Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club by Christopher B. Teuton

By Christopher B. Teuton

On a cold autumn night we assemble on the Cherokee historical past heart in Park Hill, simply outdoors of Tahlequah in northeastern Oklahoma. i'm assembly with Hastings color, Sammy nonetheless, Sequoyah wager, and Woody Hansen, a bunch of Cherokee storytellers who name themselves the Turtle Island Liars’ membership. The Turtle Island Liars’ membership is an institution—its participants have played jointly for almost 20 years and are identified all through Cherokee state and nationally for his or her mastery of Cherokee oral functionality and standard teachings. The membership and that i are taking part at the first selection of Western Cherokee storytelling released in over...

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Example text

I asked. ” 7XUWOH ,VODQG When I began to work on this book with the Liars’ Club, I found there were some stories that everyone knew and often referred to, but rarely told. Many of them were the stories that anchored the Cherokee worldview. One such story is the story of Turtle Island. I asked Sequoyah if he could tell the story he knew of Turtle Island. “Well, mine’s just really short,” he said. He told me that if I wanted a fuller version that I should ask Hastings if he would tell it. I never got the chance.

And then when I went to school I lost it; I was taught English, so I lost that. But I didn’t lose my understanding of the language. I understood it fluently. But I think it was to the point where I was afraid to speak my language after I got into school because, like everything else, people made fun of you, your language and all this. So, I went to school, I did what everybody said. You go to school, get your education, and then you get a job or whatever. So I did that. And, when I did do that, my job took me out into the rural communities.

There’s no set time for death. ” “The Cherokee conception of death,” I think out loud. ” “Yeah. Yeah,” Hastings agrees. “There’s no . . it don’t end, you know? It just one more step in who we are. It just like, an old man gave me a good example one time. ’ Just like my next step, I’m going to be standing in front of him. Our life should be to a point where we shouldn’t dread that next step. ” “There’s no end. This is the journey that the Cherokees followed as a tribe and as individuals,” he said pointing to the looped square.

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