The Origin of the Milky Way

$13.00 each

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Duncan, education director at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina, grouped these 26 short, appealing stories by seven themes, a reflection of the sacred number.

Available in paperback or hardcover.  Barbara Duncan, The Origin of the Milky Way & Other Living Stories of the Cherokee. 2008, b/w illustrations by Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee).

Duncan, education director at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina, grouped these 26 short, appealing stories by seven themes, a reflection of the sacred number: living with people, living with animals, living with plants and the earth, living with spirits, living with monsters, living with Cherokee language, and living with the past and future. The stories—told by elders Davy Arch, Robert Bushyhead, Edna Chekelelee, Marie Junaluska, Kathi Littlejohn, and Freeman Owle—teach that everyone has something to contribute (even if you are a rattlesnake, a small clumsy child or a bird with big feet), that bragging and boasting will get you nowhere (except maybe a ratty-looking tail), that generosity can get rewarded in a number of ways (including being taught all the cures of the forest), and that the sight and smell of strawberries can remind us not to fight with those we love. All of the stories—which range from very funny to very sad to very scary—teach connection to land, culture and community. Duncan’s introduction for young people, explaining past and present Cherokee life and the nature and purpose of Cherokee storytelling, avoids the overbearing tone that is all too common in collections compiled by people who lack a relationship with the community.