in his Post Script. While I'm disappointed that we have all these chapters about the men in the family, I suppose there's no helping it if your historian is no longer around to talk to you. **I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Whew. This one took me a while to make it through. I did like it, although it was a challenge to finish. It was well written; it was meticulously researched. I learned a LOT from it, but I think it was heavier on the accompanying mythology, social history, etc. than it was the story of a family. I learned a lot of THINGS but feel like I'm only passing acquainted with the Hunts themselves. Whew. This one took me a while to make it through. I did like it, although it was a challenge to finish. It was well written; it was meticulously researched. I learned a LOT from it, but I think it was heavier on the accompanying mythology, social history, etc. than it was the story of a family. I learned a lot of THINGS but feel like I'm only passing acquainted with the Hunts themselves.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I won this book via first reads. Its a really interesting story about American Indians and provides a perspective I hadn't seen before. I'm glad I read it. I found parts of it shocking. I was expecting just a basic historical account, but it provided a first person view of what it was like for American Indians. I would definitely recommend it! I won this book via first reads. Its a really interesting story about American Indians and provides a perspective I hadn't seen before. I'm glad I read it. I found parts of it shocking. I was expecting just a basic historical account, but it provided a first person view of what it was like for American Indians. I would definitely recommend it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Blaine Morrow

    I found this tedious reading, although the research and depth of information is impressive.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sally H.

    An interesting historical book about an Indian and his life.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bret Tovani

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gaylon

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carla

  12. 5 out of 5

    Peter Cizmich

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jean

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janice Sheufelt

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Duval

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Zepf

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meag Serious

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

  20. 4 out of 5

    Judith Penhiter

  21. 4 out of 5

    Zack Wolfe

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bob Cox

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

  24. 4 out of 5

    Selsabil Azizi

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Peters

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chris

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