American Indian Story, The Adventures of Sha'kona- A Book Review
When Stephan Galfas signed my copy of American Indian Story, The Adventures of Sha'kona he wrote above his signature in all caps: "ENJOY THE ADVENTURE."
American Indian Story is the first in what I assume (hope) will become a series coauthored by Jana Mashonee and Stephan Galfas. Jana is a GRAMMY nominated, nine time Native American Music award winner and Stephan is her songwriting partner, music producer, manager and plays guitar in the band.
Jana and Stephan have crafted an entertaining story based on the concept of American Indian Story, the album. It is published by Wampum Books, an independent book publisher founded by Stephanie Duckworth that specializes in books by Native Americans. The cover design, artwork and editing are flawless.
American Indian Story is just that; an American Indian's story. The challenge in reviewing this book is to describe it without giving away the plot. Here we go.
AIS is the story of Sha'kona an exceptional young Native American girl living in a time before Christopher Columbus. The discovery of magical powers passed to her after the death of her great grandmother and the tribes epic struggle to survive the trip to their new home provides an outsider to this world a unique glimpse into that time.
Trials and hardship plague the tribe on their journey to their new home. The Indians have to fight the forces of nature while Sha'kona struggles to learn and accept her gifts and the destiny that awaits her.
Jana and Stephan explain in the foreword that American Indian Story is not historical fiction. I would call it historical fantasy but the book sort of defies characterization. There is romance in it but it's not a romance novel. Young Adults would certainly enjoy the book but it's not a YA book. AIS is not a religious book but there is spirituality in it. (There is not one profane word in the book.)American Indian Story is not science fiction but there are elements of other worlds in it. Thankfully, there are no vampires but there might be a shape shifter. I'm just saying....
Characters in this book don't speak the stereotypical Jay Silverheels' style diction I loved as a kid. I believe I know the reason. Adolph L. Dial in his book The Lumbee comments on the theory that the Lumbee tribe may have been influenced by and descendants of early English settlers. Specifically, the reference is to the "lost" colony at Roanoke. The Lumbee historically had an affinity to the new folks in the neighborhood. They adapted and to some degree were assimilated into European culture.
There is a page at the end of the book that lists the character's names with phonetic spellings and meanings. That is a nice touch for those of us who might struggle with pronunciation.
American Indian Story is a novel that is well written, that crosses genres and that should appeal to many. It gives us insight into America before it was America. It allows us to contemplate and appreciate a culture most of us know little or nothing about.
I noticed on Jana's Facebook page that sponsors had made it possible to hand out some copies of American Indian Story to teenage students at a school speaking engagement. The young ladies who received the book and had their photo taken with Jana are the next generation of Sha'konas. (Link to that picture below.)
I am confident they also will "ENJOY THE ADVENTURE."
Link to photo from Jana's facebook page:
You can get the book, or the CD here:
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