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Social Science Cultural

Harry Robinson: Nature Power

In the Spirit of an Okanagan Storyteller

by (author) Harry Robinson

edited by Wendy Wickwire

Publisher
Talonbooks
Initial publish date
Mar 2004
Category
Cultural
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780889225046
    Publish Date
    Mar 2004
    List Price
    $24.95

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 13
  • Grade: 8

Description

Many of the stories in Harry Robinson’s second collection feature the shoo-MISH, or “nature helpers” that assist humans and sometimes provide them with special powers. Some tell of individuals who use these powers to heal themselves; others tell of Indian doctors who have been given the power to heal others. Still others tell of power encounters: a woman “comes alive” after death; a boy meets a singing squirrel; a voice from nowhere predicts the future.

About the authors

Harry Robinson
As a member of the Lower Similkameen Band of the Interior Salish people and a rancher for most of his life, Robinson also looked upon himself as one of the last storytellers of his people. As he came to realize fully the importance of the storytelling tradition in his community, he began telling stories in the Okanagan language and became as skilled in English storytelling by his mid-seventies. Wendy Wickwire met Robinson while working on her doctoral thesis and recognized what, as Thomas King would later suggest, may well be “the most powerful storytelling voice in North America.” He passed away in 1990'shortly after the publication of Write It on Your Heart, the first of three story collections which will ensure the survival of the epic world of Harry Robinson in many generations to come.”

Wendy Wickwire
Born in Nova Scotia, Wendy Wickwire lived in Merrit and Lytton, British Columbia while researching her doctoral thesis on Native song. During her ten years of research, she met Similkameen storyteller Harry Robinson and recorded his stories in the critically acclaimed Write It on Your Heart and Nature Power. She also co-authored the award-winning Stein: The Way of the River with her husband Michael M’Gonigle.

Wickwire teaches and continues her work in both the School of Environmental Studies and the Department of History at the University of Victoria. She now focuses her research on the oral tradition (oral narratives, songs, life history) of the First Nations peoples of south-central British Columbia.

Harry Robinson's profile page

Born in Nova Scotia, Wendy Wickwire lived in Merrit and Lytton, British Columbia while researching her doctoral thesis on Native song. During her ten years of research, she met Similkameen storyteller Harry Robinson and recorded his stories in the critically acclaimed Write It on Your Heart and Nature Power. She also co-authored the award-winning Stein: The Way of the River with her husband Michael M’Gonigle. Wickwire teaches and continues her work in both the School of Environmental Studies and the Department of History at the University of Victoria. She now focuses her research on the oral tradition (oral narratives, songs, life history) of the First Nations peoples of south-central British Columbia.

Wendy Wickwire's profile page

Awards

  • Winner, B.C. Book Prize

Editorial Reviews

?Epic, mesmerizing tales by a great Okanagan storyteller that lift [one] earily and movingly into a different world.?
Michele Landsberg, Toronto Star

Librarian Reviews

Nature Power: In the Spirit of an Okanagan Storyteller

First published in 1992, this revised edition is the second of three books of stories told by Okanagan Elder, Harry Robinson. Wickwire transcribes his stories as narrative poems. An introduction explains their collaboration and some of Robinson’s personal story. Preserving Robinson’s curious mix of pronouns and repetition of lines and passages, Wickwire sustains his poetic voice. The stories show the differences between Aboriginal and European worldviews and demonstrate Aboriginal knowledge. Includes phonetic transcriptions of Okanagan words.

Wickwire is co-author of Stein: The Way of the River.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2007-2008.

Other titles by Harry Robinson

Other titles by Wendy Wickwire

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