What is the meaning of "Blue Winds Dancing"? According to the narrator, what is wisdom?
The narrator of Thomas Whitecloud's story finds wisdom in the way his Wisconsin Chippewa people live. True wisdom comes from their outlook on life.
The narrator writes of life during the Great Depression of the 1930s. He is a college student, heading back home for Christmas. He compares white civilization to the values of his people.
He thinks, white people are always dissatisfied, living in a "race that knows no ending," introspecting, making nature captive, and wanting more and more things. White civilization means doing what you don't want and never finding time for what you do want to do. It means living next door to neighbors you don't know and don't care about. The narrator wonders why his culture is considered inferior.
In contrast, the narrator finds wisdom in the peace and calm of the Chippewa. They live in the present moment, they know how to share what they have with each other, they know how to sing, and they know how to make objects with their hands instead of buying them. They are not forever striving for a mountain when they have a hill: in other words, they are content with what they have.
Once home, the narrator finds wisdom in the happiness his people experience. They share a mood of joy and acceptance. In their wisdom, they understand they are all part of something universal.
The name of Thomas S. Whitecloud's short story is "Blue Winds Dancing," which represents an aspect of nature that the narrator associates with the Indian reservation in Wisconsin. Throughout the story, the narrator dreams of "blue winds dancing" over the mountains and trees. The blue color of the breeze depicts the pure, refreshing nature of the wind, which Whitecloud personifies by mentioning that it dances. The narrator comments that he can "feel" the wind, which gives the reader further insight into the symbolic meaning of the wind. The "blue wind dancing" essentially is the spirit of the narrator's tribe and a reflection of their reverence for nature. Throughout the story, the narrator comments on his uncomfortable life in the "white" world as he travels home to his Indian reservation. Along his journey, he contrasts the cultures of the white man and the Indians.
According to the narrator, wisdom is appreciating family, friends, and creation. His tribe values personal relationships, craftsmanship, and nature. True wisdom is not becoming a meaningless consumer who continually desires material objects to advance their social status. Essentially, wisdom is a genuine appreciation for life, family, friends, and nature.
"Blue Winds Dancing" is a lyrical short story by Thomas St. Germain Whitecloud II. Whitecloud was a Native American (Chippewa) author and doctor. The story tells of a young Native American's struggle with growing up in America. The internal struggle of the character exists because of the ancient Indian thought conflicting with modern American expectations.
The wisdom the narrator finds, by the end of the story, exists in the one place he failed to look earlier—the reservation. Once at the reservation, the narrator questions if he is white or Indian. He also wonders if his people will still recognize him. Entering into the lodge, the narrator does not stand out. He is among his people, and no one believes him to be out of place.
After the music and dancing stops, the narrator recognizes that no one is speaking, yet they are still communicating. The narrator finds it curious that so many people can be together, not talk, and still be happy. For him, the wisdom lies in the beauty or togetherness.