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The Way to Rainy Mountain

by: N. Scott Momaday Ethan Posey
by

Ethan Posey

on 29 October 2012

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Transcript of The Way to Rainy Mountain

The Way to Rainy Mountain A Journey through Kiowa legends and Tribal History After Tai-me In the Beginning By N. Scott Momaday Born: 27 February 1934 Graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in 1963 House Made of Dawn His Novel won him the the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969 He is the founding father of Native American Literature Member of the Kiowa Tribe "For the Kiowas the beginning was a struggle for existence in the bleak northern mountains." (Momaday, 3)

"Tai-me came to the Kiowas in a vision born of suffering and despair. 'Take me with you,' Tai-me said, "and I will give you whatever you want.' And it was so." (4)

"In one sense, then, the way to Rainy Mountain is preeminently the history of an idea, man's idea of himself... What remains is fragmentary: mythology, legend, lore, and hearsay, and of course the idea itself, as crucial and complete as it ever was. That is the miracle." (4) The Kiowas lived in the great plains of the United States, there history is a history of migration, the people moved down from the mountains to live in the Great Plains.

Tai-me is their god, or at one point a savior in there histories. The Way to Rainy Mountain is a written account of the oral history of the Kiowa people, that includes drawn representations of the stories, drawn by Al Momaday. Illustrated by: Al Momady The Traveler, The Elder, The Researcher The Traveler The Elder The Researcher Three Narrators The narrator of the introduction, he introduces the Kiowas to the reader, including his grandmother, who recently passed away. After her death he goes on an Kiowan Pilgrimage to Rainy Mountain, a ritualistic Kiowan site. He Could possibly be the author Momaday himself. The Grandmother of the Traveler she tells the oral histories and legends of her people. She provides the spiritual guidance to the traveler on his pilgrimage through his memory of her stories. Provides the reader with historical accounts of the Kiowas. He walks the traveler through the historical accounts of the Kiowas, and connects the elders stories to historical facts. The Travelers Path "Although my grandmother lived out her life in the shadow of Rainy Mountain, the immense landscape of the continental interior lay like memory in her blood. She could tell of the Crows, whom she had never seen, and of the Black Hills, where she had never seen." (7) I wanted to see in reality what she had seen more perfectly in the mind's eye, and traveled fifteen hundred miles to begin my pilgrimage." (7) "I remember coming out upon the northern Great Plains in the late spring. There were meadows of blue and yellow wild-flowers on the slopes, and I could see the still, sunlit plain below, reaching away out of sight." (17) "Before there were horses the Kiowas had need of dogs. That was a long time ago, when dogs could talk. There was a man who lived alone; he had been thrown away, and he made his camp here and there on the high ground." (20) "The Sun's child was big enough to walk around on the earth, and he saw a camp nearby. He made his way to it and saw that a great spider - that which is called grandmother - lived there. The spider spoke to the sun's child, and the child was afraid." (26) "They called themselves Kwuda and later Tepda, both of which mean 'coming out.' And later still they took the name Gaigwu, a name which can be taken to indicate something of which the two halves differ from each other in appearance." (17) "This is one of the oldest memories of the tribe. There have been reports of a people in the Northwest who speak a language that is similar to Kiowa." (19) Before Tai-Me "They lived at first in the mountains. They did not know of Tai-me, but this is what they knew: There was a man and his wife. They had a beautiful child, a little girl." (22) "A piece of earth fell from the root, and she could see her people far below. By that time she had given birth; she had a child - a boy by the sun." (24) "The Grandmother spider told him never to throw the ring into the sky, but one day he threw it up, and it fell squarely on top of his head and cut him in two. He looked around and there was another boy." (30) "And after that the grand-mother spider died. The twins wrapped her in a hide and covered her with leaves by the water. The twins lived for a long time, and they were greatly honored among the Kiowas." (34) These are all quotes from the elder, that tell origin stories of her people. All these stories before Tai-me seem to be formation stories. They connect to Kiowas to the sun, and the sun represents the father of the Kiowas. The mother is a woman from the tribe, and her child is the son of the sun. The child's mother is killed, and he is raised by a grandmother, he then becomes two people. They become respected members of the Kiowas. "'Why are you following me? What do you want?' The man was afraid. The thing standing before him had the feet of a deer, and its body was covered with feathers. The man answered that the Kiowas were hungry. 'Take me with you,' the voice said, 'and I will give you whatever you want.' From that day Tai-me has belonged to the Kiowas."

"The great central figure of the kado, or Sun Dance, ceremony is the taime. This is a small image, less than 2 feet in length, representing a human figure dressed in a robe of white feathers, with a headress consisting of a single upright feather and pendants of ermine skin." (37) Mammedaty Tai-me came to the Kiowas as a savior, a bringer of food and prosperity. His image becomes integral in the sun dances of the Kiowas. They worship the sun, and worship Tai-me as a part of the sun, or a gift from the sun. "Mammedaty was a peyote man, and he was therefore distinguished be these things: a necklace of beans, a beaded staff and rattle, an eagle-bone whistle, and a fan made from the feathers of a water bird." (39) Mammedaty saw four things that were truly remarkable. This head of the child was one, and the tracks of the water beast another. Once, when he walked near a pecan grove, he saw three small alligators on a log.... One day Mammedaty was sitting quietly when a mole came out of the earth.... then blew fine dark earth out of its mouth. " (73) Mammedaty was a great warrior and leader of the Kiowas, he seemed to have lived during the golden age of the Kiowas when they roamed the plains free, but he was also alive during the time of the american colonialists who moved through the west.

Many of the stories in the book speak of his acts and how he affected Kiowan culture. He was a mixture of a medicine man and a warrior, he was revered amongst the Kiowas. "A hundred-year-old woman came to my grandmother's house one afternoon in July. Aho was dead; Mammedaty had died before I was born. There were very few Kiowas who could remember the Sun Dances; Ko-sahn was one of them." (86)

"Everything is ready.
Now the four societies must go out.
The must go out and get the leaves,
the branches for the lodge." (86) The End Rainy Mountain Cemetery

"Most is your name the name of this dark stone.
Deranged in death, the mind to be inheres
Forever in the nominal unknown,
The wake of nothing audible he hears
Who listens here and now to hear your name.

The early sun, red as a hunter's moon,
Runs in the plain. The mountain burns and shines;
And silence is the long approach of noon
Upon the shadow that your name defines-
And death this cold, black density of stone."
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