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American Indian Story, The Adventures of Sha'kona- A Book Review

Updated on February 2, 2011

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."

I did.

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."

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    • profile image

      Angel 6 years ago

      Splendid as always.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Sounds interesting. I don't think anyone could talk like Tonto now and get away with it.

    • resspenser profile image
      Author

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Angel, Thank you for the compliment!

      Dahoglund, It was an interesting book. Jay Silverheels created a character that was enjoyed by most and deserves the star he has in Hollywood, for sure.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Sounds intriguing. I'll have to look it up.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Great review. Where I grew up in western Canada, Native North Americans were simply part of our culture. In Canada, we are to call them First Nations, as the term Indian is considered a perjorative. After all, it was Columbus's mistake in thinking he'd found the Indies that prompted the label. I guess it's different here. But at any rate, despite generations of abuse at the hands of the government, the First Nations cultures continued albeit damaged and underground. Now they flourish again. Nice to see this here as well. Lynda

    • profile image

      Jan Kardys 6 years ago

      This sounds like a fascinating book. I want to know more about the authors and their not book signing!

    • profile image

      Sslade 6 years ago

      Wow I loved this...I'm a Jana Mashonee music fan (she has an incredible voice) and realize I should really read the book...sounds fascinating! Thanks!

    • resspenser profile image
      Author

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks, WillStar. You can order it at her website.

      Lynda, I'm a little fuzzy on the pc over calling Native Americans indians but I think it's fine as long as you are showing no disrespect??? Andrew Jackson is from my hometown and I used to be proud of that. Not so much now.

      Sslade, Thanks for leaving a comment. The incredible music draws you in and the interesting culture adds to the experience, I think.

    • profile image

      Jana Mashonee 6 years ago

      Hello Ronnie,

      Thanks for the great review! It was great meeting you and I hope we can reconnect again in the near future. I really appreciate all of your support and new friendship as well. Thanks for spreading the good words! Take care,

      Jana:)

    • resspenser profile image
      Author

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Jana,

      I should be thanking you. Through you, I have gained an interest into Native American culture and history. It's a whole new world.

      It is my pleasure to help get the word out and you can count on me for any help I can give in the future.

      Ronnie

    • profile image

      Oleebelle 6 years ago

      When I started reading this book, it was so exciting I could not stopping reading it. Thus, since I was employed in a day-time job, I found myself staying up late many nights in a row until I finished reading it. Shakona is my new hero because of her ability to accept such a huge leadership responsibility that benefitted her people.

    • resspenser profile image
      Author

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Oleebelle,

      I understand completely. Thanks for reading!

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      resspenser, I must put this book on a wish list. (I am counting pennies for the moment.) I love Native American stories and music, as well as the concept of seeing ones self walking. I have been told by a friend Lakota that I am "red on the inside." I consider this a high honor. Thanks for sharing this fascinating story.

    • resspenser profile image
      Author

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks, Storytellers. Check out her music at her web site or on her facebook page. Free samples are posted both places .

      Ronnie

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 6 years ago from Central United States

      I am sure people thought I talked funny as a child. My thinking processes and the mental languages in my brain were not in English. I was always slow to answer and many times still am today. Some people took this as ignorance but it was just my mind translating Cherokee or Spanish to English.

    • resspenser profile image
      Author

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks wheelinallover, for stopping by. What a cool hub name! Check out Jana Mashonee's music on some of my other hubs if you are not familiar with her.

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 6 years ago from Central United States

      I also have three websites and a blog which use the wheelinallover nickname. Its been part of who I am for 19 years. In my case it works three ways. I used to travel approximately 12,000 miles a year in a 24 ft motor home and traveled most of the country. The wheelchair of course has 4 wheels, and I love going into the back country in a four wheel drive vehicles. I really don't listen to music so will decide later if I can find time.

    • profile image

      Mazhar ali 5 years ago

      I Love For Lavagirl

    • resspenser profile image
      Author

      Ronnie Sowell 5 years ago from South Carolina

      What?

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