The Interpreter: A Story of Two Worlds
A vivid narrative of the clash of cultures on the colonial New York frontier, The Interpreter tells the story of a master shaman and his twin apprentices—the Mohawk dreamer called Island Woman and the young immigrant Conrad Weiser—who become critical players in their two peoples’ struggle for survival. Island Woman will grow to become mother of the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk nation and a revered atetshents (dream healer). Conrad, transported to North America with the Palatine German refugees from the wars in Europe, helps lead his people’s rebellion against the abuses of colonial governors and magnates. Sent to live among the Mohawk, he learns their language and their dreamways, is able to build bridges between communities, and later rises to fame in Pennsylvania as an indispensable Indian interpreter.
In the Mohawk language, the word for interpreter, sakowennakarahtats, speaks of a person who can transplant something from one soil to grow in another. The Interpreter is such a book. Through its pages, we are able to find ourselves in another time, and in other worlds. We accompany the Four Indian Kings on their 1710 visit to London to see the Queen; they were not kings in their own matriarchal society, but they included Hendrick, the redoubtable warrior who later instructed Ben Franklin that he must urge the colonists to unite in a confederacy on the Iroquois model. We travel with Vanishing Smoke, the Bear dreamer, on his journey into the afterlife. And we learn, with Island Woman and Conrad, how we can travel across time as well as space in shamanic lucid dreaming, and guide souls to where they belong.
In his new preface, Robert Moss describes how his Cycle of the Iroquois—Fire Along the Sky, The Firekeeper, and The Interpreter—began with dreams and visions in which an ancient Iroquois arendiwanen (woman of power) insisted on teaching him in her own language, until he was obliged to learn it.
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Albany arms blood Bloodroot Boaz body Bratt Brother Friedsam brought called camp clanmother Cloud Singer Confederacy Conrad Weiser dance death dream dreambody dreamer earth enemy English eyes face father felt fire Five Nations Four Kings Franck Freddie French Indians Fruitpicker German Governor Hunter Greta hand head heart Hendrick Forked Paths inside Iroquois Island Woman Johann Weiser Joncaire Kidd Kidd’s killed knew land Lenape live Livingston Manor London Longhair looked Mackie Mahican man’s Mohawk Moon Shadow mother moved native never newcomers Nicholas Nicholson night Onondaga Palatines Peter Schuyler promised Queen Real Redhawk remember river Robert Hunter Robert Livingston Robert Moss Schoharie Schuyler Seth Seth’s shaman shapeshifted sister skin sleep smell Snowsnake soul spirits spoke Swatana Talldeer tell things timber wolf Tobias told trade valley Vanishing Smoke walk Wampanoag warriors watched White Village wolf women woods