Posted: October 31, 2006
Abenaki storyteller, historical interpreter, and writer Marge Bruchac will present "Journeying with the Ancestors: Connecting Past and Present Native Lives through Story" on Tuesday, November 7, at 7 pm in Hooker Auditorium. This keynote presentation kicks off the November events honoring Native American Heritage Month.
Bruchac will share a selection of traditional stories, historical anecdotes, and personal experiences that demonstrate the need for improved public education, political work, and museum interpretation in order to deconstruct popular stereotypes and (mis)representations of northeastern Native American Indian peoples. She notes, "What too few modern Americans realize is that indigenous survival has always been a balancing act--between past and present, between loss and recovery, between new influences and old traditions." Her writings on indigenous histories and stories provoke readers to reexamine their preconceptions about New England history. Recent works include "Earthshapers and Placemakers: Algonkian Indian Stories and the Landscape" in Indigenous Archaeologies: Decolonizing Theory and Practice, and a series of essays on the Native peoples of the Connecticut River Valley for the Web site Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704. Her book Malian's Song, from the Vermont Folklife Center and University Press of New England, was recently chosen as editor's pick by the New York Times Book Review.
Bruchac is also an acclaimed performer and has appeared at Old Sturbridge Village, Plimoth Plantation, and the First Nations Festival in Montreal. She was honored in 2000 as the "Storyteller of the Year" by the national Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers. She is currently teaching a new course, Decolonizing Methodologies, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and has been appointed a Visiting Indigenous Fellow at Harvard.
This event is sponsored by the student organization Native Spirit, the Center for the Environment, the Native American Heritage Month Committee, and the Office of the Dean of Students. Native Spirit seeks to provide support for Native American students, to promote general awareness of issues concerning the Native American population at Mount Holyoke, and to strengthen the College's affiliation with Native American students in the Five College community.
Bruchac's presentation is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.