CENTER, NY -- As a child, Joseph Bruchac sought out stories
from his American Indian heritage. His ancestry is also
Slovak and English, but it was the Abenaki blood he followed.
he was a student at Syracuse University in the 1960s, he
often rode his motorcycle onto the Onondaga Reservation
to visit trading posts, where he listened for hours to stories
told by people who became lifelong friends.
Bruchac's sons were born, he told them stories about Gluskabi,
a demigod in the Abenaki tradition. Bruchac began publishing
his own books when the personal computer gave him a tool
that allowed the quick, frequent revisions that fit his
writing style. Now 68, Bruchac is the author of 120 books.
and his wife, Carol, who died earlier this year, worked
alongside each other promoting Native American culture and
traditions. They were married for 48 years. Their sons,
Jesse and James Bruchac, joined them in their work and,
with their father, run the Ndakinna Education Center in
Greenfield Center, which offers programs for all ages on
Native American and Adirondack culture as well as wilderness
skills. They also host the biennial Saratoga Native American
Festival at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, which takes
place Oct. 1-2 this year.
1976, after his first collection of stories, "Turkey Brother
and Other Iroquois Stories," was published, a friend invited
Bruchac to a school to share the tales.
walked in with my book in my hand, I looked around and I
thought, 'these kids don't want to watch me read,' and I
never opened the book," Bruchac said.
the 35 years since, he's followed the same practice -- he
said he lets his intuition guide him through the vast index
of stories in his mind, and chooses the one "that needs
to be heard," based on the atmosphere in the school.
good story entertains and teaches," Bruchac said, in his
smooth, deep tenor.
June, the National Storytelling Network named Bruchac the
winner of the Talking Leaves Award, presented to storytellers
who have made outstanding contributions to the literary
body of storytelling as authors, editors or collectors.
his latest book, "Dragon Castle," a young adult novel published
in June by Dial Press, Bruchac expanded the source material
for his stories to include the Slovak part of his heritage.
more information visit: http://www.josephbruchac.com/