Bruchac, Marge (Margaret M. Bruchac)

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Bruchac, Marge (Margaret M. Bruchac)

Personal

Married Justin Kennick. Ethnicity: "Abenaki." Education: B.A. (history and theater); M.A. (anthropology); Ph.D. (anthropology).

Addresses

Home and office—63 Franklin St., Northampton, MA 01060. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Historical consultant, teacher, author, and performer. Freelance museum consultant for Native American programming and exhibitions at Historic Deerfield, Old Sturbridge Village, Plimoth Plantation, and Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. Visiting faculty for college courses at Amherst College, Keene State College, Smith College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and State University of New York at Plattsburgh; artist-in-residence at Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, 2001; Visiting Indigenous Fellow at Harvard College, 2006-07; McLellan Distinguished Visiting Professor in North Country History, State University of New York, Plattsburgh, 2007. Musician; has recorded stories and folk music. Member, Five-College Native American Indian Studies Curriculum Committee, Indigenous Archaeology advisory board. Member of boards of trustees for Historic Northampton, Fort Ticonderoga, and Plimoth Plantation. Member, Five College Native American Indian Studies Curriculum Committee, National Caucus of Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, and Indigenous Archaeology advisory board.

Awards, Honors

Bay State Historical League scholar-in-residence award, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, 1998; Smith College Women's History Award, 1998, for "Mohegan Women and Cultural Expression"; Five College Theater Departments Playwright Award, 1998, for Staging the Indian, 1999, for molly has her say; University of Massachusetts Amherst European studies grant, 2000; Storyteller of the Year awards, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, 2000, for performance, 2002 for history, 2004 for academic writing; Aesop Prize, American Folklore Society, 2006, and Skipping Stones Honor Award for Multicultural & International Awareness, 2007, both for Malian's Song; Distinguished Teaching Award finalist, University of Massachusetts Amherst 2007.

Writings

(With Catherine O'Neill Grace and others) 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, photographs by Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson, National Geographic Society (Washington, DC), 2001.

(With Frederique Apffel-Marglin) Exorcising Anthropology's Demons, Multiversity and Citizens International (Penang, Malaysia), 2004.

Malian's Song, illustrated by William Maughan, Vermont Folklife Center (Middlebury, VT), 2006.

Play anthologized in Keepers of the Morning Star: Native American Women Playwrights, University of California Press (Los Angeles, CA), 2001. Contributor of essays to books, including The Abenaki of Vermont: A Living Culture, Teacher's Guide, Vermont Folklife Center (Middlebury, VT), 2002; A Place Called Paradise: Culture and Community in Northampton, Massachusetts, 1654-2004, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 2004; Indigenous Archaeologies: Politics and Practice, 2005; Captive Histories: Captivity Narratives, French Relations, and Native Stories of the 1704 Deerfield Raid, 2006; and Where the Mountain Stands Alone: Stories of Place in the Monadnock Region, University Press of New England, University Press of New England (Hanover, NH), 2006.

Sidelights

As a Native American author, historian, scholar, and performer, Marge Bruchac works to educate the public on the culture and history of native peoples by presenting

accurate historical information and reexamining stereotypes. Bruchac—the sister of noted writer Joseph Bruchac—shares her knowledge of northeastern Abenaki and Algonkian Indian history through historical lectures, musical renderings, and story tellings that she presents and performs in such diverse venues as schools, historical societies, and world music festivals. As a scholar, she has designed and taught college courses on colonial history, decolonizing methodologies, indigenous archaeologies, oral tradition, and cultural performance, and has contributed writings to academic publications that focus on Native American histories. Her book Malian's Song introduces young children to the lifeways of eighteenth-century Abenaki people and the impact of colonial trade and conflict on Native survival.

Malian's Song illustrates the personal experience of two young Abenaki Indian girls—Malian and Maliazonis—who survived the October 4, 1759 attack by Major Robert Rogers on the St. Francis Abenaki village of Odanak. This account, based on the oral history of the Abenaki as corroborated by the French Jesuit records, counters the impression left by Rogers and later historians who reported that there were few survivors left after the burning of the village. This story is based on Abenaki family traditions, as recorded by Elvine Obomsawin and her granddaughter Jeanne Brink, during the mid-late 20th century. Bruchac's intent was to render some of the lifeways and traditions of the Abenaki people visible, while also demonstrating the incredible complexity of relations along the Native, British, American, and French colonial frontiers. Authentic representations of Abenaki families can be seen in the evocative illustrations, and their voices can be heard in the Abenaki words scattered throughout the text. In the historical essay at the end of the story (an expanded version can be found on the Vermont Folklife Center Web site), Bruchac notes that Abenaki histories are still poorly understood today, in part because of the impact of Rogers' Raid, as well as the lack of awareness of other historic Abenaki communities situated across Vermont, New Hampshire, and northern Massachusetts.

Cris Reidel, writing in School Library Journal, acknowledged that Malian's Song details a "a lesser-known piece of history passed down through oral storytelling," and a Small Press Bookwatch reviewer deemed the work "more than a children's picturebook" because "it preserves a piece of American and Native American history."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August 1, 2006, Kathleen Odean, review of Malian's Song, p. 80.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Malian's Song, p. 631.

New York Times Book Review, August 13, 2006, Simon Rodberg, review of Malian's Song.

Resource Links, December, 2006, Kathryn McNaughton, review of Malian's Song, p. 13.

Small Press Bookwatch, October, 2006, review of Malian's Song.

School Library Journal, January, 2007, Cris Riedel, review of Malian's Song, p. 113.

ONLINE

Androscoggin Valley Community Network Web site,http://www.avcnet.org/ (July 7, 2007), "Marge Bruchac."

Vermont Folklife Center Web site,http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/ (July 23, 2007), "Malian's Song: Cultural and Historical Background."

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Bruchac, Marge (Margaret M. Bruchac)

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