Iktomi and the Ducks and Other Sioux Stories

Iktomi and the Ducks and Other Sioux Stories

Iktomi and the Ducks and Other Sioux Stories

Iktomi and the Ducks and Other Sioux Stories

Synopsis

In this renowned collection of fourteen Native stories, the noted Yankton Sioux writer Zitkala-Sa (1876-1938) shares tales learned during her childhood in the late nineteenth century. Told for generations, these stories are part of both the heritage and the legacy of the Yankton Sioux, reflecting an active, continually revitalized storytelling tradition. Power, wonder, and a distinctive understanding of the world infuse these tales. Featured here are the classic adventures of the trickster spider Iktomi, as well as the exploits of formidable animal beings and such legendary characters as Iya the glutton, the giant Anuk-ite, and the hero Blood Clot boy. P. Jane Hafen provides a new introduction for this edition. Zitkala-Sa's other books include American Indian Stories and Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems, and "The Sun Dance Opera," both published by the University of Nebraska Press. P. Jane Hafen is an associate professor of English at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. She is the editor of Dreams and Thunder and coeditor of A Great Plains Reader (Nebraska 2003). Agnes Picotte is a teacher at the Red Cloud Indian School and has contributed to many volumes, including Ella Deloria's Waterlily, available in a Bison Books edition.

Excerpt

In 1901, twenty-five-year-old Zitkala-Ša, also called Gertrude Simmons (1876–1938, Yankton Sioux), was at a crest of public exposure. She had won an award for her speaking abilities and had taught at Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. She had proved herself an accomplished musician and had performed for the president of the United States. She was the author of memoirs and short stories in popular American periodicals and had a commission to write a book of Indian legends. She was poised to begin studying with a prestigious violinist in Boston, and she was engaged to marry Dr. Carlos Montezuma (1866–1923), the noted Apache political activist.

The book, Iktomi and the Ducks and Other Sioux Stories, (originally published as Old Indian Legends by McGinn and Company), appeared as scheduled, but nearly everything else in Zitkala-Ša’s life took a different direction. She did not pursue a musical career, she did not marry Montezuma (she later married fellow Yankton Sioux Raymond T. Bonnin instead), and she appeared to lose interest in her literary career. She disappeared from the public eye for fifteen years, emerging in 1916 as a political activist in her own right when elected secretary of the Society of American Indians. Zitkala-Ša’s attention turned from . . .

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