Presentation on theme: "“La Relacion” “The Account” Cabeza de Vaca. WHAT IS IT? This account was originally written in 1537 to the king of Spain as a report of Cabeza de Vaca’s."— Presentation transcript:
“La Relacion” “The Account” Cabeza de Vaca
WHAT IS IT? This account was originally written in 1537 to the king of Spain as a report of Cabeza de Vaca’s explorations. It is an historic, anthropological document. (In Texas alone Cabeza de Vaca named and located 23 Native American groups and their clothes, language, eating habits, rituals, homes and migrations.)
What else? On another level it is literature, told with the style of a storyteller. It is actually a forerunner of much of the land’s greatest literature. Cabeza de Vaca was the first Southwestern writer. (America has been a country of frontiers, and many of our literary heroes have been wanderers and journeyers.)
Reviewing Cabeza de Vaca’s personal history, it would seem natural that he would become a a significant historical figure. Born to the aristocracy, he descended from militaristic individuals, such as Pedro de Vera, his grandfather (Hall). As a teenager, he became a “respected veteran” after serving in the army for Spain (Hall). He was eventually designated as treasurer and second in command of the 1527 Narvaez expedition to the New World (Hall).
The Panfilo de Narvaez Expedition In its quest to establish a colony along the regions of the Gulf of Mexico, the Narvaez expedition was nearly destroyed by a hurricane in Cuba. During the six months in Florida the members of the expedition suffered from diseases, desertion, and hostile Native Americans. They somehow managed to push out again and head west.
“They headed south, then turned inland, living with the natives, eating straw, roots, worms, spiders, and bitter fruits and nuts, practicing the art of healing, and moving on, often accompanied by Indian guides and well-wishers. In late January of 1536, they met up with a party of Spanish soldiers on a slaving expedition and prevented their old countrymen from enslaving their new ones- their Pima Indian escorts” (Hall).
Their barges lost, eighty men suffered cold, hunger, disease, drowning, injuries and cannibalism, leaving only fifteen men alive. After six years, Cabeza de Vaca and three other survivors began their journey anew.
JULY 1536 The four arrived in Mexico City as heroes.
Unexpected Humanitarian Cabeza de Vaca, the career soldier whose grandfather was the “merciless dictator” of the Canary Islands, ironically became an advocate for the Native Americans (Hall).During his seven years in the Southwest, he fulfilled the role of healer, trader,slave and preacher. He managed to put an end to the Spanish slave raids in Sonora and Sinoloa (Hall).
From the Native Viewpoint Cabeza de Vaca and his wanderers had come ‘from the sunrise,’ while the Spanish slave hunters had come ‘from the sunset’. The wanderers had ‘healed the sick’ while the hunters had ‘killed the sound’. The wanderers came ‘naked and barefoot,’ while the hunters came clothed, horsed, and lanced. The wanderers ‘coveted nothing’ but gave what they were given, while the hunters ‘robbed whomever they found and bestowed nothing on anyone’.
SOURCE MATERIAL Text by Michael Hall. This originally appeared in No Traveler Remains Untouched: Journeys and Transformations in the American Southwest, a traveling exhibition sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Southwest Texas State University, 1995.
VOCABULARY VERBS… Comply- to obey another’s command, request, rule or wish. Placate- to soothe another’s feelings Ingratiate- to gain another’s favor by deliberate effort Inundate- to cover with water; to overwhelm Lament- to grieve, wail
Beseech – to implore, beg Scoff- to mock, dismiss Embody- to represent in bodily form Cauterize- to burn or sear to destroy abnormal tissue ONE NOUN! Infirmity- a sickness or weakness