Between Worlds: Interpreters, Guides, and Survivors
by Frances Karttunen
Rutgers University Press, 1994
eISBN: 978-0-8135-5526-3 | Cloth: 978-0-8135-2030-8
Library of Congress Classification P306.9.K37 1994
Dewey Decimal Classification 418.020922


Spanning the globe and the centuries, Frances Karttunen tells the stories of sixteen men and women who served as interpreters and guides to conquerors, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, and anthropologists. These interpreters acted as uncomfortable bridges between two worlds; their own marginality, the fact that they belonged to neither world,underscores the complexity and tension between cultures meeting for the first time. The interpreters include:

o Do–a Marina (La Malinche), who interpreted for Cortes in the conquest of Mexico

o Sacajawea, who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition

o Sarah Winnemucca, a U.S. army scout and Washington lobbyist for the Northern Paiutes

o Gaspar Antonio Chi, Maya Interpreter General for Yucatan

o Guaman Poma de Ayala,  eyewitness reporter of the destruction of Inca culture

o Charles Eastman, a Sioux physician at Wounded Knee

o Larin Paraske, an informant for Finnish ethnographers

o Do–a Luz Jimenez, Diego Rivera’s model and a native informant to anthropologists

o Mar’a Sabina, the Mazatec mushroom shaman who became a celebrity in the drug culture    of the 1960s

o Ishi, the last surviving Yahi Indian.


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