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Fools Crow

The tribal status of White Man’s Dog, as it were in the beginning of Fools Crow, was certainly not as he desired it to be.Due to the position of wealth his father had risen to, it seems the tribe expected much from him.Welch does not go into great detail concerning the views of the tribes people on White Man’s Dog, but Yellow Kidney describes him on page 7 as having “much heart but (being) unlucky”[1].
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It is true, being eight-teen without a wife and having only three horses, none of which being block horn runners; White Man’s Dog does in fact appear unlucky.

However, Yellow Kidney plays a major role in the reversal of this luck. White Man’s Dog has a complete turn in tribal status, earning a wife and horses as well as a new identity with in the tribe. Dreams are a constant theme in Fools Crow. Many different characters have dreams, and each responds differently to them. During the journey to the Crow Raid, White Man’s Dog has a dream about naked women desiring him, but fears danger if he goes. He wants to inform Yellow Kidney of this dream put hesitates due to advice he had received from his father.

In the end this was a costly decision, as the dream comes to fruition during the raid, not White Man’s Dog, but for Yellow Kidney. Turns-out the alarm for risk was valid, as Yellow Kidney gets very sick from his encounter with the Crow Women. When news of White Mans Dog feels responsible[2] for this outcome. During this same raid, Fast Horse also has a dream. Fast Horse is prideful and boasts of his dream, which turned out to not come true. Fast Horse was greatly humiliated by this and seemed to have his future driven by it. The most consequential dream was had by Mik-api.

In this dream, Mik-api spoke to Raven about Wolverine who was trapped, and needed White Man’s Dog to help him. This dream did in fact come to realization and resulted in White Man’s Dog gaining confidence and his ‘medicine’. As a result of White Man’s Dog realizing his new inner strength, he was able to take part in war against the Crows. This battle would prove life changing for White Man’s Dog as it would be where he earned his new name; Fools Crow. His great modesty made acceptance of his new name very difficult. The meaning behind it had been stretched greatly out of its real context.

During battle, White Man’s Dog played dead, fooling the Crow Chief, Bull Shield. Because Bull Shield assumed White Man’s Dog was indeed dead, it was possible for him to spring up and kill the chief. This account was, as I said, greatly inflated and reported that, with use of medicine, White Man’s Dog was able to fool all the crows, thus earning his new name Fools Crow. As I have read through all the tales and recounts contained in the many great pieces of Native American Literature, one theme has stood out to me more than anything else.

Maybe it is due to my admiration for nature, but it seems all tribes made great attempts to both explain natural events and create an association of these events with human life. Welch clearly depicts the Blackfoot people as being of this same mind frame. The names and life given to the wind, the sun and various animals’ reports on their own view of the world they live in. The relationship a male Blackfoot has with “his animal” shows this relationship between humans and nature.

This disposition, of a human and nature link, shows the worldview of this tribe clearly as an all-encompassing outlook. They undoubtedly see the world as one big union, everything being linked to one another. The walk I took with White Man’s Dog, growing and changing into Fools Crow was an intense one to say the least. James Welch has the uncanny ability to connect reader to character and I feel as if Fools Crow and I have a bond, as if he and his story have been made alive with in the many nights I’ve spent with him.

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