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Home > Children's Authors > Joseph Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac
Photo of Jospeh Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac is a writer, editor, educator, and traditional storyteller. He is a citizen and elder of the Nulhegan Abenaki people (a northeastern American Indian tribe). Joseph Bruchac has written two books for Wisdom Tales. Most recently, he contributed A Peacemaker for Warring Nations: The Founding of the Iroquois League (April 2021), illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden. The book draws from the teachings of both contemporary and past Iroquois tradition bearers in telling the inspiring story of how “the Peacemaker,” a divine messenger sent by the Creator, helped to bring reconciliation to warring nations. His earlier book was his prize-winning retelling of a traditional story, titled The Hunter’s Promise: An Abenaki Tale (September 2015), which was illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. Dr. Bruchac also contributed the “Foreword” to the book Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior, by Paul Goble.

Joseph Bruchac is a well-known Native author and storyteller who has written more than 120 books for both children and adults. His work is heavily influenced by his Abenaki ancestry, and he has worked extensively with other family members on projects involving the preservation of Abenaki culture and language. (The Abenaki are a tribe of traditionally Algonquian-speaking peoples of northeastern North America.)

As a student, Joseph Bruchac received his B.A. from Cornell University, and then later a M.A. and Ph.D in Comparative Literature. His poems, articles, and stories have appeared in over 500 publications, including National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine. Dr. Bruchac’s work has earned him numerous awards, including a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship for Poetry, the Cherokee Nation Prose Award, the Hope S. Dean Award for Notable Achievement in Children’s Literature, and both the 1998 Writer of the Year Award and the 1998 Storyteller of the Year Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. In 1999, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.

As a professional teller of the traditional tales of the Adirondacks and the Native peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands, Joseph Bruchac has performed widely in Europe and throughout the United States. He is the storyteller-in-residence for various Native American organizations and schools throughout the US, including the Institute of Alaska Native Arts and the Onondaga Nation School.

Joseph Bruchac is also a talented musician. He composes and sings in a variety of styles and on a number of instruments. Along with some others in the Native performance group, The Dawnland Singers, he has collaborated on a CD titled Honor Songs, available from his website (see below).

Among Dr. Joseph Bruchac’s most notable literary works are Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children (with Michael Caduto), Code Talker: A Book About the Navajo Marines, and Crazy Horse’s Vision (illustrated by S.D. Nelson). Joseph Bruchac lives in Greenfield Center, NY.

Awards Won by This Author’s Books

  • The Hunter’s Promise, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth:
    • Finalist in the 2015 Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, in the category “Picture Books, Early Reader”
    • Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award

Author Extras & Links

  • Joseph Bruchac has an official website. Click here to see his site, which includes a schedule of his performances, a thorough bibliography, audio recordings of some his poems read by Bruchac himself, and some videos of musical performances.

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