Un Amérindien parmi nous: venez faire connaissance avec Aaron Carr
Ce jeudi 7 décembre 2023, les élèves de Terminales en spécialité LLCE Anglais
ont eu l’occasion de rencontrer Aaron Carr, écrivain Amérindien.
Petit résumé en Anglais de cette belle rencontre, réalisé par nos élèves …
1. AARON CARR’s LIFE
Aaron Carr is one of the descendants of the Navajo tribe but also Laguna-Pueblo as his father came from this tribe. He was born in Denver, Colorado in 1963. He spent his entire childhood in New Mexico, in the reservation of Laguna Pueblo. Nowadays, he lives in Bordeaux with his two daughters, who are also raised with the American culture and the values of Navajo’s traditions. He studied Psychology in New Mexico where he developed his writing skills. He has been in France for over ten years and he is teaching English for middle scholars.
He takes pleasure in sharing his knowledge and his stories about his culture and career so he is used to travel around the surroundings of Bordeaux and speaking in front of groups or classes.
2. HIS JOB
Aaron Carr is a Native American writer and also a scholar who has worked with National Geographic in order to create a documentary. He also published the novel « Eye Killer » in 1995. In his book, Aaron combines his Native American culture with a classic European vampire story, which makes a reference to the title inspired by a native myth. The conception of the novel lasted three years. This is an homage to his culture because writing « Eye killers » reminds him of his grand-father. His passion for writing came when he was young, he loved reading books which influenced his love for writing. When he is writing he likes to listen to music. Indeed he has a playlist for each character. He rather writes in the afternoon. His community read his book and was interested in his way of telling the story. He would like to see his book turned into a movie because it was supposed to be one as he was primarily writing a script. Finally he wants to write a sequel to his book but he’s already working on a book of a Native American living in France with more personal touches.
3. HIS CULTURE
Aaron Carr grew up within two different Native-American cultures : the Navajo and Laguna Pueblo.
Nevertheless he grew up with his mom who was Najavo, that is why he is more influenced by his mother culture. In this culture, Nature is a big part of their beliefs ;
this is a matriarchal culture. They have beautiful values as respecting everybody, not being angry and not being resentful to people. He showed us a part of his culture by introducing himself in Navajo language and then showing us pictures of traditional clothes.
He explained to us one of their tradition which is ‘Kinaalda’ : it is a ceremony for girls once they turn 13. It consists of them running long distances many times a day for 4 days. This serves as a way to celebrate the maturity of girls in the Navajo tribe. A ceremony for the boys exists as well but it only lasts one night.
He also talked about an important figure which is the Spider Woman. She is a killer and makes the dream catcher which catches some nightmares.
Moreover, he also told us about The Long Walk of the Navajo that they call « Hweeldi ». It begins in 1864 to 1868. It was the relocation of the Navajo tribe which forced them to leave their homes.
4. NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE US
Finally, we also talk more generally about the Native Americans in the US.
Lots of Natives were forced to live in reservations following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
A reservation is an area of land selected by the US government for Natives where they can have their own law but they are still under the Federal rule. We also talked about celebrating Thanksgiving as a Native, the representation of Natives in the film industry and the notion of historical trauma. It was very interesting to see that there was no feeling of resentment as he was taught to be respectful and not to feel anger regarding the past.
To conclude, Aaron Carr taught us a lot of things about the Native-American culture and it was a meaningful experience for all of us 😊