Star Songs and Water Spirits: A Great Lakes Native Reader
Edited by Victoria Brehm Ladyslipper Press
Victoria Brehm, a resident of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is accustomed to tackling far-reaching subjects for her books. She is, after all, author of The Women’s Great Lakes Reader.
But with Star Songs and Water Spirits she’s created a masterwork and an accumulated treasure.
Having a non-Indian person gather traditional stories and cultural histories can be delicate. One of the best accolades that I know for this book is that it is a strong seller at Birchbark Books, a bookstore
started in Minneapolis by famed Ojibwe writer Louise Erdrich, and also that it receives high praise from the staff there.
Obviously at more than 525 pages, the oversized volume is not a weekend read, which would not be the way to comprehend and savor the narratives and histories of the 15 nations Victoria has included here.
The work gives insight using history, stories, songs, poems and illustrations.
Victoria often includes the historical context of when a piece came into being. I most appreciate references telling from where and from whom the stories were gathered. It gives authority to the book and humanity to the tales.
Readers of this book will come away more enlightened and more connected to the region and each other.
Lake Superior Magazine