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Michigan Books: The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft edited by Robert Dale Parker

The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston SchoolcraftThe Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft edited by Robert Dale Parker (University of Pennsylvania Press) brings to the public for the first time the complete writings of the first known American Indian literary writer, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (her English name) or Bamewawagezhikaquay (her Ojibwe name), Woman of the Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky. Born in 1800 and raised in Sault Ste. Marie by her Ojibwe mother and Irish-born father, Schoolcraft is the first known American Indian literary writer.

Beginning as early as 1815, Schoolcraft wrote poems and traditional stories while also translating songs and other Ojibwe texts into English. Her stories were published in adapted, unattributed versions by her husband, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, a founding figure in American anthropology and folklore, and they became a key source for Longfellow’s sensationally popular The Song of Hiawatha. Although Schoolcraft did not publish her work, Parker’s thorough research led him to her poems and traditional stories, as well as her translations of Ojibwe songs and other texts into English. Publishing them in most cases for the first time, Parker also provides insights into and interpretations of her life and work.

Absolute Michigan has a great article from Michigan History Magazine on Jane Johnston Schoolcraft that tells more of her life and work.

More Michigan Notable Books! The Michigan Notable Books program annually selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The selections are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience. You can click to view more Notable Books featured on Absolute Michigan and learn more about the program at www.michigan.gov/notablebooks.