Joseph Bruchac ~ Native American

Published on May 14, 2012 by Amy

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Joseph Bruchac
Joseph Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac (born 1942) is a writer of books relating to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a particular focus on northeastern Native American and Anglo-American lives and folklore. He has published works of poetry, novels, and short stories. He is from Saratoga Springs, New York, and is of Abenaki, English, and Slovak ethnicity. Among his works are the novel Dawn Land (1993) and its sequel, Long River (1995), which are about a young Abenaki man in pre-European contact times.

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Bruchac is best known for his work as a Native writer and storyteller, with more than 120 books and numerous awards to his credit. Bruchac is also known for his generous efforts in encouraging other Native writers and performing artists. As one of the founders of the Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, he has helped numerous Native authors get their work published. He began publishing in 1971 and has collaborated on eight books with his son Jim. In 1999, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.

Bruchac was a varsity heavyweight wrestler at Cornell University and is a former high school “and junior high wrestling”. For more than three decades, he has also been a devoted student of the martial arts. He holds the ranks of pengawal and pendekar in Pencak Silat, the martial art of Indonesia, and has studied various forms of T’ai chi, capoeira, kung fu wushu, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with numerous teachers. He does not regard himself as a master. His two sons, Jim and Jesse, are also martial arts teachers. Jim is a sensei and fourth degree black belt in karate, and Jesse is co-owner of a mixed martial arts academy.

Bruchac lives in Greenfield Center, New York, with Carol, his wife of 42 years and his partner in running the Greenfield Review Press, Bowman Books, and the Native American Authors Catalogue. Mr. Bruchac is also a well-loved performer, known for ability in storytelling, and for the playing of Native instruments, including the hand drum, wooden flute, and the double wooden flute, which produces two notes at the same time. He performs with his sister, Marge Bruchac, and his sons, Jim and Jesse, as part of The Dawnland Singers.

His most recent novel, March Toward the Thunder, features Native men who enlisted in the American Civil War; it is based on the experiences of his great-grandfather, Louis Bowman. Joseph Bruchac has also written Code talker: A Book About the Navajo Marines. Code talkers were used in World War II.

Short Author Biography: Joseph Bruchac is an acclaimed Abenaki children’s book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael J. Caduto of the best-selling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac’s poems, articles and stories have appeared in over 500 publications, from Akwesasne Notes and The American Poetry Review to National Geographic Magazine and Parabola.

Joseph Bruchac and Michael J. Caduto co-authored Keepers of the Animals. This is a book in the Keeper of the Earth series. In this book, there are several lessons that deal with animals. Each lesson contains a Native North American story about animals. Following the story, there is a discussion and questions that can be asked. These questions can be used to discuss the comprehension of the story. Then there are activities that can be used to allow the students more hands-on activities. For example, there is a story about the mark of the spider (the web). The students make a web using hula hoops and velcro strips. This allows the students to see how sticky the web is and how spiders can catch their food.

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