09/23/03
Native America Day
    by Kevin Shortsleeve

Brief sound clip


- drum begins -
"Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney -o
ho hey o o
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney a- a
yo ho hey
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney
Ki-ho-ah-ji-neyo
oh hey ho
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney a- a
yo ho hey
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney
Ki-ho-ah-ji-ney"

You have been listening to a Seneca Indian canoe song, as performed by Joseph Bruchac, Native American storyteller - and author of more than seventy books for adults and children. Bruchac is currently working on books on both Geronimo and Pocahontas. I asked him his opinion on recent popular culture images of Geronimo, Squanto, Sacajawea and Pocahontas.

Brief sound clip

"...the danger is that the images of popular culture are distorted or romanticized. I think that's one reason why I've have chosen to write about all of those people because their own real stories are so much more complex and fascinating and useful if they are told well."

Bruchac has won numerous awards, including The Cherokee Nation Prose Award and the Hope S. Dean Award for Notable Achievement in Children's Literature. I asked him what aspects of Native American literature are important to communicate to our children.

Brief sound clip

"I think that one of the great lessons that we have in our literatures and actually in our languages and our culture in general is the lesson of inter- relationship. That we are related to and connected to each other, to the natural world and to all things. European culture has been a culture of separation, separating people from family, from community and from the natural world. And throughout our stories and our traditions we are always being reminded how con- nected we are to each other and how important it is to respect each other and to respect all life."

Copyright 2003 Kevin Shortsleeve

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