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The Origin of The Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the Cherokee.

The Origin of The Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the Cherokee

Barbara R. Duncan, editor

Shan Goshorn, illustrator

University of North Carolina Press

116 South Boundary St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514-3808

9780807859308, $12.95,

"The Origin of the Milky Way" is a collection of 26 Cherokee stories told by Davy Arch, Robert Bushyhead, Edna Chekelelee, Marie Junaluska, Kathi Littlejohn, and Freeman Owl. The stories are written as they were told by the Cherokee storytellers, so they read like poetry. The rhythms of English can sound like the Cherokee language if the stories are reaed aloud as they are written. The stories are divided into seven groups or chapters: Living with People, Living with Animals, Living with Plants and the Earth, Living with Spirits, Living with Monsters, Living with the Cherokee Language, and Living with the Past and Future. Some of the stories are intended to teach ways of getting along with others, while others such as The Trail of Tears teach of historical events experienced by the Cherokees.

A fascinating chapter on the Cherokee language tells of the syllabary invented by Sequoyah, a gifted Cherokee. The story of the Origin of the Milky Way is written first in English, then in phonetic Cherokee, and finally in Sequoyah's syllabary. The importance of continuing to teach the living Cherokee language as a unique cultural heritage is emphasized. The Cherokee language is related to the language spoken by the Iroquois of upper New York State and the Great Lakes region. To further aid the reader's enjoyment of the stories and learning about the Cherokee people, the book has a glossary, map of Cherokee lands, timeline of Cherokee history, and suggested further reading resources.

The charming black and white illustrations also enhance the story chapters. Also available in a hardcover formate (9780807832196, 19.95), "The Origin of the Milky Way" can be enjoyed as a delightful collection of tales to instruct children, but it is really much more than that. It contains a living history of a proud nation of very gifted people.

Nancy Lorraine

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Author:Lorraine, Nancy
Publication:MBR Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2008
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