This book is an amazing tour de force! “Eastern Cherokee Stories is the most thoroughly contextualized book of Eastern Cherokee narratives to date, with rich Cherokee language information worked in wherever possible. It is a very welcome contribution to Cherokee studies and to the existing collections of Cherokee stories.” – Margaret Bender. Yes, this is not simply a collection of stories. Rather it is a treatise on Cherokee heritage and values that incorporates stories into it – in a different typeface. Many enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have worked very hard to promote Cherokee stories, performing them at a variety of venues, and collecting them as well, occasionally, in print. This book celebrates their contributions and transcribes their stories in their words with appropriate attribution and a different typeface, so readers can choose to just read the stories or to read the stories with the context provided. The story-tellers include “Kathi Smith Littlejohn, Davy Arch, Freeman Owle, Lloyd Arneach, Jerry Wolfe, Butch and Louis Goings, Bear Taylor, Chief Joyce Dugan, Walker Calhoun, Amy Walker, Pat Calhoun,” and enrolled members of Western Cherokee nations, the late Robert Conley and Tom Belt, both of whom taught at Western Carolina University. Also incorporated are stories told by Swimmer and others to James Mooney of the U. S. Bureau of Ethnology over 100 years ago. Joyce Dugan, who wrote the introduction to this book, was the first woman elected to be the Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians serving from 1995 until 1999. In that position, she established a cultural division of tribal government and was active in environmental and health issues, especially in efforts to curtail diabetes. A teacher, she previously served as superintendent of the Cherokee Schools. She has been the co-author of several books. In her Foreword, she celebrates how the concepts of Gadugi and Duyvkta are incorporated in this book, and explains that Gudugi is “the practice of helping the whole community, and Duyvkta [is] the belief that individuals have the responsibility to promote harmony, peace, balance and kindness.” The author, Sandra Muse Isaacs, is a descendent of members of the Bird Clan of the Eastern Band and is Assistant Professor of Indigenous Literature and English Language and Literature at the University of Windsor [Ontario].
Norman: The University of Oklahoma Press, 2019. 305 pages with an Index, Works Cited, Notes and a Foreword by Joyce Dugan. Hardback with pictorial cover.