Published on November 14, 2012 by Carol
Author: Joseph Bruchac
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Bruchac ( Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back ) is perhaps the best – known contemporary Native American storyteller. This slim, highly entertaining volume of 17 original stories touches upon a wide range of Native experiences and spans time from the mythic past to the present. In one story, Indians battle the monstrous Ice-hearts, who turn out to be European invaders clad in shiny armor. The story of Albany mayor Peter Schuyler who was outwitted by a seemingly indolent Native is consonant with African American narratives about slaves getting the better of their masters. In one of the most skillful stories, two Indians from different tribes are recruited during World War II to sneak information past the Germans by talking “Native American.” Conversant with different languages, the two are at a loss until they realize they both speak German–but so badly only they can understand it. Three short stories of the Adirondack wilderness (where sounds might be the wind or “songs from a throat more ancient than most of us care to think much about”) deserve to be singled out. Even on the printed page, Bruchac’s tales ring of the oral tradition he helps preserve. His stories are often poignant, funny, ironic–and sometimes all three at once.