This remarkable book, the first major collection of Cherokee stories published in nearly 100 years, presents 72 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, Marie Junaluska, Kathi Smith Littlejohn, and Freeman Owle – six Cherokee storytellers who learned their art and their stories from family and community. The tales gathered here include animal stories, creation myths, legends, and ghost stories as well as family tales and stories about such events in Cherokee history as the Trail of Tears. Taken together, they demonstrate that storytelling is a living, vital tradition. As new stories are added and old stories are changed or forgotten, Cherokee storytelling grows and evolves. In an introductory essay, Barbara Duncan writes about the Cherokee storytelling tradition and explains the “oral poetics” style in which the stories are presented. This format effectively conveys the rhythmic, oral quality of the living storytelling tradition, allowing the reader to “hear” the voice of the storyteller.
Moderated by Kristi McMillan, adult programs manager.