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Beyond the Book

264 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 14 drawings, bibl

ISBN  978-1-4696-2998-8
Published: August 2016

Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club

Christopher B. Teuton

Awards & Distinctions

2013 American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation

2014 Storytelling World Honoree, Special Storytelling Resources

Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club paints a vivid, fascinating portrait of a community deeply grounded in tradition and dynamically engaged in the present. A collection of forty interwoven stories, conversations, and teachings about Western Cherokee life, beliefs, and the art of storytelling, the book orchestrates a multilayered conversation between a group of honored Cherokee elders, storytellers, and knowledge-keepers and the communities their stories touch. Collaborating with Hastings Shade, Sammy Still, Sequoyah Guess, and Woody Hansen, Cherokee scholar Christopher B. Teuton has assembled the first collection of traditional and contemporary Western Cherokee stories published in over forty years.

Not simply a compilation, Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club explores the art of Cherokee storytelling, or as it is known in the Cherokee language, gagoga (gah-goh-gá), literally translated as "he or she is lying." The book reveals how the members of the Liars' Club understand the power and purposes of oral traditional stories and how these stories articulate Cherokee tradition, or "teachings," which the storytellers claim are fundamental to a construction of Cherokee selfhood and cultural belonging. Four of the stories are presented in both English and Cherokee.

About the Author

Christopher B. Teuton (Cherokee Nation) is professor and chair of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington and author of Deep Waters: The Textual Continuum in American Indian Literature.


"Teuton’s book is as close as some will ever get to hearing the old stories, the old ways. . . . Recommended. All levels/libraries."

"This important collection is a valuable resource for keeping ancient traditions alive now and in the future."

“An important document for generations to come. It should be an integral part of any Cherokee reader’s collection as well as that of anyone interested in oral traditions and fine storytelling in general.”
--Roy Boney Jr., Indian Country Today

“The Liars’ Club members’ personal reflections and anecdotes about their own lives add dimension to the traditional stories of the ordinary and the wondrous.”
--Now & Then

“A masterwork. [This book] will be read, studied, and quoted fifty years from now. . . . It is that significant.”
--Studies in American Indian Literatures

"Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club is a book that will be read, studied, and quoted fifty years from now."

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