1. Ms_Tex
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    Ms_Tex New Member

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    Specific tribe?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ms_Tex, Aug 14, 2012.

    When I wrote the short stories that have become the basis for the novel I want to write, one of the main characters was an American Indian - Cherokee to be exact. I want to change the location of the novel, which would mean that making that main character Cherokee wouldn't really work. I hadn't planned to go into too many specifics about his culture, so does it matter if I name the specific tribe he is from?
     
  2. ThievingSix
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    ThievingSix Member

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    I don't see why he can't be a Cherokee Indian living in another part of america. Context is everything. It depends on what your setting is, plot etc..

    If your not going to go into detail about him, then i don't see why you need to name a specific tribe at all.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The question is one of your credibility. With readers who don't know anything about the historical location of specific tribes, it wouldn't matter, but for those who do, it might matter a great deal. If you don't plan on delving into Cherokee culture, then why not change the tribe along with the location? Another solution would be to invent a fictional tribe. That way, you could give them the cultural traits you wanted (but if accuracy is important to you, you may want to do a little research into the tribes who historically inhabited the locale in which you are placing your fictional tribe so that you do not give them traits that the real inhabitants never would have had). The fictional route is also useful if you want to combine traits from different tribes who lived in your story's setting.

    Good luck.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    since there is so much known about real tribes in north america, i can't see that making up one will work well either with publishers or readers... my best advice is to stick to real ones and do your homework...

    i lived with the hopi for a while, on their bleak but beautiful mesas in northern arizona, so if you want any in info on their way of life, feel free to drop me a line...

    sorry to disagree with you again ed... gosh, is that twice in one week?... more than in the past year, i think!
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Spice of life. I was actually thinking of Michener's Altomec tribe in "Mexico", published in the early 90s. Not sure if what works has changed all that much in 20 years, but it could have.

    OTOH, with my current project, I am sticking to the real tribes.
     
  6. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    If the culture you do show fits with the time and area they are/were in, it wouldn't bother me to see a fictional tribe name. Just don't give us a culture modeled after a Plains tribe and set it in the Southwest or east of the Mississippi, or a Woodland culture in Wyoming, or other nonsensical combinations.

    If you use a real tribe, there is also the question of matching place and era, since many of them were pushed around during the settlement of the US.
     

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