The Book of Elders; the Life Stories & Wisdom of Great American Indians

“With graceful and sure prose, Johnson relays 31 extremely moving Native American stories she collected during a three-year cross-country journey and personal odyssey that began in 1989 after she had a “vision” in her New York City home. Johnson is a perfect conduit for the voices of the elders she interviews, giving her work immense credibility and spiritual resonance.”

Johnson explains, “An elder is defined not by age or gender, but as one who carries the knowledge of the tradition and wisdom of the heart, one who walks in truth and dignity no matter how poor, in humility no matter how revered.” The varied tribal voices telling these stories, which span the history of relations with the federal government as well as Native American spiritual and cultural practices, are essentially the voices of the past, present and future brought together. These people clearly touched Johnson’s life. She beautifully records in words the same nobility that Budnik captures so well in his candid portraits.


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