Long-Ago Stories of the Eastern Cherokee by Lloyd Arneach is a captivating collection of traditional Cherokee tales, meticulously curated and narrated by native Cherokee and professional storyteller, Lloyd Arneach. The book, published on March 21, 2008, offers readers an immersive journey into the rich cultural heritage of the Cherokee people.
The book is a treasure trove of Cherokee folklore, encompassing a wide range of stories that span from creation myths to animal tales. These narratives are deeply rooted in the Cherokee belief system, which perceives the earth as a floating island suspended by ropes at each cardinal point from the sky’s vault.
One of the most intriguing tales in the book is the story of the Moon-Eyed people, a mysterious race of pale-skinned, blue-eyed individuals believed to have originated from parts of Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. Another fascinating narrative recounts the Cherokee’s tumultuous journey from their island home south of the United States, driven away by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The book also pays homage to Sequoyah, a significant figure in Cherokee history who created the Cherokee Syllabary, a written form of the Cherokee language. This invention allowed literacy and printing to flourish in the Cherokee Nation in the early 19th century and continues to be used today.
Arneach’s storytelling prowess shines through in his engaging narration, making the book a delightful read for both children and adults. The stories are not only entertaining but also educational, offering valuable insights into Cherokee history, culture, and belief systems.
What I Liked
I loved all the things about the book. I wish there was even more, and I’m thankful that these stories have been recorded. I picked this book up after backpacking in the Cohutta Wilderness and thinking about all the myths that my kids learn are set in Greece, Scandinavia, and Rome. So many directly relate to the land.
The land that they explore is the Georgia Piedmont – so why not tell them those stories? Sadly, the stories of the Mississippians and the Woodland peoples were never recorded, but the Cherokee did record their stories, which are all set in the Southern Appalachians.
I loved the references to the fauna (possums!) and flora (white oaks!) that surround anyone who lives in Georgia, Tennessee, or North Carolina**. Also, this collection was good, but even better option is Grandmother Spider Brings The Sun.
**and…of course there’s a teachable moment there about the Indian Removal of 1830,the importance of maintaining the Qualla Boundary Reservation, supporting efforts of the Eastern Band of lawful representation in Congress, and generally supporting the only Cherokee who still live in the Southern Appalachians.
What I Did Not Like
Nothing – excellent read.