Larry Spotted Crow Mann
||This article may be written from a fan's point of view, rather than a neutral point of view. (July 2013)|
Larry Spotted Crow Mann is a Native author and musician belonging to the Nipmuc tribe. At an early age, Mann developed an interest in the history of his tribe and has sought to educate the public about aspects of Nipmuc history and culture through various media, saying “I’m somebody who is dedicated to my culture and tradition, and through that I hope to bring forth the intrinsic connection we all have as human beings. I love to learn new things and from other cultures.” Mann intends his writing and music to honor traditions and teach uninformed audiences about Nipmuc people and history.
Larry Spotted Crow Mann's writing career began in his youth when he wrote letters to the government to draw attention to issues the Nipmuc people faced. He has been writing prose and poetry since his teens. He wrote his first book, a collection of short stories and poetry entitled Tales from the Whispering Basket, because he wanted to acknowledge Nipmuc contributions to the foundations of America and to explore his ability to write in different genres. He has also contributed to Indian Country Today Media Network.
Mann also writes about themes that aren’t directly related to his people’s heritage. In Tales from the Whispering Basket, he writes about themes such as loss, racial differences, and loneliness. One of the short stories from his book, “Deadly Deeds”, describes a man from the fictional town Namtac leasing a small cottage in the town of Dinac. While the townsfolk are puzzled by his presence at first, they come to harass and assault him four weeks after he rents the cottage. After uncomfortably living there for a year, he takes a look at the lease again only to be shocked:
As I read the fine print, I freaked out so bad I coughed up hair! It states:
’We the citizens and the town of Dinac shall only lease and rent to our kind. All others may stay for a respite but must depart after four weeks. Those who choose to stay past that time period risk life and limb. All those who stay one year shall be eaten!’
So, do you see my dilemma? I’m not a ‘Dinac,’ I’m a ‘Namtac!’ Those Dinac’s have been barking and chasing my kind for centuries! We scratch and fight but I’m stranded and outnumbered! I hear them coming! So, please, read your lease well lest you end up renting from a bunch of dogs!
This story presents the idea of a group of people united under a common distinction (such as what race they belong to, where they come from, where they live now, etc.) oppressing another group, a familiar topic for Native Americans.
As a musician, Spotted Crow Mann is a member of the Quabbin Lake Singers, along with his three sons Anoki, Nantai, and Manixit. The group has a stated focus on upholding and honoring culture through their music – during performances, the four wear traditional clothing to honor their ancestors. Mann holds the role of Drum Keeper in the group, a role that requires him to “ensure the Drum is being honored and played in a manner for the particular ceremony taking place.” The Drum is a sacred object in Native American culture, respected as “the heart beat of Mother Earth” and “allows [them] to pray and communicate with the natural elements of the world and beyond.”
Mann has also participated in environmental activism, such as working with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in order to protect an indigenous fish local to the Worcester area. He has stated that "[the] Earth is not something for you to rip apart. It's there for everyone to share and understand." Mann asserts that if Indian culture had progressed on its own without European influence, it would have created more environmentally-friendly technologies than those commonly used today.
With his wife, daughter, and three sons, Mann currently lives in Webster, Massachusetts in Worcester County, a place where his ancestors have lived “since time immemorial.” Mann was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. He explains that growing up there in the 1980s was difficult for him due to his identity as a Native American. Despite his people’s history in the area, he felt different and out of place among the other children: “Our people have always been here, but when you’re a kid and there are very few people who can identify with who you are, you actually begin to feel like an outsider on the very Earth your people have been on for thousands of years.”
List of publications
Articles for Indian Country Today Media Network
- "David Barton's Lies about King Philip's War"
- "Native People Are Still Being Misinterpreted and Misunderstood"
- "Last Thoughts on Columbus Day—For This Year, at Least"
- "Mitt Romney Proves Yet Again Just How Out of Touch He Is"
- Volain, Mark (20 July 2011). "Two Minutes With Larry Spotted Crow Mann". Worchester Mag. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- Sacks, Pamela (12 August 2011). "Webster man keeps Nipmuc tradition alive". Telegraph & Gazette. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Mann, Larry Spotted Crow (2011). Tales from the Whispering Basket. CreateSpace Independent Publshing Platform.
- ""It's Not Just Native History, it's American History"". Mass Media. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- Steeves, Gus (16 November 2011). "Earth is not something for you to rip apart". Southbridge Evening News. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Urban, Cori. "Springfield native Larry Spotted Crow Mann authors new book titled 'Tales from the Whispering Basket'". Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Mann, Larry Spotted Crow (12 April 2013). "David Barton's Lies about King Philip's War". Indian Country Today. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Mann, Larry Spotted Crow (16 October 2012). "Native People Are Still Being Misinterpreted and Misunderstood". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Mann, Larry Spotted Crow (10 October 2012). "Last Thoughts on Columbus Day—For This Year, at Least". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Mann, Larry Spotted Crow (23 September 2012). "Mitt Romney Proves Yet Again Just How Out of Touch He Is". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Larry Spotted Crow Mann & The Quabbin Lake Singers performing and explaining their music.
- Tales from the Whispering Basket, Larry Spotted Crow Mann's personal website.
- Official Website of the Nipmuc Nation