Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America


The vitality of the spoken word is essential to Native American cultures. Because of their dependence on oral performance, the stories, songs, legends, and ceremonies of a Native people often died with the last speaker of the language. Of the two hundred or so native languages in North America today, perhaps forty-five are spoken by over a thousand people, in contrast to pre-Columbian times, when there were as many as five hundred distinct tongues spoken by millions. But now, with the revival and heightened awareness of ...

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