Introducing a dramatic new chapter to American Indian literary history, this book 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 (1800-1842). 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.
As this volume shows, what little has been known about Schoolcraft's writing and life only scratches the surface of her legacy. Most of the works have been edited from manuscripts and appear in print here for the first time. The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky presents a collection of all Schoolcraft's extant writings along with a cultural and biographical history. Robert Dale Parker's deeply researched account places her writings in relation to American Indian and American literary history and the history of anthropology, offering the story of Schoolcraft, her world, and her fascinating family as reinterpreted through her newly uncovered writing. This book makes available a startling new episode in the history of American culture and literature.
Introduction: The World and Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft
—The Cultural World of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft
—The Personal World
—The Literary Writings: Poetry, Stories, Translations
—The Final Years
—The Literary Legacy
—Notes to Introduction
To the Pine Tree on first seeing it on returning from Europe
To the Miscodeed
Lines written at Castle Island, Lake Superior
On the Doric Rock, Lake Superior: To a Friend
"My humble present is a purse"
Invocation, To my Maternal Grand-father on hearing his descent from Chippewa ancestors misrepresented
—Invocation to my Maternal Grandfather, Wabojeeg [shorter draft]
—Invocation to my Maternal Grandfather, Wabojeeg [longer draft]
To a Bird, Seen Under My Window in the Garden
Lines to a Friend Asleep
By an Ojibwa Female Pen, Invitation to sisters to a walk in the Garden, after a shower
The Contrast, a Splenetic Effusion. March, 1823—
On Henry's Birthday
"Amid the still retreat of Elmwood's shade"
Lines written under affliction
A Metrical Jeu d'esprit, designed as an invitation to a whist party
Elegy, On the death of my Son William Henry, at St. Mary's
To my ever lamented and beloved son William Henry
Lines Written under severe Pain and Sickness
On leaving my children John and Jane at School, in the Atlantic states, and preparing to return to the interior
—Free translation by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
—New translation by Dennis Jones, Heidi Stark, and James Vukelich
An answer, to a remonstrance on my being melancholy, by a Gentleman, who, sometimes had a little pleasing touch of melancholy himself
"As watchful spirits in the night"
"Welcome, welcome to my arms"
A Psalm, or Supplication for mercy, and confession of Sin, addressed to the Author of Life, in the Odjibway-Algonquin tongue
On reading Miss Hannah Moore's Christian morals and Practical Piety. 1816.
"My heart is gone with him afar"
When the Stormy Winds Do Blow, After Thomas Campbell
Elegy on the death of my aunt Mrs Kearny of Kilgobbin Glebe Dublin, Ireland
Spirit of Peace
"Let prayer alone our thoughts engage"
The Origin of the Robin
Moowis, The Indian Coquette
Mishösha, or the Magician and his daughters: A Chippewa Tale or Legend
The Forsaken Brother: A Chippewa Tale
Origin of the Miscodeed, or the Maid of Taquimenon
Corn story (or the origin of corn)
The Three Cranberries
The Little Spirit, or Boy-Man: An Odjibwa Tale
Waish-kee, alias Iawba Wadick
Peboan and Seegwun (Winter and Spring): A Chippewa Allegory
The O-jib-way Maid
Song for a Lover Killed in Battle
A mother's lament for the absence of a child
—"Naw! nin daun, nin dau niss ance"
—"Oh my daughter—my little daughter"
"My lover is tall and handsome"
"High heav'd my breast"
Song of the Okogis, or Frog in Spring
"Kaugig ahnahmeauwin/Ever let piety"
Character of Aboriginal Historical Tradition: To the Editor of the Muzzinyegun
1. Sources and Editorial Procedures
2. Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, "An Introduction to the Poetry of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft"
3. Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, "Dawn of Literary Composition by Educated Natives of the aboriginal tribes"
4. Misattributions and Potential Misattributions
5. List of Less Substantive Variants