October 24, 2008

Genuine Quileute lore

Some genuine Quileute lore from the Quileute Nation's website:

Look at the words--Quileute Words and Phrases

Raven Tales

Neither of these files is supposed to be complete or definitive. But what strikes me is how the contents bear no resemblance whatsoever to the historical names or legends in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books.

Raven Tales includes a list of Quileute monsters. Among them are giants that someone could mistake for a Sasquatch. But I don't see anything resembling a "spirit warrior," werewolf, or vampire.

As for the Quileute language, it doesn't even use the same alphabet as English. I can't reproduce the words here because the software can't handle the nonstandard characters. So "genuine" Quileute names should look and sound a lot stranger than "Kaheleha" or "Taha Aki."

Once again, I sense that Meyer borrowed the wolf-into-man concept and invented everything else. In other words, her "genuine" legends are anything but.

For more on the subject, see Quileute Werewolves in Twilight.

Below:  A Quileute dancer represents a spirit being that isn't a werewolf.

7 comments:

dmarks said...

"Once again, I sense that Meyer borrowed the wolf-into-man concept and invented everything else. In other words, her "genuine" legends are anything but."

I agree. It would not take much for her to rewrite the legend parts in the "Twilight" series to make them authentic for future editions.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Meyer should reerite the ledgends, because they play a huge and vital part throughout the series. After all, the book is fictional and centers around vampires and werewolves, so I don't think many people look up their facts there. Also, the very make of a fictional book is inventing whatever you want and outside the story the ledgends are not claimed to be fact.

dmarks said...

Anon: It would not be challenge at all for Meyer to have made the Quileute parts a lot more authentic, without changing one bit of the story.

"so I don't think many people look up their facts there."

Books that mention old legends like this usually have me going to the encyclopedia, Google, or other sources.

"Also, the very make of a fictional book is inventing whatever you want"

No, it is not. Not at all. What makes fiction resonate is that much of what is written is true. It all falls apart if the author gives no attention to detail and the work ends up being grounded in nothing.

Consider the movie "Gladiator", which you might have seen. They tried to base it on real Roman history. What wasn't based on history was likely a combination of carelessness, and places where they *had* to bend things to make the story work, as with the fictional Emperor.

Do you honestly think that "Gladiator" would have worked if they had given no attention at all to Roman authenticity, and the characters had names like "Bob" and "Skipper", they suited up in armor and jousted, used phasers as weapons, and all lived and fought in pyramids?

StupidLamb213 said...

Who cares.
True or not.
It is an amazing book.
It gives people something to hope for.
Some people want to believe that theres and Indian tribe that morphs into wolves and fight vampires.
That is an escape for some people.
It makes people happy.
Who are to insult her in such a way.

"Also, the very make of a fictional book is inventing whatever you want"

It is.
Thats why it's fiction.
You make it WHATEVER you want.
She did an incredible job.
So drop it and just read the books.
Enjoy the fiction now, worry about the facts later.

Antigone said...

I am not a fan of the books and I don't dispute Meyer's lack of knowledge of Washington's tribal cultures, but I do have to grant her that (according to the "history" section of the website you cited) she did not make up the "wolf into man" lore. Quote from the website: "According to their ancient creation story, the Quileutes were changed from wolves by a wandering Transformer." This is, of course, very different from a werewolf story, but I can see where she got her idea from.

twixxell said...

I'd just like to say that Meyer mentions this in her FAQ on her website. She admits to having made up everything about the legends besides the part about the Quileutes descending from wolves. And it's not fair to not be able to follow a train of inspiration that is born from something real; each and every author is entitled to writing whatever they feel. She even mentions on her website that when she was first writing Twilight, she didn't intend to publish it. She was writing it for herself. So she was perfectly entitled to do whatever she wanted with her storyline. Besides, if everyone stuck to history exactly, then the world would be boring. Because I'm quite sure that dmarks doesn't really believe that the Quileutes REALLY came from wolves or had spirit warriors, and so their history would not be nearly as mysterious or intriguing if they hadn't invented their own legends. That's where diversity plays a role.

Sure, fiction grounded in fact makes for a more believable story, but it can't be all fact, or it wouldn't be fantasy. It would all be historical fiction. Big difference there. And whoever ALWAYS looks up historical references when reading a novel...you're just weird.

Rob said...

Re "She admits to having made up everything about the legends besides the part about the Quileutes descending from wolves": I've looked through Meyer's official website, particularly the FAQs. I didn't see her making any distinction between the legends based on "genuine Quileute stories" and the legends she made up. Send me the specific URL for this "admission" so I can check it out.

Re "Some people want to believe that there's an Indian tribe that morphs into wolves and fight vampires": Some people want to think of Indians stereotypically.

Re "Who are [you] to insult her in such a way": Who do I have to be to criticize her writing? I have two master's degrees and have studied Indians for almost 20 years. What are Meyer's credentials to write one word about Indians? Being a wife and mother with spare time on her hands?

Re "the very make of a fictional book is inventing whatever you want": Apparently you Twihards can't handle the fact that people learn about Indians from the media, including fiction based on "genuine stories" such as Twilight. That you're ignorant of this reality doesn't change the reality.

DMarks was correct on this point and you're not, Twihards. Why don't you stop ignoring the point and start addressing it? Repeat: "What makes fiction resonate is that much of what is written is true."

Re "So drop it and just read the books": No. You drop your whining about my criticism. I don't plan to stop, so your choices are to love it or leave it. Period.

Re "I can see where she got her idea from": I can see where she got it from too. Meyer took the Quileute creation myth without permission and changed it almost beyond recognition. The result is the umpteenth portrayals of Indians as mystical, close to nature, and animal-like.

Re "each and every author is entitled to writing whatever they feel": Legally, you're not entitled to libel people. Morally, you're not entitled to write falsely about people and further the ignorance about them.

If authors are entitled to write whatever they feel, so are critics. If you don't like it, tough. Get over your childlike worship of Meyer and start thinking critically.