Lasting Echoes: An Oral History of Native American People

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From Abenaki to Lakota to Navajo, Native Americans have a rich and complex history. Geronimo, Chief Little Robe—they speak of their respect for the land, of tradition, and of how the colonization of America changed their lives forever. With sensitivity and grace, Native American author, poet, and storyteller Joseph Bruchac combines these stirring memoirs to create a compelling portrait of a proud and determined people.

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Overview

From Abenaki to Lakota to Navajo, Native Americans have a rich and complex history. Geronimo, Chief Little Robe—they speak of their respect for the land, of tradition, and of how the colonization of America changed their lives forever. With sensitivity and grace, Native American author, poet, and storyteller Joseph Bruchac combines these stirring memoirs to create a compelling portrait of a proud and determined people.

Discusses the history of Native Americans, with a sampling of excerpts from their own accounts of their experiences.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Realizing that American History, told from a Native American perspective, has been a neglected area until very recently, noted author and storyteller Joseph Bruchac has compiled this collection of oral history excerpts that are combined with his own informative explanations. In seven chapters, from examples of first contacts between Europeans and Indians, in which the white visitors were usually welcomed and assisted, through such tragic episodes as the destruction of the buffalo and the Plains Indian way of life, and ending with more recent issues and movements, Bruchac has let us hear the words of Native American heroes like Cochise, Sitting Bull and Chief Pontiac in a way that is poetic and powerful, as well as informative. This book would be a valuable part of an American History curriculum for older kids, teens and adults. Black-and-white illustrations, an introduction, bibliography, and lists of sources and tribal affiliations and lifelines are included.
VOYA - Richard Gercken
Bruchac has discovered and arranged speeches, manifestoes, articles, songs, and prayers of Native Americans as famous as Tecumseh and as little known, to the average reader, as O-no-San of the Senecas. While this revealing compilation does not quite meet the subtitle's claim as an oral history of Native Americans, Bruchac does join countless brief selections and give them context. The book takes readers where we have never quite gone before. Even events we think we know well, like the banding of the Iroquois nations or the French and Indian War, breathe new life as Bruchac gives us new voices. Some of the earliest quotations reveal sarcastic humor. No one who reads Speckled Snake's description of the French mouth when talking could ever doubt the wit of the Native American's mind and heart. Bruchac himself is a master of the one-liner: "The original generosity of the Indians was forgotten as the new settlers laid claim to more and more Indian land," and master of finding the original one-liners in the seven generations of ancestors: "We enjoyed time. They measured it." The collage-like black-and-white illustrations are sophisticated but may, like the dust jacket, be short on appeal to young readers. The explanatory text contains repetitions not always justified by the establishment of context and more significantly, the typographic layout of pages often makes transitions confusing. Bruchac is a careful writer and is ill-served here, but none of the above shortcomings defeats the value of this rich book. Illus. Photos. Charts. Biblio. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 5 UpThis noted author and poet presents a history of the treatment afforded America's original inhabitants as seen through the eyes of American Indians, from the first European settlements to the current day. The chapters are arranged to loosely correspond with the seven generations and the changes in attitudes and responses between the native and non-native populations. The narrative is enhanced and explicated by numerous poems, songs, speeches, and writings of Native Americans from each era. The beauty of the language is on display, as well as the strength of the words and the power of the emotions, as differences between the cultures in interpretation and approaches to life, the land, and one's own people are discussed. Compelling monochrome illustrations begin each chapter, and evoke a sense of history and mysticism; they represent combined images of the modern and the ancient, artifact and nature, humans and their art and words. The text is meticulously documented and supplemented with dates, tribal affiliations, and both the English and Native language names for many of the people quoted. An intriguing and useful, as well as poetic, addition to all collections.Darcy Schild, Schwegler Elementary School, Lawrence, KS
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152013271
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 1080L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

JOSEPH BRUCHAC is a poet, storyteller, and author of more than sixty books for children and adults who has received many literary honors, including the American Book Award and the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. He is of Abenaki and Slovak heritage, and lives in Greenfield Center, New York.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



Welcome, Friends



My heart is not mine but yours;
I have no men; they are all yours;
command me in any difficult thing;
I will do it ...
     UNCAS (Mohegan), 1638

It began with welcome. Throughout the continent ofNorth America, the place called Turtle Island by manyNative Americans, the greeting in many of our indigenous languages is similar. Hau, kola, say the Lakota of the Great Plains. Kwai, kwai, nidoba, say my own Abenaki people. Both greetings mean "hello, my friend." The earliest English dictionary of a native language was composed by Roger Williams in the 1600s. It includes the Narragansett words of greeting: What cheer, netop. "Hello, my friend," yet again.

The first contacts between Native Americans and European settlers were often ones of friendship and sharing. The native people of the Americas appear to have always shown a willingness to welcome and even adopt outsiders. To this day, ceremonies in which we make new relatives through adoption are of deep importance to many of the more than four hundred indigenous tribal nations. Most often, adopting an unrelated person -- as a son or daughter, as a father or mother or grandparent -- was done within one's tribe. Yet people from other tribes were also freely adopted into the tribe itself. When the new people arrived on the shore, they, too, were often brought into native nations in this same way.

There is very little written testimony that remains telling us what Native Americans thought about the arrival of the Europeans. Accounts written by the first European settlersand traders describe the original inhabitants of North America as savages. We seldom hear what the Native Americans thought of the newcomers. Kondiaronk, a Huron chief, made the following observation in the 1600s to Baron De Lahontan, Lord Lieutenant of the French Colony in Newfoundland:

In earnest, my dear Brother, I am sorry for you from the bottom of my soul. Take my advice, and turn Huron; for I see plainly a vast difference between your condition and mine. I am master of my condition and mine. I am master of my own body, I have the absolute disposal of my self, I do what I please, I am the first and the last of my nation, I fear no man, and I depend only on the Great Spirit. Is it true or not?
     Kondiaronk (Huron), circa 1670

There was a stark physical contrast between Europeans and Native Americans. Many of the Europeans who arrived on the shores of North America were malnourished and weak after their long voyage. In many parts of North America, the average height of the Native Americans was greater than that of the average European. Both historians and archaeologists agree that around the fifteenth century, the average life expectancy of a European was somewhat less than that of a Native American. The varied diet of the Indians of the northeast coast was balanced and rich, and they were used to a hearty and active lifestyle. American Indian people bathed every day and took frequent steam baths in their sweat lodges. Until the mid-nineteenth century, western Europeans were deeply averse to bathing of any kind. Bathing was regarded as unhygienic and even sinful by Catholics and Protestants. In the words of historian. Siegfried Giedion, prior to the mid-nineteenth century in western Europe, "There is no doubt that the most elementary sense of cleanliness was lacking."

In 1676, an unnamed chief of the Micmac people in Nova Scotia made these remarks to a group of Frenchmen who were trying to persuade the Micmac to build French-style houses and live in the French way.

But why now do men of five to six feet in height need houses that are sixty to eighty? For in fact, as you know very well yourself, Patriarch -- do we not find in our own all the conveniences and the advantages that you have with yours, such as reposing, drinking, sleeping, eating, and amusing ourselves with our friends when we wish? This is not all, my brother. Have you as much ingenuity and cleverness as the Indians, who carry their houses and their wigwams with them so that they may live wherever they please? You are not as bold nor as stout as we, because when you go on a voyage you cannot carry upon your shoulders your home and your buildings....

And if we have not any longer among us any of thoseold men of a hundred and thirty to forty years, it is onlybecause we are gradually adopting your manner of living,for experience is making it very plain that those of us wholive longest are those who, despising your bread, your wine, and your brandy, are content with their natural food of beaver, of moose, of waterfowl and fish, in accord with the custom Of our ancestors and of all the Micmac nation.Learn now, my brother once for all, because I must opento you my heart, there is no Indian who does not considerhimself infinitely more happy and more powerful than theFrench.
     Micmac Chief 1676

Many Europeans came to think that the Native American way of life had much to offer beyond their accustomed way of living. In 1756, a European named Peter Kalm kept a journal of his travels in North America, and observed how readily European settlers adopted an Indian lifestyle.

Lasting Echoes . Copyright © by Joseph Bruchac. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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