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Jackie Baldwin jackie@story-lovers.com
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Innovative Projects

Abenaki Storytelling by Joseph Bruchac

Keywords: elementary school, middle school, high school

ABSTRACT

Joseph Bruchac lives with his wife, Carol, in the Adirondack mountain foothills town of Greenfield Center, New York, in the same house where his maternal grandparents raised him. Much of his writing draws on that land and his Abenaki ancestry. Although his American Indian heritage is only one part of an ethnic background that includes Slovak and English blood, those Native roots are the ones by which he has been most nourished. He, his younger sister Margaret, and his two grown sons, James and Jesse, continue to work extensively in projects involving the preservation of Abenaki culture, language and traditional Native skills, including performing traditional and contemporary Abenaki music with the Dawnland Singers.

As a professional teller of the traditional tales of the Adirondacks and the Native peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands, Bruchac has performed widely in Europe and throughout the United States from Florida to Hawaii and has been featured at such events as the British Storytelling Festival and the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tennessee. He has been a storyteller-in-residence for Native American organizations and schools throughout the continent, including the Institute of Alaska Native Arts and the Onondaga Nation School. He discusses Native culture and his books and does storytelling programs at dozens of elementary and secondary schools each year as a visiting author.

Bruchac has authored more than 70 books for adults and children, including The First Strawberries, Keepers of the Earth (co-authored with Michael Caduto), Tell Me a Tale, and When the Chenoo Howls (co-authored with his son, James).

Among many other awards, he received both the 1998 Writer of the Year Award and the 1998 Storyteller of the Year Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.

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