Unfortunately the Chickasaw Press web site is blocked again but you can still get books by calling them at 580-436-7282. Wenonah’s Story is still on sale for $20, and you can also buy the other newly published books: Chokma-si, the book of photos from around the Chickasaw Nation by Branden Hart and Stanley Nelson; the reprint of the first Chickasaw Dictionary by Vinnie May and Jesse Humes, first published in 1973, with comments on pronunciation by linguist Josh Hinson; a new cook book, Ilittibaaimpa’, Let’s Eat Together, by Vicki Penner and Joann Ellis, a reprint of Richard Green’s biography of the Chickasaw performing artist and preserver of Indian culture, Te Ata.
Now that my book has been published, I've had a little more time to read, so I picked up the new edition of Te Ata. I have long been a fan of the author, Richard Green, who became our tribal historian while my mother was on the Chickasaw Historical Society Board back in the ‘80’s. Since then he has done a lot of research, both reviewing documents and doing interviews with tribal elders, which I think is so important.
Frankly, I didn’t pay much attention to the first edition of Te Ata. I knew was that she was a performer, and I didn't bother to read the book, thinking she must have just taken advantage of her Chickasaw heritage to draw a crowd, but she was so much more. First of all, she did really know about her heritage. She was related to the Colberts, and also to Douglas Johnson, the last Chickasaw governor before statehood. Her father spoke Chickasaw just like my grandfather, and she went to the Chickasaw boarding school, Bloomfield, like my mother.
A shy but talented actress, Te Ata began presenting dramatizations of Chickasaw legends that she had been told as a child while attending OCW, Oklahoma College for Women. From her school performances, she attracted the attention of the Chatauqua Institute, an organization supported by philanthropists to spread culture to small towns, and she performed on their circuit for several summers. My mother describes the Chatauqua performances in Wenonah’s Story.
Anyway, Te Ata, continued to perform to an advanced age. She was a student of Native American culture, visiting tribes across the country, even into South America, learning the traditions, legends, dances and songs of many tribes, and presenting them to audiences around the world.
We are greatly indebted to Te Ata for being an ambassador for our people, promoting a greater understanding and appreciation for our culture and heritage.
By the way. Don’t think I’ve ruined the book for you. Mr. Green has done a masterly job researching the details of Te Ata’s life. The book is full of stories and it’s only by reading it in its entirety, that you can get an appreciation for Te Ata’s dedication and spirit. Also even if you already know about Te Ata, this latest edition of her biography has a large section of pictures not included in the first edition