NEYAASHIINIGMIING, ON – When a masterful storyteller practices his art, the sound and cadence of his voice are a vital part of the performance. This is why, when Bomgiizhik Isaac Murdoch had his oral storytelling transcribed into print, publisher Kegedonce Press made every effort to preserve his verbal style.
Kegedonce Press is thrilled to announce the release of Serpents and Other Spiritual Beings, the second volume in Murdoch’s Ojibwe History Series. Like its predecessor, The Trail of Nenaboozhoo, Serpents is a collection of traditional Ojibwe stories that Murdoch, over the course of many years, has earned the right to learn and to tell. And like Nenaboozhoo, Serpents preserves and teaches Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Ojibwe and other Anishinaabek peoples. In the case of the second volume, Serpents, the entire content of the book is bilingual. The English is carefully lined up against the Anishinaabemowin on facing pages to aid readers in learning this fascinating language. As the title suggests, the stories in this volume focus on Serpents, powerful and sacred beings in Ojibwe legend and history. Bomgiizhik Isaac Murdoch’s traditional-style Ojibwe artwork graces the cover of the book, and provides illustrations throughout.
Serpents and Other Spiritual Beings has its release just as the UN-sponsored Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022–2032) begins. This book is a remarkable and significant contribution to the preservation of one of the thousands of endangered Indigenous languages across Turtle Island and around the world.
“’When the Thunderbirds and Serpents fight, they feed off each other, you know great medicine gets cast across the land. We get our life from that.’ So writes storyteller Isaac Murdoch as he shares his Elders’ stories about tunnels beneath the earth, rich laws, philosophies, teachings, power from up there, down there, and all around us, until we too hear the thunders as they bring us into the world of wahkotowin, all our relations. How privileged and blessed we are to be able to read the Ahtyokaywina of our people.”
— Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed.
“Gather around, for here are oral stories transcribed so they retain the flavour of a narrative spoken aloud, and translated into Anishinaabemowin; perfect for language-learners. I love the way these stories infuse the spirit world into an every-day context, these are not dusty old legends, but a living way of seeing the world around us in the here and now.”
—Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler, author of Ghost Lake
Serpents and Other Spiritual Beings is available now. Bomgiizhik Isaac Murdoch will be doing several author reading and launch events in the coming months, including an Anishinaabemowin language workshop at the Owen Sound Public Library. Dates TBD.
Kegedonce Press was founded in 1993 by Anishinaabe writer Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm. We are committed to the publication of beautifully written and designed Indigenous literature, both nationally and internationally. We have published works by some of the most celebrated and widely known Indigenous writers and storytellers in Canada, including Cherie Dimaline, Marilyn Dumont, Louise Bernice Halfe, Basil Johnston, Daniel Health Justice, Bomgiizhik Isaac Murdoch, Aaron Paquette, Sharron Proulx-Turner, Gregory Scofield, and Richard Van Camp, among many others.