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Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture, and Values through Storytelling

Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture, and Values through Storytelling

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by Joseph Bruchac

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An illuminating look at Native origins and lifeways, a treasure for all who value Native wisdom and the stories that keep it alive.


An illuminating look at Native origins and lifeways, a treasure for all who value Native wisdom and the stories that keep it alive.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture and Values Through Storytelling by Joseph Bruchac is a wide-ranging exploration of many aspects of Native American experience, lifestyle and belief. Bruchac uses traditional stories to illuminate subjects as diverse as the impact of boarding schools, the role of sacred traditions and attitudes toward life and death. Annotated lists for further reading conclude each chapter. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Libraries whose patrons, whether Indian or non-Indian, are intrigued with the history and culture of Native America will want to have this superbly written book on their shelves. Despite its title, this is not a book of American Indian stories; it is more about the Indian storytelling process and the cultural meaning of stories historically and now. The author has credibility because he draws from an amazingly in-depth knowledge of the whole spectrum of Indian tribes and the history and beliefs of all of them. Bruchac knows alternative versions of stories as they have grown among tribes and through history. Most of the chapters of the book have one or more traditional stories, told briefly. Then he discusses the stories at length and shows how they have been significant in the Indian culture: Stories help Indians understand their identity, origins and spiritual life. The role of the trickster character in Indian lore is especially intriguing. The coming of the Europeans, who more often than not did not live up to their own stated principles, affected Indian life in significant ways. Stories shape relationships within extended families and between animals and humans. A thread that runs through the book is the role of the Indian boarding schools. Despite their abuses, the schools had the salutary effect of bringing persons from many tribes together for the first time, and helped them create an intertribal cohesion that lasts to this day. The book is by an Indian, about the Indian culture, and knowing this is especially important to libraries that serve Indian youth. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Fulcrum,187p. bibliog., Boardman
The author of Keepers of Light (Fulcrum Publishing, 1994) compiles an excellent source for those interested in Native American studies. His topics are as diverse as are Native Americans. As he explains, there is no one Native American culture and "Seeing all Indians as being alike is as foolish as not being able to see them at all." Likewise, he does not claim to know enough about each culture to do them justice. Yet, through the stories and words he has gathered from others, he accomplishes his goal of sharing the history, culture, and values of Native Americans. He starts each section with a Native story to exemplify his ideas, follows with an interesting analysis of the topic, and concludes with an annotated recommended reading section. His brilliance is in the detail. Although most people know that many whites have "gone native," Bruchac questions why there are no stories of Natives going "civilized?" He quotes Sir Francis Bacon making the claim, "Never yet hath it been seen that a savage will, of his own free will, give up his savagery and live the life of a civilized man." This book is thoroughly enjoyable and can be recommended to both the knowledgeable and the novice who is interested in Native studies. Biblio. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Fulcrum, 192p, Reddy-Damon
School Library Journal
In this fascinating book, Bruchac relays the importance of story within Native societies to entertain, teach lessons, and maintain the history of individual nations. Part cultural lesson, part history, and part autobiography, the book contains a wealth of information. Each chapter begins with an epigraph from a Native source; some chapters end with an annotated list of recommended reading. Each chapter also contains stories. Some of the tales are set off from the main text, but many more are woven into it-stories within stories within stories. Bruchac has included source notes for each selection as well as the epigraphs. This important volume includes a wealth of traditional stories and solid information.-S K Joiner, Brazoria County Library System, Angleton, TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Fulcrum Publishing
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
Up to 15 Years

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac, coauthor of The Keepers of the Earth series, is a nationally acclaimed Native American storyteller and writer who has authored more than 70 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults and children. He lives in upstate New York.

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Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture, and Values through Storytelling 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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