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Remnants of ConquestThe Island Caribs and their Visitors, 1877-1998$
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Peter Hulme

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112150

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112150.001.0001

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. Northern Hunter and Dusky Carib: Frederick Albion Ober and his Followers (1877–1907)

. Northern Hunter and Dusky Carib: Frederick Albion Ober and his Followers (1877–1907)

(p.37) 2. Northern Hunter and Dusky Carib: Frederick Albion Ober and his Followers (1877–1907)
Remnants of Conquest

Peter Hulme

Oxford University Press

When Frederick Albion Ober got back in 1879 from his long trip to the Caribbean, Lucy Larcom, a well-known New Englander and neighbour of the Ober family, wrote a poem about him called ‘The Cry of the Sunset Bird’. The appended note to the name ‘sunset bird’ explains that ‘the cry of this bird, just before nightfall, is supposed by the Caribs to be the voice of a spirit; and they believe that whoever tries to follow it will be led into some dreadful calamity’. While the ‘dusky Carib’ cowers fearfully, a man of destiny strides forward. The fearless northern hunter ignores the words of superstition and sets off after the bird. Ober was a scientist adventurous enough to investigate nature in spite of the Carib's superstitious warnings, and he was able to demonstrate to them the baselessness of their way of interacting with the natural world.

Keywords:   Frederick Albion Ober, Lucy Larcom, sunset bird, Caribs, spirit, dusky Carib, northern hunter, superstition, natural world

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