VERONA, N.Y. – The Oneida Indian Nation is releasing a new book based on a myth that has been passed down for generations, called “The Legend of How the Bear Lost His Tail.”
The text is written in the Oneida Indian Nation’s native language, and is also available in an English translation. The book features two main characters, a fox and a bear, and uses phonetics and pictures to tell the story.
According to the Nation’s Language Department, this was a way to expose children to other cultures, and preserve the language for future generations.
“Language is the foundation of any culture and fortifying our language for future generations remains a critical goal for the Oneida Indian Nation,” said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation representative. “It’s important for children to be exposed to different cultures, especially the cultures of the people in the communities in which they live. This book is an exceptional introduction to our culture and will help children learn the foundations of the Oneida language.”
The Nation worked with the Madison-Oneida BOCES to publish the book.
“The Nation was interested in developing a variety of resources that would be available for years to come so that anyone interested in learning the language could get underway. Providing these books for the local community will strengthen our bond with our closest neighbors and offer an important introduction to Oneida culture that inspires learning through storytelling,” said Ed Rinaldo, director of staff and curriculum development at BOCES.
Staff at BOCES helped with the book’s layout, and the copies were also printed at the BOCES print shop.
Copies of the book will be available at local schools and libraries.