Friday, May 1, 2015

Meet Author Debra Shiveley Welch Who Writes about the American Indian

Author Debra Shiveley Welch
I’ve been writing since I was a child and had always dreamed of writing a novel.  I love words: the sound of them, the flavor of them, the feel of them on my tongue.  Words like meander, wend, sparkle, kinnikinnick.

Kinnikinnick – I love that word! It’s American Indian for a bark or shrub used for smoking. In southern Ohio, we pronounce creek as crik, and we have one such stream called Kinnikinnick.  Just listen to the sound of it, the feel of it as you say it: Kinnikinnick Crik! Amazing!

I was born in Columbus, and when you drive down West Broad Street, you eventually arrive at the beginning of the Great Plains. Wow!  The grandeur of it boggles the mind. I decided that I wanted to someday write a book about the first people who were here, but I wanted it to be authentic, honest, respectful.  So I waited until the right moment, the time when I knew that I could write a book that was honest and true.

In 2004 I and my son were adopted by Julie Spotted Eagle Horse Martineau through the Making of Relatives Ceremony, or Hunkapi.  It is a serious ceremony, and truly makes us bound for life as sisters.  I decided that this was the time; now was the time to write that book and show the majesty and dignity of our First Americans; to honor my sister and my new family.

I asked my sister to act as a consultant.  I did so because I didn't want to write about the sacred things which are not supposed to be written about, and I wanted to write about those which I could with utmost authenticity.  I also wanted to make sure that I represented the Lakota people with the deepest respect and honor.

Cedar Woman by Debra Shiveley Welch
Her help was invaluable.  Because of her guidance, I was able to write freely, knowing that I would be guided in the authenticity of my story, and like the graceful jingle dancer, my words could dance across the page, telling my story with the complete respect and truthful representation of the people I was representing.

Also, in Cedar Woman, you will find many words of the Lakota Sioux.  Pronunciation and translations are included the first time each word is used.  There are three dialects in the Lakota language and no standardized spelling.   I have chosen the spelling and pronunciation of these words in keeping with the dialect of my sister Julie, who is of the Lakota Plains Native Americans.

Powwow is described in detail, as well as the various forms of regalia, etiquette, music, and as with any ethnic festival - the food!

My son and I have attended the Muddy River Powwow for many years, and in doing so, have come to know and love our adopted family; they have brought us much joy and peace.  This book was written to honor them.

I hope you enjoy Cedar Woman.

Toksa Ake Wakan Tanka Nici Un - Walk With God

Debra loves to hear from fans. You can reach her through her website, Facebook,  Twitter.

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