Telling Stories in the Face of Danger
Language Renewal in Native American Communities
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
288 Pages | 6 x 9 | 3 b&w illus., 2 maps
Highlighting language renewal programs, Telling Stories in the Face of Danger presents case studies from various North American communities that show tribal stories as vehicles of moral development, healing, and the construction of identity. For the Arizona Tewa, storytelling is tied to the growth and development of children, as well as to the cultivation of corn and other staples. In some Apachean and Pueblo groups, people are traditionally scolded with the rebuke: “Didn’t your grandmother ever teach you the stories?”
Several essays presented here describe successful efforts to maintain, revitalize, and renew narrative traditions or to adapt them to new institutions, such as schools. Others consider less successful efforts, noting conflicts among older and younger tribal members or differences between academic and traditional language expertise or between insiders and outsiders. The contributors, some of whom are members of the communities they describe, also examine the use of narrative as an act of resistance.
Telling Stories in the Face of Danger bridges the gap between anthropology, linguistics, and Native American studies. It will engage readers in a crucial dialogue as it brings ethnographic research to bear on language endangerment.