Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"READ" in Native Languages

Last year I posted about a graphic of the word "READ" in several Native languages, developed at the Tulsa City-County Library. A few minutes ago, they sent me an updated graphic that you can use. The word is in these languages: Ojibwe, Coast Miwok, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Cherokee, Seminole, Lenape, Wyandotte, Wanarama, Ponca, Comanche, Mvskoke, Caddo, Miami, Northern Paiute, Pawnee, Citizen Potawatomi, Chickasaw, Omaha, Choctaw, Sauk, Wasq'u, and Osage.

Thanks, Sue, and all others involved in creating this graphic! For those of you who are preparing materials for November (Native American month), download the graphic. Put it on display, surrounded by books by Native writers. Cynthia Leitich Smith, Joseph Bruchac, Joy Harjo, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Richard Van Camp, Nicola Campbell....

Click here to get the graphic in pdf.

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Site: NativeAuthors.com

Another source for books by Native authors is NativeAuthors.com. Below is the text on their "About Us" page.

About us

The North American Native Authors Catalog (nativeauthors.com) specializes in work by American Indian poets, writers, historians, storytellers and performers. Our online catalog was the first of its kind when we launched in 1996, featuring more than 700 titles from over 90 different publishers, complete author bios, and tribal information. Our publications range from novels and books of poetry to children's literature, historical analysis, journals and newspapers, sacred traditions and more. Compact Disks (CDs), and Cassette tapes cover several of these areas, including traditional storytelling, poetry and Native American music. All books and tapes listed in this catalog are authored or co-authored by people of Native American ancestry. This catalog grew our of the Native American Authors Distribution Project, which has been selling books at Northeastern Pow Wows, book fairs, and by direct mail since 1980.

In 1992, we helped put together Returning the Gift, a gathering of Native American writers held at the University of Oklahoma. Returning the Gift, the first major meeting of Native American writers ever held, brought together more than 200 Native authors from across the continent. Most of the authors who participated have publications found in this online catalog, and more will appear in the future.

The overall goal of the North American Native Authors Online Catalog is to increase the distribution of creative work by Native writers, and to raise public awareness of the range, strength, and beauty of contemporary Native American writing, research, storytelling, and performance.

The North American Native Authors Catalog is a project of the Greenfield Review Press, a Native owned and managed 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Greenfield Review distributes and has published many of the works included in this catalog, in addition, a percentage of proceeds are used to support Native American cultural and literary foundations, including, but not limited to the Returning the Gift Project and the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.

Monday, September 29, 2008


[Note: This review may not be published elsewhere without written permission from its author, Beverly Slapin. Copyright 2008 by Beverly Slapin. All rights reserved.]

Duncan, Barbara, The Origin of the Milky Way & Other Living Stories of the Cherokee, illustrated by Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee). University of North Carolina Press, 2008, grades 4-up

Duncan, education director at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina, selected these stories from her earlier publication, Living Stories of the Cherokee (University of North Carolina Press, 1998). The 26 short, appealing stories are grouped by seven themes, a reflection of the sacred number: living with people, living with animals, living with plants and the earth, living with spirits, living with monsters, living with Cherokee language, and living with the past and future. The living stories—because they’re still being told, they remain alive—teach in a traditional way what’s important in Cherokee culture.

Told by Cherokee elders Davy Arch, Robert Bushyhead, Edna Chekelelee, Marie Junaluska, Kathi Littlejohn, and Freeman Owle, these stories are effectively put down in a style known as “ethnopoetics,” which reflects the words and speech pattern of the storyteller by breaking a line when a teller pauses. So, in reading the stories, one can almost “hear” the story being told.

The stories told here teach that everyone has something to contribute (even if you are a rattlesnake, a small clumsy child or a bird with big feet), that bragging and boasting will get you nowhere (except maybe a ratty-looking tail), that generosity can get rewarded in a number of ways (including being taught all the cures of the forest), and that the sight and smell of strawberries can remind us not to fight with those we love. All of the stories—which range from very funny to very sad to very scary—teach connection to land, culture and community.

Shan Goshorn’s luminous cover painting shows an elderly storyteller sitting on a porch, surrounded by Grandmother Spider bringing fire, two Little People, the Corn Woman Spirit, the dog who created the Milky Way, and the wolf whose clan was taught the medicine ways. Duncan’s introduction for young people, explaining past and present Cherokee life and the nature and purpose of Cherokee storytelling, avoids the overbearing tone that is all too common in collections compiled by people who lack a relationship with the community. Highly recommended.

—Beverly Slapin

[Note from Debbie: This book is available from Oyate, a Native not-for-profit organization.]

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