Culture influences Leon’s sister, Louise. When she

Culture plays a significant role in a family life. Family traditions are often passed down from one generation to another, and usually have added outside influences over time into those traditions. The original identity of the belief continues to be apparent, although more ideas have been added to the basic cultural belief. In Leslie Silko’s short story, “The Man to send Rain Clouds”, this outside influences affect their basic beliefs immensely. Although a constant influence of Catholic beliefs is apparent in the Pueblo people’s society, Leon and his family still display their Native American identity through their actions present throughout the story.
Silko explains that her people “old traditions were dying out” and “were well informed about culture,”. The local Catholic Church’s minister, Father Paul, attempts to incorporate the Church’s traditions/beliefs into the Pueblos way of life. He shows great concern for Leon and his family when they miss mass or “missing Mass last Sunday,” and asks the family to attend mass the following weekend. Father Paul successfully influences Leon’s sister, Louise. When she finds out about her grandfather’s death, she suggests introducing the ritual of pouring holy water on his grave “so he won’t be thirsty”.
Although Catholic beliefs interfere by trying to influence the Native Pueblo culture, Leon is always trying to keep his Native identity. When Leon and Ken discover their Grandfather dead, they immediately use Native Pueblo customs. The customs included the painting of their grandfather’s face, tying a feather to his hair, wrapping him in a red blanket, and tossing cornmeal into the wind. By performing these rituals, they “keep the family … and clan together”, showing the great importance they hold upon their cultural beliefs. When transferring grandfather Teofilo back into town, Leon and Ken tell Father Paul that “Teofilo won’t be herding sheep any more now,” as an attempt to hide their grandfather’s death to escape the Catholic rituals that are being forcefully introduced into their traditions.
Even though Leon tries to keep his Native identity, he eventually gives into his Catholic surroundings. He asks Father Paul to incorporate the holy water ritual in conjunction with the Native American burial. Leon tells Paul that he “is happy about the sprinkling of the holy water,” because now his grandfather could “send them big thunderclouds,” just as he has wished earlier in the story. In the process of the Catholic ritual, even Father Paul “is reminded of something,” in regard to the similarities between the two cultures beliefs.
When cultures are introduced to each other their beliefs will influence one another. However, the original beliefs and values must be kept, or else the origins of the culture could die out. Silko’s explanation “Cultures, bring us together, despite great distances between them,” shows that the different beliefs people withhold brings us together. Although the Church attempts to influence Leon’s family, and Leon tries to keep the identity of his beliefs, they eventually concede to form what may be known as the new form of Native Pueblo culture.


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