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Old Father Story Teller Hardcover – June, 1991
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"Pablita Velarde has told the story of her Santa Clara people throughout her career and has become a legend in her own time." --United Features Syndicate
The cover and title page painting -- titled Old Father Storyteller -- may be Pablita Velarde's best known work. The elder is shown telling people of the pueblo stories about the stars and constellations, which march in an arc across the sky. This painting, which Velarde was inspired to by her father's stories, won the Grand Prize at the 1955 Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial.
It is also recognized by archaeoastronomers (scholars studying pre-contact native star lore) as one of the few records in which pueblo constallations can be identified, and star lore is told. (Long Sash is basically the familiar Orion, for example.) So that story has uses in Native-centered science. Beautiful uses.
There are 6 stories in the book, each with several of Pablita's fabulous paintings. "Turkey Girl" is the Tewa version of a Zuni storyteller's remake of Cinderella. Turkey Girl -- clad in finery by her flock of turkeys, instead of a fairy godmother -- goes to a dance, and is not recognized as the ragged orphan, courted by many men. But when she is found out by her mean stepmother, there's quite a different ending from Perrault's (and Disney's).
She doesn't wind up with any of those Indian men, indeed, those Prince Uncharmings are all chasing her to kill her for a witch! Some kind of big turkey spirit hides her; she disappears into a canyon with her flock. Turkeys are found no more by people hunting them for food.Read more ›