As Sacred to Us
Simon Pokagon’s Birch Bark Stories in Their Contexts
American Indian Studies
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Sales Date: 2023-10-01
170 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- ISBN: 9781611864625
- Published: October 2023
Originally published in 1893 and 1901, Simon Pokagon’s birch bark stories were printed on thinly peeled and elegantly bound birch bark. In this edition, these rare booklets are reprinted with new essays that set the stories in cultural, linguistic, historical, and even geological context. Experts in Native literary traditions, history, Algonquian languages, the Michigan landscape, and materials conservation illuminate the thousands of years of Indigenous knowledge that Pokagon elevated in his stories. This is an essential resource for teachers and scholars of Native literature, Neshnabé pasts and futures, Algonquian linguistics, and book history.
As Sacred to Us unfurls the complexity of Simon Pokagon’s work and the meaning his publications still hold for readers today. As Pokagon Potawatomi acts of bookmaking, his words and the material presentations of them are important intercultural artifacts. Simon includes several languages spoken by members of his community across the generations and gives insight into Anishinaabe philosophy, geosciences, and theology. This reprinting of his narratives allows the land his ancestors knew as “wawkwing dash Au-kee” (heaven on earth) to remain part of the way we understand the southwest shores of Mi-shi-gan (Lake Michigan) today.
—Margaret Noodin, cocreator of www.ojibwe.net, author of two bilingual collections of poetry in Anishinaabemowin and English