The theme of Leslie Marmon Silko’s The Man to Send Rain Clouds revolves around the idea of maintaining your culture in the opposition of the “religious right.” Leon is faced with strong opposition about his tribe’s rituals in regard to the burying of one of their dead. That opposition comes from the Christian priest and his ideas of what is sacred.
Cultures around the world embrace death in different ways. Some mourn and fear death; others accept it and find hope when the time comes. Unfortunately not all of those cultures are able to be open to the idea that they could be wrong, or that different methods could lead to the same ends. The Christian church of coarse has a history of killing, burning, and condemning things that disagree with their ideologies.
Even today we see extremists in many religions that fight wars over their beliefs. In this story a man had to fight with himself regarding the decision. He has to wrestle with the pleas of the priest and the idea that his culture taught him regarding death. He believed as his tribe did that the ritual would bring rain and new life to the crops.
The battle between cultures moves on when the priest is actually asked to be a part of the ritual and bless the body. At this point the priest enters his own battle with the things that he was taught and the opposition that he faces. He had to decide what would be the Christian thing to do.
When all these battle are over both men learn a little about each other’s world as the wind starts to come in, it is a wind of change. They wait to see if the storm will come to begin the circle of life anew.