Huckleberrying - Eye Juggling Method:

an application to the Burnt Face Story

a narrative oral traditions from the Apsáalooke (Crow Indians)

From Tom Yellowtail - recorded Stories That Make the World pp.108-122



- identify any distinctive segments of the story text, for example, by scene, action and/or key characters

- identify any unique, distinct, repetitious, and/or binary-paired key symbols (as an oral narrative, repetition is readily apparent)

- consider the text (what is being stated), as well as the texture (how it is being stated) and the context (historical and cultural background)

- also consider other Eye Juggling techniques and methods

- then offer your own interpretation of the meaning and significance of this narrative, attempting to do so from the perspective of an Indian elder.


- as part of your interpretation, reflect on why Tom Yellowtail might have selected this story as his most cherished, and wanted it past down to his future grandkids?

- as part of your interpretation, reflect on how this story might be used to address a challenge in one's life, such as a dealing with cancer or some other illness?

- as part of your interpretation, reflect on the reality of this story.  How and in what ways is it real?






1. First Scene: after geographical location established, in camp, children and "young lad" chasing each other, pushed into "bonfire," and burns himself "pretty badly," he is ridiculed and lives apart from the camp

- Key symbols?  

- Context: disfigurement prevents one from reaching the full potential as an adult (a Crow Indian cultural value)

- Interpretation?






2. Second Scene: journeys to mountains to seek a vision, assembles a "medicine wheel," and goes without food and water

- Key symbols?

- Context: importance of the circle and great medicine wheel, and the symbolic meanings that inform so many aspects of the Indian way of life. 

- Context: need to "journey," move out of society, and make a sacrifice, giving up something of tremendous worth and value, in order to receive something back and overcome an orphan status (a wide-spread religious notion, shared by Crow and many other religious traditions)

- Interpretation?






3. Third Scene: visited by Little People, receives medicine and removes disfigurement 

- Key symbols?

- Interpretation?






4. Fourth Scene: Burnt Face returns to his family and his people, re-tells his story, and becomes a medicine man and chief

- Key symbols?

- Context: in the spiritual realm, in the "wilderness," our greatest needs can be potentially answered (a wide-spread religious notion, shared by Crow and many other religious traditions)

- Interpretation?





5.  How is this story real?  In what ways does it reflect phenomenal reality?


Why might this story be so cherished by Tom?


How might the story assist in a healing journey?





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