Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club


Teuton, Christopher B. Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012. 253 pages.

Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club paints a vivid, fascinating portrait of a community deeply grounded in tradition and dynamically engaged in the present. A collection of forty interwoven stories, conversations, and teachings about Western Cherokee life, beliefs, and the art of storytelling, the book orchestrates a multilayered conversation between a group of honored Cherokee elders, storytellers, and knowledge-keepers and the communities their stories touch. Collaborating with Hastings Shade, Sammy Still, Sequoyah Guess, and Woody Hansen, Cherokee scholar Christopher B. Teuton has assembled the first collection of traditional and contemporary Western Cherokee stories published in over forty years.

Not simply a compilation, Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club explores the art of Cherokee storytelling, or as it is known in the Cherokee language, gagoga (gah-goh-gá), literally translated as "he or she is lying." The book reveals how the members of the Liars' Club understand the power and purposes of oral traditional stories and how these stories articulate Cherokee tradition, or "teachings," which the storytellers claim are fundamental to a construction of Cherokee selfhood and cultural belonging. Four of the stories are presented in both English and Cherokee.

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