New Voices for Old Words


New Voices for Old Words

Algonquian Oral Literatures

Edited by David J. Costa

Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians Series

568 pages

eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2015


$90.00 Add to Cart

September 2015


$90.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

New Voices for Old Words is a collection of previously unpublished Algonquian oral traditions featuring historical narratives, traditional stories, and legends that were gathered during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection presents them here in their original languages with new English-language translations. Accompanying essays explain the importance of the original texts and their relationships to the early researchers who gathered and, in some cases, actively influenced these texts.
Covering the northeast United States, eastern Canada, the Great Lakes region, and the Great Plains, the Algonquian languages represented in New Voices for Old Words include Gros Ventre, Peoria, Arapaho, Meskwaki, Munsee-Delaware, Potawatomi, and Sauk. All of these languages are either endangered or have lost their last speakers; for several of them no Native text has ever been published. This volume presents case studies in examining and applying such principles as ethnopoetics to the analysis of traditional texts in several languages of the Algic language family. These studies show how much valuable linguistic and folkloric information can be recovered from older texts, much of it information that is no longer obtainable from living sources. The result is a groundbreaking exploration of Algonquian oral traditions that are given a new voice for a new generation.

Author Bio

David J. Costa is the program director of the Language Research Office at the Myaamia Center at Miami University. He is the author of The Miami-Illinois Language (Nebraska, 2003).


“These carefully edited texts, in eight Algonquian languages no longer widely spoken, show how premodern records can be made accessible to readers interested in the traditional narratives and linguistic styles of an earlier time. They provide models for future philological studies as well as reliable data on some little-known languages.”—David H. Pentland, professor of Algonquian studies at the University of Manitoba