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About the Book

Beyond the Book

144 pp., 6 x 9, 14 illus., 1 map

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

Collected and edited by Barbara R. Duncan


Cherokee people have lived in the Great Smoky Mountains for thousands of years. During all this time, they have told stories to each other to explain how things came to be, to pass on lessons about life, and to describe the mountains, animals, plants, and spirits around them. The Origin of the Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the Cherokee collects 27 stories that are great for kids and are still being told by storytellers today.

Presented by members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in their own words, the stories appear in free-verse form, like poems on the page, so that if you read them aloud, you can hear the rhythm of the stories as they were originally told. Barbara R. Duncan provides a helpful introduction that describes Cherokee people's past and present ways of life and their storytelling traditions. The book also includes a glossary of key words from the stories, suggestions for further reading, and notes on the storytellers. For young readers, for parents to read aloud to young listeners, and for teachers and libraries, The Origin of the Milky Way provides an excellent introduction to Cherokee culture. (For readers age 9 and up.)

Storytellers:

Davy Arch

Robert Bushyhead

Edna Chekelelee

Marie Junaluska

Kathi Littlejohn

Freeman Owle

About the Author

Barbara R. Duncan is education director at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina. She collected and edited the original Living Stories of the Cherokee and co-authored The Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook (both from the University of North Carolina Press). The North Carolina Folklife Society has honored Duncan’s contribution to the study of North Carolina folklife with the 2008 Brown-Hudson Award. Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee) is an award-winning artist and activist who lives and works in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


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