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Deer, the Star Catcher and Woman Bringer
By Richard Arling Marshall
The story is of a young Chahta-Choctaw boy’s odyssey into manhood prior to the European discovery of the Americas. The young man Issi, Deer, lives at Nanih Wayia, the Chahta “Mother Site,” Winston County, Mississippi. Throughout the story, Issi shows a great deal of character as he nears adulthood, mixing the real world with the spirit world.
In a cross-cultural way, the story is a kind of imaginary time travel, where people lived quite differently from us, yet were as human and as loving, having the same feelings and hopes but expressing and achieving them with different thoughts and actions. They are referred as the Oklafihna and the Chito, meaning the Great People. The Oklafihna are a village and community, and a part of the greater collegium of peoples later known as the Chahta. Within the story are brief glimpses of the people, the geographic place, and the environment. The story is a fictional adventure, placed primarily in Mississippi and the adjacent states.
Comments on the ethnographic customs and descriptions of daily living and activities are based upon the written literature, enhanced by the writer’s personal interpretations of the Southeastern United States Indians and their archaeology, and imagination. Many places referenced are actual, though little known. Brief historical comment is made of places when important to the understanding of the story and place. The story hopefully builds a believably real and acceptable construct of Issi’s time, place, and adventure, mixed with the spirit world. Moderate use of Chahta words throughout the story lend authenticity.
About the Author
Richard Arling Marshall has spent more than fifty years as a teacher and archeologist. Born in 1928 in Belen, New Mexico, he grew up in Missouri, graduating with a bachelor’s in art and science and obtained a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
After 1966 the author was associated with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Cobb Institute of Archaeology, Mississippi State University, as professor of anthropology, and conducted research and salvage archaeology and Cultural Resource Surveys throughout that state. He retired in 1994 as associate professor of anthropology emeritus. The author’s wife is Helen Justine Noe, formerly of Lilbourn, Missouri. Together they have two daughters and five grandchildren.
(2013, Paperback, 568 pages)