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Malki Ballena Press

Gigyayk Vojka (Walk Strong)

Gigyayk Vojka (Walk Strong)

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Gigyayk Vo'-jka (Walk Strong)

Edited By Lucille J.  Watahomigie and Akira Y. Yamamoto

This volume is a collection of poems, written in their native languages, by members of five Arizona Indian groups of the Yuman family: Havasupai, Hualapai, Maricopa, Mojave, and Yavapai. The writers have also provided poetic English translations of their poems, as well as detailed grammatical analyses of each word. The book also contains guidelines for pronouncing the words. Some poems are sad, expressing long-held feelings about the disappearance of ancestral lands. Other poems are written in the form of Haiku, observing moments amid a natural landscape. Still other poems relate more immediate experiences. All share a commitment to languages and cultures, and a pride in Native American heritage.

Lucille J. Watahomigie, one of the co-editors of this volume, received her M.A. in Education at the University of Arizona, Tucson; she is now Director of the Hualapai Bilingual/Bicultural Education Program, Peach Springs, Arizona. Akira Y. Yamamoto, the other co-editor, is a native of Japan. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology at Indiana University, and is now Associate Professor of Linguistics and Anthropology at the University of Kansas. In addition to writing and Introduction to these poems, the editors have provided explanations of the spelling systems used for each of the five Yuman languages.

Little more than a decade ago, the Yuman languages had only been written down by a small number of professional linguists and anthropologists. Since then, however, speakers of the languages have collaborated in the development of spelling systems and of bilingual education programs, and they have learned not only to read and write their native tongues for everyday purposes, but also for linguistic analysis and for poetic expression. The result, as published here, should be of interest to all who are concerned with Native American Studies, bilingual education, cross-cultural poetics, and American Indian linguistics.

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