Telling Our Stories: Omushkego Legends and Histories from Hudson Bay

By Louis Bird

© 2005

Since the 1970s, Louis Bird, a distinguished Aboriginal storyteller and historian, has been recording the stories and memories of Omushkego (Swampy Cree) communities along western Hudson and James Bays. In nine chapters, he presents some of the most vivid legends and historical stories from his collection, casting new light on his people’s history, culture, and values. Working with the editors and other contributors to provide background and context for the stories, he illuminates their many levels of meaning and brings forward the value system and world-view that underlie their teachings.

Students of Aboriginal culture, history, and literature will find that this is no ordinary book of stories compiled from a remote, disconnected voice, but rather a project in which the teller, deeply engaged in preserving his people's history, language, and values, is committed to bringing his listeners and readers as far along the road to understanding as he possibly can.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
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SKU# HE000247

  • PUBLISHED AUG 2005

    From: $28.86

    Regular Price: $33.95

    ISBN 9781551115801
  • PUBLISHED AUG 2005
    From: $27.95

Quick Overview

Louis Bird, a distinguished Aboriginal storyteller and historian, presents some of the most vivid legends and historical stories from his collection, casting new light on his people's history, culture, and values.

Telling Our Stories: Omushkego Legends and Histories from Hudson Bay

By Louis Bird

© 2005

Since the 1970s, Louis Bird, a distinguished Aboriginal storyteller and historian, has been recording the stories and memories of Omushkego (Swampy Cree) communities along western Hudson and James Bays. In nine chapters, he presents some of the most vivid legends and historical stories from his collection, casting new light on his people’s history, culture, and values. Working with the editors and other contributors to provide background and context for the stories, he illuminates their many levels of meaning and brings forward the value system and world-view that underlie their teachings.

Students of Aboriginal culture, history, and literature will find that this is no ordinary book of stories compiled from a remote, disconnected voice, but rather a project in which the teller, deeply engaged in preserving his people's history, language, and values, is committed to bringing his listeners and readers as far along the road to understanding as he possibly can.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    This is an amazing book, carefully produced with helpful maps, glossary, notes, and illustrations. The editors' preface and Louis Bird's own introduction to his life and work orient the reader so everything works together to create the context for understanding the stories themselves. And the stories are wonderful! Illuminating and ranging widely over a variety of topics and themes, they are skillfully told and rendered. This is a moving and comprehensive book. We should be grateful to Mr. Bird and his collaborators for allowing us into this world.


    Brian Swann, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

    Mr. Louis Bird is a distinguished public intellectual from his Omushkego (Cree) community who has collaborated effectively with scholars from the University of Winnipeg to bring his knowledge to his own community and beyond. Rarely do outsiders have such an opportunity to hear an elder speak in the full range of oral tradition genres: from creation stories and traditional legends to historical memories passed down by previous generations of cultural experts within the community, to personal experiences, to elegiac reflection on contemporary loss of culture and language (which he dates to 1980 when most people stopped living on the land). These narratives are unified by Mr. Bird's self-confidence and pride in his Omushkego ways. He has sought out others with traditional knowledge and incorporated their words in his own synthesis. He records this knowledge, which is the intellectual property of his community, so that future generations will have access to it.


    Regna Darnell, Director of First Nations Studies Program, University of Western Ontario
  • Author Information

    Louis Bird is a widely known storyteller and historian of his Omushkego (Swampy Cree) people. A member of Winisk First Nation, he resides in Peawanuck near the shore of Hudson Bay. He has devoted the last three decades to preserving Omushkego stories, language, and history on audiotape. More than 80 of the stories he has gathered, along with overviews of his life story and the Winisk region, are presented on the website www.ourvoices.ca, produced by the Omushkego Oral History Project at the University of Winnipeg.


    Jennifer S.H. Brown is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg, Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Peoples in an Urban and Regional Context, and Director of the Centre for Rupert's Land Studies at the University of Winnipeg. She is the author of Strangers in Blood: Fur Trade Company Families in Indian Country (University of Oklahoma Press, 1996).
  • Table of contents

    List of Maps and Illustrations

    Preface and Acknowledgements, The Editors

    Glossary of Cree Terms

        Words and Personal Names

        Place Names

        Suggested Language Resources

        Maps

    Chapter 1: An Omushkego Storyteller and his Book

        A Quotation Story: "It Must Be Your Thigh Bone that You Hear"

    Chapter 2: "Now, the Question of Creation": Stories About Beginnings and the World before We Came

        Introduction, Paul W. DePasquale

        Giant Animals

        Mi-she-shek-kak (The Giant Skunk)

        Creator Talks to the Animals About the Emergence of the Humans

        E-hep

    Chapter 3: Mi-te-wi-win: Stories of Shamanism and Survival

        Introduction, Mark F. Ruml

        The Dream Quest and Mi-te-wi-win

        Guidance and Instruction From an Older Relative

        Dream Quest

        Extra Senses - Mind Power

        Mi-te-wak Fights

        Introduction to the Shaking Tent, Mark F. Ruml

        The Shaking Tent

    Chapter 4: Mi-tew Power: Stories of Shamanic Showdowns

        Introduction, Mark F. Ruml  

        The Legend of We-mis-shoosh

        The Young Orphan Boy Defeats a Powerful and Feared Mi-tew

    Chapter 5: Omens, Mysteries, and First Encounters

        Introduction, Jennifer S.H. Brown

        The Omushkego Captive and the Na-to-way-wak: A Remarkable Escape

        Omens, Mysteries, and First Encounters with Europeans

        "I Cannot Have Anything from these We-mis-ti-go-si-wak"

        "In the Memory of the Wikeson I-skwe-o"

        Cha-ka-pesh and the Sailors

        Strangers on Akimiski Island: Helping a Grounded Ship

        Wa-pa-mo-win, the Mirror

    Chapter 6: "The Wailing Clouds" (Pa-so-way-yan-nask Chi-pe-ta-so-win)

        Introduction, Anne Lindsay

        The Wailing Clouds

    Chapter 7: Arrows and Thunder Sticks: Technologies Old and New

        Introduction, Roland Bohr

        On Firearms and Archery

    Chapter 8: Mi-te-wi-win versus Christianity: Grand Sophia's Story

        Introduction, Donna G. Sutherland

        Grand Sophia's Near-Death Experience

    Chapter 9: Conclusion: Problems and Hopes

    References

    Notes on Contributors

    Index

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