Living Stories of the Cherokee

Living Stories of the Cherokee

Living Stories of the Cherokee

Living Stories of the Cherokee

Synopsis

This book, the first major new collection of Cherokee stories published in nearly a hundred years, presents seventy-two traditional and contemporary tales from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. It features stories told by Davey Arch, Robert Bushyhead, Edna Chekelelee, Kathi Smith Littlejohn, and Freeman Owle - five Cherokee storytellers who learned their art and their stories from family and community. The collection also includes a story presented in the Cherokee language and syllabary, translated by tribal interpreter Marie Junaluska. The tales gathered here include animal stories, creation myths, legends, and ghost stories as well as family tales and stories about events in Cherokee history. The stories in this collection not only reflect Cherokee beliefs and values, they also show that Cherokee culture is alive and strong in the hearts of the people.

Excerpt

Many have written about our history and culture. Few of these people have come from our community, with the traditional knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a Cherokee. Our storytellers have grown to appreciate the knowledge and understanding vital to our continuation as a People. This work is important for that reason. Barbara Duncan has been a part of our community long enough to understand what it means for us to have an opportunity to tell our own stories--not recited from a history text but told through the voices of our members.

In the work you are about to read, you will see how Barbara has come into our community and grown to become a scholar committed to providing the Cherokee storytellers with a voice. This voice could have been provided by others, but probably none who walk among us as our friend; often it is provided by those who feel the right to tell these legends as their own. Barbara has worked toward helping the outside world understand that these legends are important because they belong to Cherokees, not because someone outside our community can recite them.

Through the years, these legends have grown and changed and become contemporary along with Cherokee people. You may have heard these legends on cassette tape. Soon you may hear them via computer, and in the next millennium we can only guess the media through which you will experience these stories. The critical message is that the stories continue. We have often looked toward our . . .

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