Where the Lightning Strikes: The Lives of American Indian Sacred Places by ProQuest


In his opening declaration Nabokov explains: I wrote to establish the pre-Christian origins of religion in North America, to give readers a sense of the diversity of American Indian spiritual practices by focusing on beliefs related to different American environments, to remind them of the profound affection and affiliation that many Indians felt and still feel toward this American earth and to illustrate the persistence and feelings against great odds, (xi) At the outset Nabokov sets forth a series of definitions characteristic of Native American sacred geography (xii-xiii). In his earlier work, for instance, he describes a 1962 incident when he presumably stumbled upon a traditional Crow Tobacco Society ritual.1 His presumed accidental intrusion elicits the comment, "All I learned was that I had no business there" - an unsurprisingly similar reframe to his "interloper" status in Where the Lightning Strikes.2 Despite his explanations to the contrary, these seemingly innocent incidents of snooping, interloping, and bonding with a deceased Native scholar have the appearance of calculated deliberation that manifests a crass example of ethnic opportunism unworthy of this formidable scholar.

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