[AIW] Herbert: Lewis: Oneida Lives [Book]

AIW - Bartl bartl at american-indian-workshop.org
Thu Jul 21 12:26:21 CEST 2011



I see that you have been announcing recent publications and you have given
me an idea:


My recent book -- isn't quite so recent. It was published in 2005 by
University of Nebraska Press but the editor left the press just then and the
book never got proper advertising. If it is not too late I would like to get
word out about it. It is a unique volume because in it almost 60 Wisconsin
Oneida men and women speak about their lives--from about 1885 until 1942.


Here is some material about it:  



Wisconsin Oneida Indians Speak of Their Lives

Friends Newsletter Fall 2005 vol. 3 no. 2

|  <http://csumc.wisc.edu/?q=node/86> Director's Column |
<http://csumc.wisc.edu/?q=node/87> Documentary Discs |
<http://csumc.wisc.edu/?q=node/88> Wisconsin Folksong Digital Colletction |
<http://csumc.wisc.edu/?q=node/89> NHPRC Regional Survey |
|  <http://csumc.wisc.edu/?q=node/90> Oneida Narratives |
<http://csumc.wisc.edu/?q=node/91> Ja, de elsker |

Wisconsin Oneida Indians Speak of Their Lives

By Herbert Lewis

"For the last two years I have been working on the Oneida Language Project,
sponsored by the University of Wisconsin here in Oneida. I am very much
interested in my work. We are writing all kinds of Indian stories, jokes,
and the Oneida history. Someday I hope to see it published in books so that
the people can read it and find out for themselves what Oneida people really
are--bad or good." Guy Elm

Guy Elm was one of about a dozen men and women of the Oneida Nation of
Wisconsin who were employed on two unusual WPA projects from late 1938
through early 1942. While most of the Oneidas who worked on these
depression-era public works programs built roads or labored in quarries, Guy
and his colleagues interviewed their families and friends and recorded their
stories, autobiographical narratives, and observations about Oneida life and
history. They translated those interviews that were taken down in the Oneida
language into English and added accounts of their own. By the time the
project came to an end shortly after the start of World War II they had
filled more than two-hundred stenographers' notebooks with well over 20, 000
pages of precious information. Much of the material was set aside and
forgotten. The book Guy Elm hoped to see would not appear for more than 60

The Oneida Language and Folklore Project was conceived and set up by Morris
Swadesh, an anthropological linguist at the University of Wisconsin in
Madison, and was directed by an undergraduate student, Floyd Lounsbury, who
later became a professor at Yale University and a leading expert on American
Indian languages. The material from this research was well known and has
been widely used for the study of their language by the Oneida themselves
and by linguists interested in American Indian languages since it was first
collected. The second project, the Oneida Ethnological Study, had a
different fate; the notebooks resulting from the work done from October 1940
to March 1942 were put in a large carton and left in the storeroom of the
anthropology department. They rested there until I had the extraordinary
good fortune to find them in 1998. 

The one-hundred and sixty-seven notebooks in the carton contained remarkable
accounts by more than two-hundred women and men, from elders in their
ninety's to a few (young) people in their thirties. The narratives cover the
spectrum of human activity including birth, death, sex, child-rearing,
marriage and family life, schooling, economic activity and survival in hard
times, belief and religion, sports, recreation, and more. They are told
frankly, often with wit, gumption, and style. This long-hidden treasure is
now available to be appreciated both for the stories themselves and for the
value of the whole for research into the modern history and social and
cultural life of the Oneidas.

Since its discovery, photocopies of all the material from the Oneida
Ethnological Study have been made available to the Oneida Nation. Those
Oneidas and other researchers who want to consult the original notebooks
(and other material, such as hand-drawn maps), can find them at the
<http://www.browncohistoricalsoc.org/links.html> Area Research Center of the
Wisconsin Historical Society on the campus of the University of
Wisconsin-Green Bay. And the first book drawing upon the narratives has just
been published. Oneida Lives: Long-Lost Voices of the Wisconsin Oneidas (
<http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/bookinfo/4899.html> University of Nebraska
Press) contains sixty-five autobiographical accounts by fifty-three men and
women, representing perhaps ten percent of the total material from the

In the narratives, long-lost voices of Wisconsin Oneida men and women are
heard once again, presenting a picture of all aspects of Oneida Indian life
from the 1880s, before the Dawes Allotment Act, through World War I and the
Great Depression, to the beginning of World War II. Aside from their value
for research, the stories themselves are often remarkable and beautifully
told-and probably quite different from what people will expect. These
accounts add a new dimension to our knowledge of the cultures of the Upper
Midwest, illuminating the experiences of a group of American Indians whose
history is quite different from that of most others in Wisconsin. 

Herbert S. Lewis, Emeritus Professor, with the Department of Anthropolgy at
University of Wisconsin Madison.



And here is the Amazon site:




Thanks, and best wishes,


Herb Lewis






























On Jul 20, 2011, at 4:45 AM, AIW - Bartl wrote:

Riding Shotgun into the Promised Land


Something like a novel by John Purdy





"This SOB shouldn't be allowed near paper . . ."

                                                           John Gutenberg,


"Too many words . . . "

                                                           E. Hemingway,


"Yet another sign of the malaise into which publishing has fallen . . ."

                                                           R. Murdock,
concerned citizen


"If he lived down here, he'd be dragged into a parking lot and shot like a
rabid dog . . ."

                                                           W. Faulkner,
Count Nocount


"And this is the best we can expect from the colonies?"

                                                           Q. Elizabeth II,
public employee



"Quirky characters whose actions reveal the odd twists and turns of the
American character in the latter 20th century, and today."


Available at virtual realities near your computer:




Or buy locally:




keywords=john+lloyd+purdy&x=0&y=0> &field-keywords=john+lloyd+purdy&x=0&y=0




Good Thoughts

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