The Gift of Knowledge / Ttnuwit Atawish Nch'inch'imamí is a treasure trove of material for those interested in Native American culture. Author Virginia Beavert grew up in a traditional, Indian-speaking household. Both her parents and her maternal grandmother were shamans, and her childhood was populated by people who spoke tribal dialects and languages: Nez Perce, Umatilla, Klikatat, and Yakima Ichishkíin. Her work on Native languages began at age twelve, when she met linguist Melville Jacobs while working for his student, Margaret Kendell. When Jacobs realized that Beavert was a fluent speaker of the Klikatat language, he taught her to read and write the orthography he had developed to record Klikatat myths.
After a stint in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, Beavert went on to earn graduate degrees in education and linguistics, and she has contributed to numerous projects for the preservation of Native language and teachings.
Beavert narrates highlights from her own life and presents cultural teachings, oral history, and stories (many in bilingual Ishishkíin-English format) about family life, religion, ceremonies, food gathering, and other aspects of traditional culture.
The Gift of Knowledge addresses topics and issues largely inaccessible to non-Native and younger scholars. It significantly augments and clarifies the existing literature.
A compelling contribution to the study of Native American cultures and languages. The Gift of Knowledge is a masterfully written work of scholarship that represents the gift of storytelling by the most prolific Yakama scholar, Tuxámshish Virginia Beavert.
Virginia Beavert is a member of the Yakama Nation and a native speaker of Sahaptin. She is a recipient of the Washington Governor's Heritage Award and the Ken Hale Prize of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas. She is the coauthor of Ichishkíin Sinwit Yakama / Yakima Sahaptin Dictionary.
Janne Underrineris the director of the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon. Virginia and Janne have been working together for the past twenty years.
Map of Hunting, Fishing, and Food-Gathering Sites
1. The Culture That Made Me Who I Am Now / Inmt Wap Tt'uyt Wa 'mat Wa 'nak 'it
Appendix: Guidance for Academic Researchers
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