The Soul Would Have No Rainbow if the Eyes Had No Tears and Other Native American Proverbs, by Guy A. Zona ISBN 0671797301
Four out of five stars
All major groups of humans have a collection of proverbs, some of the wise sayings are thousands of years old. For example, Aesop’s fables are thought to be over 2,500 years old. It is likely that many or most of the proverbs in this collection are that old, verbally passed down from generation to generation.
Many of them reflect the Native American reverence for the land and nature, attempting to coexist with the world rather than conquer and subjugate it. While the sayings are good, they do not capture an essential component of the Native Americans, the fact that tribes waged war on each other. For example, some of the proverbs on the back cover are:
“Why will you take by force what you may obtain by love?”
“A sin against a neighbor is an offense against the Great Spirit.”
“If he is as wise as a serpent, he can be gentle as a dove.”
Students of history know that one of the reasons the white man was so successful against the Native Americans is that various tribes had centuries of history of warfare against each other. In that respect, this book is misleading.