The Gift of Knowledge/Ttnúwit Átawish Nch'inch'imamí: Reflections on Sahaptin Ways
The Gift of Knowledge/Ttnuwit Atawish Nch'inch'imamâi: Reflections on Sahaptin Ways
by Virginia R. Beavert
edited by Janne L. Underriner
Published by University of Washington Press, Seattle
"I walk hand in hand with knowing the ways of my family and writing them down for those to come."
Virginia Beavert grew up in a traditional Native household with parents and a maternal great-grandmother who were shamans, and her childhood was populated by speakers of tribal dialects and languages: Nez Perce, Umatilla, Klikatat, and Yakima Ichishkíin. At age twelve she met linguist Melville Jacobs while working with his student, Margaret Kendell. Jacobs taught her to read and write the Klikatat orthography he had developed, and she began a lifetime of work on Native languages. After a stint in the US Air Force during World War II, Beavert earned advanced degrees in education and linguistics, and she has spent decades devoted to the preservation of Native language and culture.
In The Gift of Knowledge/Ttnúwit Átawish Nch'inch'imamí, Beavert sets down the story of her life and the traditions of her family for the benefit of future generations. It is a treasure trove of memories, teachings, and reflections (many in Yakima Ichishkíin with English translation) about family life, religion, ceremonies, food gathering, and other aspects of traditional Indigenous culture.
Virginia R. Beavert (Yakama) 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 coauthor of Ichishkíin Sinwit Yakama/Yakima Sahaptin Dictionary. Janne L. Underriner is the director of the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon.
"An accessible and insightful book, animated with tradition and wisdom, a treasure for future Yakama and other Indian peoples." - Pacific Northwest Quarterly
"A must-read for those interested in Indigenous Studies, anthropology, history, and the Columbia Plateau. . . . A shining example of intellectual sovereignty." - Oregon Historical Quarterly
"Inspiring and informative. . . . [Beavert's] passion for and interest in the welfare of her younger readers reverberates throughout every page of The Gift of Knowledge, in which her stated purpose is to record the lifeways taught to her by her family." - Journal of the West
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