University of Nebraska Press



David J. Costa

Date of this Version



© 2015 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska,676353.aspx


New Voices for Old Words is a collection of previously unpublished Algonquian oral traditions featuring historical narratives, traditional stories, and legends that were gathered during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection presents them here in their original languages with new English-language translations. Accompanying essays explain the importance of the original texts and their relationships to the early researchers who gathered and, in some cases, actively influenced these texts. Covering the northeast United States, eastern Canada, the Great Lakes region, and the Great Plains, the Algonquian languages represented in New Voices for Old Words include Gros Ventre, Peoria, Arapaho, Meskwaki, Munsee-Delaware, Potawatomi, and Sauk. All of these languages are either endangered or have lost their last speakers; for several of them no Native text has ever been published. This volume presents case studies in examining and applying such principles as ethnopoetics to the analysis of traditional texts in several languages of the Algic language family. These studies show how much valuable linguistic and folkloric information can be recovered from older texts, much of it information that is no longer obtainable from living sources. The result is a groundbreaking exploration of Algonquian oral traditions that are given a new voice for a new generation.