Thinking Inca to ink a deal
Prolific Blackfoot historian Adolf Hungrywolf has met with Andean shamans—men and women—and been adopted into a village. Now he's looking for a publisher.
November 09th, 2014
Adolf HungryWolf’s manuscript about his South American experiences is called Mystico: Life with the Mountain Spirits. Hungrywolf’s 311-page manuscript Mystico has over 100 photos, drawings and sketches of the Andean people and their environs.
Here Adolf Hungrywolf of Skookumchuck B.C. describes what enticed him to travel so extensively among the mountain people who are descendants of the Incas.
As a leader of traditional Blackfoot ceremonies and a constant wanderer of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, I had long yearned to visit the Andes of South America and meet some of the mountain people there. In 2007, I fulfilled my wish, spending two and a half months with descendants of the Incas who live in remote places of the region that is home to other famous sites such as Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley.
Prior to embarking on my trip I had a dream that Wolf Old Man, one of my wise and elderly Blackfoot teachers from more than forty years before, appeared and advised me to seek a certain ‘mountain man’ when I reached my destination. He told me that I would receive something special from this mountain man.
During the first month of my trip that goal was always in my mind but no one I met fit the description. Eventually I put the idea aside. No sooner had I done this when a young native taxi driver named Rolando Huallpa heard my story and offered to take me to his boyhood mountain home, an isolated slope at 12,000 feet, where he knew someone who fit my ‘mountain man’ description.
That man turned out to be Bueno Venturo Hancco Quispe (his first two names mean ‘good venture’). As soon as I met him, Bueno Venturo broke into a big grin showing lips and brilliant white teeth stained with green coca plant juice. His dark eyes bored deeply into mine out of an equally dark face. He was wearing a vividly coloured poncho that covered his upper body and black homespun woollen pants that ended below his knees. The rest of his legs were bare, dark and muscular.
I knew instantly that he was the one. Perhaps he felt the electricity of our meeting as well because he did something he hadn’t done with any outsider before in his fifty-some years of rugged mountain life and ritual studies: Bueno Venturo shared his ceremonies with me.
We became adopted brothers after that – a custom as common among Venturo’s Quechua people as it is among the Blackfeet back home. My young taxi driver friend Rolando – whose own father was murdered along a trail when he was just a small boy – introduced me to everyone as his long lost ‘papa,’ while I explained that I had three grown sons his age back home in Canada who call me the same thing.
I had further visits with Bueno Venturo and also with other shamans – men and women. All were people that Rolando and I reached by hiking over rugged trails in the mountains. At one point he nearly got me married to his widowed aunt Juliana, who lives with her sheep and llamas in an unheated hut at almost 14,000 feet.
I continued to visit the Andes since that first journey. After my second trip I received word that by brother Venturo had been brutally murdered. So I went back for a third time to check out what had happened. I had also received invitations from other families living in remote and traditional Andean villages. They wanted me to join them for their annual ‘pukllay’ rituals, which are usually held in secret far from tourist places and during the inhospitable rainy season.
I share these stories in my manuscript as well as many comparisons between the Andean mountain people and the Rocky Mountain people where I live. I hope it will inspire some readers to venture off the popular Andean tourist trails to seek the wonderful spiritual guides who live in more remote areas.
[Adolf Hungrywolf formerly spelled his surname as Hungry Wolf. For extensive information, visit ABCBookWorld – Ed.]
One of Hungrywolf’s many Cuban train photos
Fifteen of Adolf Hungrywolf’s approximately fifty books are about railroading, including Vintage Cubano: Adventures with Old Cars, Antique Trains, and Friendly People (Good Medicine Books / Hayden Consulting $60 U.S.), a retrospective gathered from 1993 to 2005 when he spent 18 months in Cuba.
He recorded hundreds of narrow-and standard-gauge locomotives and countless old American cars for a 320-page, all-colour book. Hungrywolf took his first photo of Canadian railroading in 1963, at age nineteen, of a steam locomotive having its tender filled from a wooden water tank along a forest branchline on Vancouver Island.
Since then he’s taken thousands of photos of Canadian railroading, and gathered thousands more, dating back to the 1870s. He intends to produce a cross-Canada magnum opus on railroading called Vintage Canadian, showcasing 600 colour slides and 800 b&w photos.
BOOKS: SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
Good Medicine: Life in Harmony with Nature (Good Medicine Books, 1969).
Good Medicine Traditional Dress Issue: Knowledge and Methods of Old-Time Clothings (Golden: Good Medicine Books, 1971).
Legends Told by the Old People (Good Medicine Books, 1972).
The Blood People: A Division of the Blackfoot Confederacy: An Illustrated Interpretation of the Old Ways 1977
Blackfoot Craftworker’s Book (with Beverly Hungry Wolf) 1977
Rails in the Canadian Rockies (Good Medicine Books, Invermere, B.C. 1979; Skookumchuck, BC: Canadian Caboose Press, 1993).
Canadian Railway Scenes, No. 1. Good Medicine Books, Invermere, B.C. 1983
Shadows of the Buffalo: A Family Odyssey Among the Indians (with Beverly Hungry Wolf) 1983
Shadows of the Buffalo (with Beverly Hungry Wolf, Pat Golbitz) 1985
Children of the Sun: Stories by and About Indian Kids (with Beverly Hungry Wolf, Adolf Wolf, Pat Golbitz) 1988
Canadian Railway Scenes 1988
Canadian Sunset. A Farewell Look at America’s Last Great Train. Trans-Anglo Books, Glendale, CA. 1991
Legends Told by the Old People (A Good Medicine Book) 1991
A Good Medicine Collection: Life in Harmony With Nature 1991
Traditional Dress: Knowledge and Methods of Old-Time Clothings (A Good Medicine Book) 1991
Canadian Railway Scenes 1991
Blackfoot Craftworker’s Book (with Beverly Hungry Wolf) 1991
Indian Tribes of the Northern Rockies (with Beverly Hungry Wolf) 1991
Trains of Cuba: Steam Diesel and Electric a Guide Book With Photos Maps Rosters and Detailed 1997
The Blackfoot Papers. Four Volumes. 2006. $300 plus $20 shipping. [Limited Edition, one volume, collected, $1,000.]
Vintage Cubano: Adventures with Old Cars, Antique Trains, and Friendly People (Canadian Caboose Press / Hayden Consulting 2012 $75 U.S.)
Mystico: Life with the Mountain Spirits — work-in-progress
Most recent Adolf Hungry Wolf books are available via www.goodmedicinefoundation.com