Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-xii

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Introduction

Marcia Haag

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pp. xiii-xxx

This volume is one in the series of books devoted to Native literatures, inaugurated and edited by Brian Swann. The material here is from the Native peoples of the southeastern portion of the United States. The Southeast groups consist of both related peoples (for example, the large group of Muskogeans) and those whose closest relatives either disappeared or were absorbed by other groups. ...

Choctaw

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Mississippi Choctaw Oral Literature

Tom Mould

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pp. 3-12

The oral literature of American Indian storytellers can be approached many ways, among them intellectually, aesthetically, emotionally, and socially. Each of these approaches spirals outward exponentially, providing an endless combination of avenues of exploration for scholar and audience alike. ...

Creation Myths

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The Choctaw Creation Legend

Isaac Pistonatubbee

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pp. 13-14

A very long time ago the first creation of men was in Nanih Waiya. And there they were made. And there they came forth. ...

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Creation of Three Races

Harley Vaughn

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pp. 14-16

The way I’ve heard it is that, well my dad told me, it’s like, when God made man, you know? And God dig this hole, where he would get three kind of races. And the longer he waited, the darker the man got. ...

Shush Anumpa

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Why Terrapins Never Get Fat

Olman Comby

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pp. 17-18

One time Turkey met Terrapin crawling along and asked him how long it would take him to reach a certain place, making fun of him because he was so slow. ...

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The Dog Who Spoke Choctaw

Jake York

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pp. 18-19

When I was seven, my mother took us to Delta City. My uncle lived there and we used to go there. We went to pick cotton. I was the water boy. ...

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Running Water

Lillie Gibson

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p. 20

Mama got married. Well, our daddy died, and when she married a man, she married one from Conehatta, and so he already had a house. And so we had to move up here. ...

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The Man and the Turkey

Henry Williams

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pp. 21-22

Grandpa was not that old so he didn’t tell us about any stories. He tells us about jokes, you know. ...

Supernatural Legends and Encounters

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The Little Man

Terry Ben

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pp. 23-26

I was about eleven or twelve, you know, and so forth, and this was the year I got my first gun. My granddad had certain guns, and so forth, and he let me have a single-shot .22 bolt action. I was a big man, all right? ...

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Pa̜š Malaya (Long Hair)

Cynthia Clegg

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pp. 26-30

She told me. She passed away years ago. And she told me this story when I was little. See, I’m from Tucker and my aunt was from Tucker. So then, she said to me, she had been sick and her ičo̜kašat was not well. Do you all know what čo̜kaš is? ...

Prophecies

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Prophecy of New Inventions and Lost Traditions

Billy Amos

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pp. 31-35

Indentation in this exchange indicates how Billy Amos negotiates three time periods: the storytelling situation of the present (no indent), life in the past (single indent), and prophecy of the future (double indent). ...

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Prophecy of Cars and Changing Values

Odie Mae Anderson

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pp. 36-37

Well, it was my father and Bike Williamson, the two together, I heard sitting around talking as a child. ...

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The Third Removal

Estelline Tubby

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pp. 38-42

Indentation indicates how Estelline Tubby negotiates three different voices: her own (no indent); those of her aunt, mother, and grandmother, who told her the prophecy (single indent); and those of the people in the future reacting to the prophesied events (double indent). ...

Where Oral Tradition and Literacy Collide

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James L. McDonald’s Spectre Essay of 1830

Phillip Carroll Morgan

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pp. 43-55

In the long history of the Choctaws in North America, no dramatic moment or period can much exceed the few months following the Anumpa Bok Lukfi Hilha, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, signed on September 27– 29, 1830. Under the terms of the treaty every Choctaw citizen faced a doubly frightening ultimatum— ...

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Letter to Peter Pitchlynn

J. L. McDonald

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pp. 56-64

The promise which I once made you to reduce to writing a tale which I had repeated to you, as illustration of the imaginative powers of our countrymen, had nearly escaped my recollection and I thank you for the hint which has recalled it to mind: For I am confined to the house by the gloomy weather which prevails without, and a little exercise of the pen will be an agreeable relief. ...

Modern Oklahoma Choctaw Stories

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Modern Oklahoma Choctaw Stories

Marcia Haag

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pp. 65-68

Unable to escape the fate of most southeastern peoples, the Choctaws were “removed” in the early 1830s from their homelands in Mississippi to new lands in Indian Territory, along the Nowa Falaya (Long Walk). When Indian Territory became a state in 1907, it took the name Okla Homma (Red People), ...

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Boarding School Runaways

Paula Carney

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pp. 69-70

When I was a child, at first I went to school at home, here at Coalgate. But I didn’t go there very long: I was sent to Wheelock Academy. So I stayed and finished there. Then I also went to Chilocco Indian School in Newkirk, Oklahoma, and finished there too. ...

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How I Almost Killed a Hog by Scaring It

Abe Frazier

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pp. 70-71

Okay, I’m going to tell something. I’m going to tell about a time I almost killed a hog by scaring it. This is what I’ll tell. ...

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Aiisht Ahollo (The Miracle)

Bill Nowlin

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pp. 71-72

During World War II, my mother’s brother, Hank Brown, was serving on a battleship in the U.S. Navy. In the heat of battle, his left hand was crushed when the breach block of one of the ship’s big guns was slammed on it by another sailor. He was shipped back to the veterans’ hospital closest to his home, which was in Houston, Texas. ...

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Neva the Hunter

Lois McAlvain Pugh

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p. 72

Neva would go deer hunting with her boys. They wouldn’t get a deer, but she would. She was a good marksman—I have to tell you about her killing squirrels. ...

Muskogee (Creek)

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Muskogee (Creek) Literature

Jack B. Martin

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pp. 75-82

The southern United States has been home to native peoples for thousands of years. Speakers of Muskogee and other Muskogean languages are generally thought to descend from the Mississippian mound-building societies prospering from about 800 CE to 1500 CE. When Spaniards arrived in the sixteenth century, the Muskogee-speaking peoples lived in small settlements along rivers in what are now Alabama and Georgia. ...

Traditional Tales

The Story of Corn (Vce Nak-onvkuce)

Taylor Postoak

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pp. 83-87

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The Boy Who Turned into a Snake

I. Field

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pp. 87-88

Hunters once went out. Three people went and made camp. Then they went out hunting. And one of these was a boy who had a father and mother. ...

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Rabbit Steals Fire

Earnest Gouge

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pp. 89-90

It is said that Rabbit acquired fire. This island had no fire, so there was a meeting to discuss who would be able to get fire. Rabbit said, “I can get it.” But they didn’t believe in him: “Someone more able should be the one,” they said, yet each one said, “I am not able.” ...

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Girl Abducted by Lion

Earnest Gouge

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pp. 90-94

There once lived a group of young men. And there was only one girl. And she was the sister of the young men. ...

Stories of Real People

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Autobiography of James Hill

James Hill

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pp. 95-100

Where people lived by Greenleaf tribal town there was a store. Before the [Civil] War, a man named Sikomaha operated a store. I was born near that store. And a black lady named me. “Jimmy,” she said, and my father’s name was Hilly. My father was Sikomaha’s sister’s son. ...

Traditional Song

Estvmvn Estomen Follatskis (Wherever, However You Are)

Gloria M. McCarty

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pp. 101-102

Chickasaw

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Chickasaw Oral Literature

Lokosh, Joshua D. Hinson

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pp. 105-114

The Chickasaw Nation, a federally recognized tribal nation headquartered in Ada, Oklahoma, is a large tribe with a citizenship of more than 65,000 persons. The Chickasaws have a long history of oral literature including public ceremonial speech, medicinal formulas and ceremonial songs, and traditional storytelling. ...

Chikashsha Naaikbiˈ Anoˍliˈ : Creation-Origin Stories

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Chikashsha Naaikbiˈ Anoˍliˈ (Chickasaw Creation Story)

Juanita Byars

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pp. 115-116

The Chickasaws have always believed in He Who Sits On High, who was composed of four sacred elements from above. ...

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How the Day and Night Were Divided: Traditional

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p. 116

They say a long time ago the animals had a meeting. They used to talk together, just like people do today. Bear was in charge. ...

Shikonnoˈpaˈ : Possum Stories

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Katihmit Loksiˈ Hakshopat Bosholli (Why Turtle Has a Cracked Shell)

Weldon Fulsom

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pp. 117-118

So Skunk’s children were at their house and Turtle arrived. He said to Skunk’s children, “Where has your mother gone?” Skunk’s children said, “She’s gone digging potatoes.” ...

Iksaˈ Nannanoˍ Liˈ : Clan Stories

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Kowimilhlhaˈ Hattakat Lhoˍfaˈ Ittafama (Wildcat Man Meets the Bigfoot)

Zeno McCurtain

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pp. 119-120

Once a number of men belonging to this clan went hunting and camped a considerable distance from home. Afterward they scattered to see what they could find but remained within call of one another, having made an agreement that if anything happened to one of them he should shout for help. ...

Chokoshpaˈ Nannanoˍ Liˈ : Humor Stories

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Fala Shiikiˈ Táwwaˈa, or Falat Ibichchalaˈ Inkaniya (Crow and the Buzzard, or Crow Loses His Nose)

John Puller

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pp. 121-122

One time John was going along to Mill Creek. So he was getting on to Mill Creek, going along the road between Ravia and Mill Creek, in that direction. So near Mill Creek he saw a bunch of buzzards, so he said. ...

Oral Narratives Pose Interpretative Challenges

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Interpretation Is a Tricky Business: Reviewing Glenda Galvan’s Katihsht Ittish Oppoloˈat Okla Alhihaˈ Imalattook (How Poison Came to the Chickasaw and Choctaw, 2011)

Lokosh, Joshua D. Hinson

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pp. 123-138

We use the word interpretation, rather than translation, quite purposefully. When these stories were retold in English, things changed somewhat, and they change when we go back to the original Chickasaw language. Interpreters have to be careful about keeping the important parts intact and bringing back some of the richness that gets lost in translation. ...

Yuchi

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Yuchi Stories

Mary S. Linn

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pp. 139-148

The Yuchi, also spelled Euchee, are a small but vibrant tribe. They are located within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in east-central Oklahoma. Their original homeland was in the southeastern United States, and along with other tribes and tribal towns affiliated with the Creek Confederacy, ...

Mythical Time Stories

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The Red-Mouthed Lizard and the Hunters

Maxey Simms

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pp. 149-151

A long time ago, some people gathered together and agreed to round up a bear. They went out, and while they were hunting, they found a hollow tree with the bark scratched off where something must have climbed it often. They made a fire around the tree and watched for the bear to come out so they could kill it. ...

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How the Yuchi Kill the Red-Mouthed Lizard

Andy Johnson

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pp. 151-152

When the earth was just made, there was plenty of game, and fierce beings were also plentiful. Four sons went hunting.1 Two of them were left to watch the road together. There was a very dark pine woods, and in this grove, there was a very tall pine tree with eagle feathers lying underneath it. ...

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Wind and Iron

Maxey Simms

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pp. 153-156

The wind sent his young boys across the world to see the earth.1 He himself had no arms and no legs, and was just lying there, so he sent his youngsters off. One after the other, he sent them away, and every time he had sent one, the young man did not come back. The youngsters all kept going, and not even one came back. ...

Animal Tales

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The First Woman to Leave a Lazy Husband

unknown

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p. 157

A long time ago, there was a Yuchi man and a pigeon. The pigeon married the man’s sister. After the pigeon was married, he went off into the field to work, but he sat on the stump of a dead tree cooing. ...

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Rabbit and Turkeys

Ida Clinton Riley

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pp. 158-162

Rabbit was in a sack rolling down a hill, just laughing. Turkeys were going by. They heard the rabbit laughing. They came to the edge of the hill to see what Rabbit was doing. Rabbit saw the turkeys. He asked if they would like to try. He got back into the sack, and rolled down the hill again. ...

Stories of the Supernatural

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Spirit Stories

Sam Brown, Mrs. Sam Brown

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pp. 163-164

One evening at the house of Mr. Brown, a half-Yuchi and treasurer of Creek Nation, the conversation turned on spirits. There were present at the time Mr. and Mrs. Brown, an old man who had the reputation of being a great medicine man, and a Yuchi policeman.1 ...

Cherokee

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Cherokee Literature

Christopher B. Teuton

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pp. 167-174

In the prospectus for the Cherokee Phoenix, published in October 1827, Cherokee writer and editor Elias Boudinot outlined the lofty goals for this first American Indian newspaper.1 The biweekly periodical published in both English and Cherokee would present: ...

Galgogv’i: New and Old Lies

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The Rabbit and the Image

Dalala

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pp. 175-176

The Maneaters were going to dig a well.1 There had been no rain, and it was very dry. ...

Rabbit and Possum Look for Wives

Sequoyah Guess

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pp. 176-183

How the Possum Lost His Beautiful Tail

Kathi Smith Littlejohn

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pp. 183-186

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Thunder and the Uk’ten’

Siquanid

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pp. 186-189

This is the story of when an Uk’ten and Thunder had a fight.1 Some people tell it a little different. When I hear other people tell it, sometimes it [their version] seems better. This one I know is a little bit similar, and others have told it before. The older men used to tell this one. ...

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How the White Man Was Made

Hastings Shade

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pp. 189-190

Just like, the other night I was watching the news about the weather. Wind storms and tornados coming through here. ...

Ulvsgedi: Stories of the Wondrous

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The Owl at the Window

Hastings Shade

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pp. 191-192

Not too long ago, about the time they started to build new Indian homes, there was a family that qualified for a new home. The new home was to be built about a half a mile from their old house. Once the new home was completed and the family had moved in, the two boys of the family would sometimes go back to the old homeplace to stay all night. ...

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Crossing Safely

Sammy Still

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pp. 193-194

One day my oldest daughter, wife, and I had traveled to a town about fifty miles away. My daughter had to attend an event so we went with her as chaperones. The event began around 7:00 in the evening. We were provided with a nice dinner, listened to speakers, and then my daughter was introduced and she did her presentation. ...

Santeetlah Ghost Story

Edna Chekelelee

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pp. 194-198

The Little People and the Nunnehi

Robert Bushyhead

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pp. 198-203

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The Spirit of an Ancestor

Hastings Shade

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pp. 203-208

As a young boy growing up along the banks of the Illinois River, I fished and swam in its waters during the summer, and I hunted and trapped along its banks in the winter. In time, as I grew older and began to venture farther up and down the banks of the river I decided I would go up the river and float back down, fish and camp along its banks at night. ...

Kanoheda: Philosophy, History, and Memoir

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The Language and the Fire

Sequoyah Guess, Hastings Shade, Woody Hansen, Christopher B. Teuton

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pp. 209-212

“There is a legend,” Hastings said, “that as long as we speak to the fire in Cherokee it will not go out, and as long as the terrapins sing around the fire we will have the fire for our use. When the language is gone, the fire will be gone. And so will the Cherokees. ...

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A Cherokee Vision of Eloh’: An Excerpt

Sakiya Sanders

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pp. 212-215

When we lived beyond the great waters there were twelve clans belonging to the Cherokee tribe . . . back in the old country in which we lived, the country was subject to great floods. So in the course of time we held a council and decided to build a store reaching to heaven. ...

The Cherokee Migration Story

Sequoyah Guess

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pp. 215-224

The Trail of Tears

Freeman Owle

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pp. 224-229

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Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (excerpt)

Wilma Mankiller, Michael Wallis

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pp. 230-246

My family’s relocation experience in San Francisco was disturbing in many ways. But in retrospect, our ordeal was not nearly as harsh or painful as the problems encountered by the Cherokee people who had been forced to take the Trail of Tears in the late 1830s. ...

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Who Is Cherokee?

Harry Oosahwee, Adawi Donowelani

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pp. 247-251

I grew up in a fairly remote Cherokee community in a small two-room house. We were pretty isolated from the mainstream society during this time. Therefore, we were able to maintain close relations to our extended families and maintain a large part of our culture as well as our language. ...

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Who Is Cherokee?: Federal Recognition, Culture, and Rhetorical Sovereignty

Kimberly G. Wieser

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pp. 251-260

In the title of preceding story, Harry Oosahwee asks what may appear to be an easy question: “Who is Cherokee?” The answer is not as obvious as it seems. While Oosahwee never answers that question directly, his answer is implied, as I have suggested elsewhere, and is common in American Indian discourse when people are making what might be a controversial statement. ...

Koasati

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Koasati (Coushatta) Literature

Linda Langley

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pp. 263-268

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana has been located in the piney woods of southwest Louisiana for almost 150 years. After the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto encountered a Coushatta community on an island in the Tennessee River in 1540, the Coushattas relocated several times to avoid European encroachment. ...

Traditional Stories

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The Bear Hunter and the Alligator’s Gift

Isabel Celestine Robinson

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pp. 269-270

An Indian man was heading out to hunt for a bear, and kept going until he reached the deep end of the woods. ...

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How the Owl Got Skinny Legs

Ronnie Abney

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pp. 271-273

I remember stories my grandparents used to tell us a long time ago. People today might not have ever heard some of these stories. This is one I remember called “How the Owl Got Skinny Legs”: ...

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Getting Fire from the Bear

Crystal Williams

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pp. 273-274

long time ago, Nita (Bear) was the only animal in the forest to have Tikba (Fire). He guarded it and kept it secret from the other animals, so that he was the only creature to always be warm and able to cook his food. At first, Nita took great care of Tikba, always feeding it and stoking it at night so it wouldn’t go out. ...

Modern Stories and Memoirs

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How We Survived Long Ago

Doris Robinson Celestine Battice, Jamison “Jimmy” Poncho

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pp. 275-280

A long time ago, the bayous were so pretty and the water was so clean that everyone would go swimming in it—not like now when the water is all muddy and full of tree roots and trash. We had one body of water on one side of the community where we would go to swim, and one on the other side where we could walk to go swim. ...

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Hunting in the Olden Days, and Tomatoes

Dan Sylestine

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pp. 280-281

When I was little and growing up, I never hunted deer, only hunted squirrels and rabbits. ...

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Grandmother and the Nail

Bertney Langley

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pp. 282-283

When I hear stories that other people tell, I remember some about my grandmother. I used to stay with her at her house as much as I could. ...

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Another Story about Grandmother and a Nail

Bertney Langley

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pp. 283-284

I also have a story about my grandmother. My grandmother was also a medicine person. My story is about a nail and a medicine person, too. My story is a lot like Bertney’s, but mine is different because my foot didn’t heal right away. ...

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Grandmother and the Gift Card

Lorenda Poncho

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pp. 284-285

There is a story that we love to tell the kids about their grandmother, my mom. This is something that happened when she was older, already in her eighties. We have a lot of funny stories about things she said or did, especially when she was trying to adapt to things that were new to her, and when she was trying to say things in English. ...

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Grandmother and the Turtle

Claudine Celestine Hasting

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pp. 285-286

One summer, we took our grandmother to the zoo in Houston. She had never been to a big city before, so she was apprehensive but eager to experience the big city. She lived in a small town in Louisiana so this was all new to her. ...

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On My Way to the Meeting (Ittanahkafa Aayaliis)

Janice Battise Sylestine

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pp. 287-288

Today as I was coming to the meeting, I was looking outside through my car window. ...

Smaller Southeastern Tribes

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Introduction to Atakapa, Catawba, and Houma Stories

William Sconzert-Hall

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pp. 291-298

Along with larger groups such as the Cherokee, Creek (Muskogee), Choctaw, and Chickasaw, there are smaller nations that have continuously called the southern United States their homeland. Some of these groups were part of a larger confederacy, anchored by larger, more powerful tribes, while others were relatively autonomous. ...

Atakapa-Ishak

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Interpretation of the Creation Myth

Shaman Shawn Papillion

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pp. 299-301

Our creation story is astounding in a comparative relationship to other more established creation myths promoted by the great established religions and beliefs. The Atakapa-Ishak are a prehistoric indigenous tribe of southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas that some anthropologists have estimated to have lived in their ancestral home for 10,000 years or more. ...

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Otsitat, the One Who Sits Above All The Making of the Earth

Shaman Shawn Papillion

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pp. 301-304

In the beginning there was no earth to live on, but up above, in the Great Blue water where Otsitat sat above all, there was a woman who dreamed dreams. ...

Catawba

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Interpretation of a Folktale

Beckee Garris

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p. 305

This story is part of a larger genre. We normally say: “A long time ago the Ancient people said, ‘This is how the __ (fill in the blank here).’” Native people tell stories not only to entertain children but they are told as a means of teaching them some of life’s lessons. ...

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How the Chipmunk Got Its Stripes

Beckee Garris

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p. 306

A long time ago, it is said, the Ancient People told how this is the way the chipmunk came to look the way it does today. ...

Houma

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Interpretation of Two Traditional Stories

MorningDove Verret Hopkins, William Sconzert-Hall

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p. 307

The two Houma stories showcased in this chapter are centered on the same theme: boastfulness and how it can lead to bad consequences for the bragger. Being a braggart is seen as a particularly bad trait among the Houma. ...

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How Rabbit Lost His Tail

MorningDove Verret Hopkins

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pp. 307-308

At one time, the rabbit had this beautiful, beautiful long luscious tail and he used to go brag to all the other animals, “Don’t you wish you had a beautiful tail like mine? I have the most beautiful tail in the world.” He would wrap it around his head and he made them feel so bad because it was so beautiful. ...

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How Turtle Broke His Shell

MorningDove Verret Hopkins

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pp. 308-310

Turtle used to brag to all the animals that his shell was so fine and that he could also stay underwater. How many animals could do the things he could do? Can the rabbit or deer breathe under? No, but Turtle could. One day, he came across a nest of baby owls and teased them about the way they looked. They started crying and their mother showed. ...

Source Acknowledgments

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pp. 311-314

List of Contributors

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pp. 315-318

Index

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pp. 319-327

Further Series Titles

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