Joseph Bruchac

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  • Born: October 16, 1942
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Poet









Joseph Bruchac is a writer of books relating to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a particular focus on northeastern Native American and Anglo-American lives and folklore. He has published poetry, novels, and short stories. Bruchac is from Saratoga Springs, New York, and is of Abenaki, English, and Slovak ethnicity. Among his works are the novel Dawn Land (1993) and its sequel, Long River (1995), which feature a young Abenaki man before European contact.

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At a time when Europeans already had a long history of violent contact with Native people, Lewis and Clark made most of their journey in peace. Time ;History ;War & Peace
Every year, I travel extensively in the autumn and the spring. I set most of the winter and summer aside for my family and my own tribal relatives. But during that traveling time, I often find myself visiting other native communities around the continent - perhaps a dozen or more each year. Time ;Travel ;Families, Children & Parenting
From my teenage years on, I sought out Native elders from many tribal nations and listened to their words. I also started a small press, The Greenfield Review Press, and became very involved with publishing the work of other American Indian authors, especially books of poetry. Literature, Writers & Writing ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I did not walk every step of the Trail of Tears at one time. Instead, over the last 20 years, I have walked various segments of it in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Time
I don't recall exactly when I first began reading about Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery, but I suspect that it was in fourth grade.
I grew up in the small town of Greenfield Center, New York, which is in the foothills of the Adirondacks not far from the city of Saratoga Springs. It is a place I love, close to the forests and the mountains. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I often find myself unsatisfied with books 'about' Indians because they are written from the viewpoint of non-Indians.
I think every writer will tell you that their characters are always partially themselves: who I am and what I've experienced. It's always there in part of my characters.
I think I always knew I would be a writer some day, but it wasn't until I was grown and had children of my own that I turned to telling Native American stories.
I was a very avid reader when I was a child, and I also was a good listener.
I was raised by my grandparents, who had a little general store. My grandmother, Marion Dunham Bowman, was a graduate of Albany Law School. Although she never did practice law, she kept the house filled with books. It's because of her that I was always reading.
I'm inspired by many different things. Often, I'm inspired by experiences I've had, books I've read, people I've met, stories I've heard.
It is amazing to me that so little is still known about the Trail of Tears or the lives of the Cherokees themselves.
My family is Abenaki Indian on my mother's side. My father's side of the family is Slovak, and we also have some English ancestry. Families, Children & Parenting
My grandfather, Jesse Bowman, was of Abenaki Indian descent. He could barely read and write, but I remember him as one of the kindest people I ever knew. I followed him everywhere. He showed me how to walk quietly in the woods and how to fish.
My own special knowledge is about the Abenaki people and, to some degree, my Iroquois neighbors. But whenever I write anything about another tribal nation, I always get a lot of help. Not just from books, but from people who belong to that tribal nation. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
One of the things I've been taught by Native American elders is the importance of patience, of waiting to do things when the time is right. Time ;Patience
Over the years, I found myself traveling parts of the Lewis and Clark Trail, putting my hands in the river where they set out from St. Louis, viewing the Great Falls of Montana, standing by the same Pacific Ocean they saw with such joy.
The Cherokees tried to do everything within the law and wished only to live in peace on their own lands. Yet they were cheated out of their birthright and treated as if they were less than human. War & Peace
The special skills necessary for being a storyteller are really very simple. I actually talked about them in a book of mine called 'Tell Me a Tale.' Those basic skills are to listen, to observe, to remember, and to share.
The Trail of Tears has a great deal of meaning for every person of American Indian ancestry, whether they are Cherokee or not. For me, it has always stood for what is best and worst about the history of the United States. History
The Trail of Tears should teach all of us the importance of respect for others who are different from ourselves and compassion for those who have difficulties. Respect
To begin with, I want to tell a good story, a story that people will listen to and that they'll think this is true, even if it is a story that might be defined as - as myth or legend or even fanciful.
Very good records exist about the Trail of Tears. Journals and other records kept by Cherokees and non-Indians tell such things as which people were where on which day.

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