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No word for time: The way of the Algonquin people Paperback – Mar 12 2001

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Council Oak Books; [New ed.] edition (March 12 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157178103X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571781031
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.2 x 18.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #708,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Evan T. Pritchard is a descendant of the Miramichi branch of the Alqonquin Micmac people. The author of a wide variety of books, Evan is the founder of The Center for Algonquin Culture, and is currently Professor of Native American history at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he also teaches philosophy.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Evan T. Pritchard is of Micmac heritage, and he felt a passionate need to learn the ways of his ancestors. Which is why he went and found himself a Native Micmac teacher. This book is an attempt to explain to the rest of us some of what he learned, with special emphasis on the spiritual. I think it is particularly successful at helping us begin to grasp the traditional Native worldview.
This book is not written linearly, like a novel. It touches on a subject, circles around it for a while, and then comes back to address the same subject again in more depth. Micmac prayers move in this manner, circularly. And the rhythms of the earth and of traditional Native life are similary cyclical, moving around a center rather than progressing linearly like our concept of time from the past to an isolated future.
In response to a previous reviewer: Lack of linear time does not equal "primitive". On the contrary, I believe the author is actually trying to show us how much more *sophisticated* the Micmac view of life is than ours. If their sophistication is linguistic, spiritual, and philosophical rather than technological, then in my mind that makes it just that much more important.
This book seeks to immerse us in the worldview of a people whose wisdom we have long ignored, but that we now very much need. And it succeeds in this far better than any other book I have read. Rather than simply teaching us intellectually about the Micmac approach to life and spirituality, it helps us feel what it is like to see the world through Micmac eyes.
I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
The linguistics in this book are painfully bad. This guy knows nothing about Algonquian languages and can't even keep straight which one he's talking about. (There are more than 20, and each one is different. Algonquian is a language family like Indo-European. And by the way, the Mi'kmaq are NOT part of the Algonquin nation!) A Mohican man told me the author had made up some of the stuff in this book, despite some Mohicans trying to correct him. I believe it.
Of course, the book is mostly about spirituality, not linguistics, and that part may be much more valid. I wouldn't know--personally, I was too put off by the errors to finish the thing. If you don't care about languages you may like this book anyway. The writing style seems interesting. I just couldn't get past the gross inaccuracies in the one part I already knew something about.
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By A Customer on May 14 2003
Format: Paperback
I read and ordered Now Word for time, thinking it might be a scientific Anthropological study. Perhaps this pre-conception colored my judgement, because what I read seemed to be a philosophy book with which borders on New Age spiritualism.
The author describes his experiences study Algonquin traditions and makes several general statements on how the "Elders" act and feel. Many of these statements are so absolute, It makes me wonder... Do all the 'elder's' act/feel this way? What is the origin and purpose of these traditions? Is there a difference between the philosophy of the elders based on Gender? What about Gender rolls in Algonquin society? How do the non-elders feel? I was left curious about this.
Second, while I enjoyed some of the stories, I felt the author may leap to some conclusions based on experiences with a small group of people. Saying: "All Algonquin's behave a certain way-," is like saying: all Anglos eat fried rice on Tuesday..." it just seemed to generalized for me.
Third, I didn't really care for the first-person narrative: the author writes throughout the book "I have seen-" or "I-went" Or, "I did this." It just didn't seem to have the same impact as a third-person narrative.
Fourth: there was a distinct absence of footnotes, in the text. Chapters were slurred together with no particular order or purpose. Chapters starting off at the end of the paragraph of a previous chapter. I found this distracting.
Fifth: Finally, there is a certain 'pseudo-science' which I think can be misleading in this book. The author starts speculating that early native peoples were Neanderthal-like in appearance is incorrect.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa057a354) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa057fed0) out of 5 stars Notice to Readers About the New No Word For Time March 1 2001
By Evan Pritchard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I just wanted to notify readers that the new revised and expanded No Word For Time is coming out this week. It has a different ISBN number because of the new material. I have added a 17 page Afterword section that goes more into depth about time, and also what has happened to the people in the stories (including myself) since the book was published. In order to adapt to modern life, many Algonquin speaking people have adapted words to mean "time" but traditionalists have always made a strong point--to me at least--that "there is no word for time" in traditional ways of speaking. This fact is a metaphor for those who wish to make a distinction between themselves and what some call the "dominant" culture, although I am well aware that many Algonquin people don't want to hold on to this view, thinking that someone might call them primitive. To each their own. As I've said many times, I think that Einstein would have a deep appreciation of Algonquin concepts of time. The new edition also has a 20 page listing of different Algonquin nations and sub-tribes, listed by related language groupings. There are over 500 included, but it is far from complete. All My Relations! Evan Pritchard
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa057ff24) out of 5 stars response to critics of Evan's linguistic "errors" Sept. 24 2007
By bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Not knowing where your information regarding the linguistic "errors" comes from, I can't refute your claims. I can however defend his choices by clarifying how he came by them. Our family grew up infuenced by a dear aunt who loved, and lived, her NA ancestry. Not the way so many do now, learned from books, without personal knowledge or understanding, but by living with the earth and its creatures and following the few traditions she had been shown. Evan, as did many of us, followed in her footsteps, researched our ancestry, and Evan took it even further, by going to the NA people and asking for guidance, for knowledge, for truth. Perhaps his dictionary doesn't match yours, or his perceptions aren't what you see as "true", but he loves and lives his pride in our ancestry every day. I would take what he's written as his truth, as he was taught by those who are Miqmac, over any book written by an observing anthropolologist any day.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0580378) out of 5 stars Beautiful book of wisdom and a happier time March 9 2000
By amc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was really touched by this exploration of the Algonquin people and their history. It really brought home to me how cluttered our lives have become and that we need to take time out to appreciate the beauty in the world. The author's interaction with real Algonquin people showed in a very direct way the connection we can all have. If you liked the Four Agreements you'll love this book.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0580738) out of 5 stars Learn to understand a traditional Native world view Jan. 27 2003
By Rina Stevens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Evan T. Pritchard is of Micmac heritage, and he felt a passionate need to learn the ways of his ancestors. Which is why he went and found himself a Native Micmac teacher. This book is an attempt to explain to the rest of us some of what he learned, with special emphasis on the spiritual. I think it is particularly successful at helping us begin to grasp the traditional Native worldview.
This book is not written linearly, like a novel. It touches on a subject, circles around it for a while, and then comes back to address the same subject again in more depth. Micmac prayers move in this manner, circularly. And the rhythms of the earth and of traditional Native life are similary cyclical, moving around a center rather than progressing linearly like our concept of time from the past to an isolated future.
In response to a previous reviewer: Lack of linear time does not equal "primitive". On the contrary, I believe the author is actually trying to show us how much more *sophisticated* the Micmac view of life is than ours. If their sophistication is linguistic, spiritual, and philosophical rather than technological, then in my mind that makes it just that much more important.
This book seeks to immerse us in the worldview of a people whose wisdom we have long ignored, but that we now very much need. And it succeeds in this far better than any other book I have read. Rather than simply teaching us intellectually about the Micmac approach to life and spirituality, it helps us feel what it is like to see the world through Micmac eyes.
I highly recommend this book.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05806e4) out of 5 stars An alternative to western cultural perceptions June 21 2000
By Happily Retired - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In Ishmael (Daniel Quinn) we learned that Mother Culture provides us with an illusion that we grow in, learn in, and in which we ultimately believe that we must live. Thomas Cahill explained that contributing to that illusion is a Gift of the Jews, a linear concept of time that creates a world with a future in which individual destinies may be fulfilled. Pritchard describes an alternative to western culture's perception of human existence. It's an insight into the life of a people who weren't/aren't heir to that cultural gift of linear time. It is a spiritually uplifting read and provokes the reader to examine his or her own illusions and beliefs. e.g. Why DO I feel compelled to achieve incessantly new goals... Am I doing what I desire, or what is expected of me... Is success really found in achieving goals, or rather in the quality of living. If success is found is the quality of one's life, how would it then be described...


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