By Tom Mould
256 pp., 38 b&w illustrations, foreword, bibliography, index
9781578066834 Paper $25.00T
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A treasury of tribal lore told by past and present Choctaw storytellers
Including stories from the 1700s to today, Choctaw Tales showcases the mythic, the legendary and supernatural, the prophecies and histories, the animal fables and jokes that make up the rich and lively Choctaw storytelling tradition. The stories display intelligence, artistry, and creativity as Choctaw narrators, past and present, express and struggle with beliefs, values, humor, and life experiences. Photographs of the storytellers complement the text. For sixteen tales, the Choctaw-language version appears in addition to the English translation.
Many of these stories, passed down through generations, address the Choctaw sense of isolation and tension as storytellers confront eternal, historical, and personal questions about the world and its inhabitants. Choctaw Tales, the first book to collect these stories, creates a comprehensive gathering of oral traditions from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.
Each story brings to life the complex and colorful world of the Choctaw tribe and its legend and lore. The shukha anumpa include tall tales, jokes, and stories of rabbit and turtle and bear. The stories of the elders are populated by spirits that bring warnings and messages to the people. As a whole, these tales provide a spectrum of legend and a glimpse of a vibrant, thriving legacy.
Tom Mould is a professor of folklore at Elon University and is the author of Choctaw Prophecy: A Legacy of the Future.
Photo: Melford Farve, 1997-copyright Alison J. Whyte256 pp., 38 b&w illustrations, foreword, bibliography, index