Xiip˙ktan (First of All): Three Views of the Origins of the Quechan People

Xiip˙ktan (First of All): Three Views of the Origins of the Quechan People George Bryant (linguistic work by Amy Miller)
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-909254-40-4 £17.95
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First of All is a remarkable collaborative work by George Bryant, a fluent native Quechan researcher, and Dr. Amy Miller, linguist, University of California, San Diego. Their combined expertise enables the reader to examine three traditional stories [...] All three views of the origin of the Quechan are printed in parallel Quechan and English formatted text. The meticulous transcript review process is evidenced by notes at the end of each retelling. This single volume is made complete by providing a practical orthography along with pronunciation tips and grammar. [...] Highly recommended for Native language and traditional story collections.
ŚNaomi Caldwell, Associate Professor and Coordinator,
Library Education Media Program, Alabama State University. American Indian Library Association.
Review available at http://ailanet.org/book-review-xiipuktan-first/

The Quechan people live along the lower part of the Colorado River in the United States. According to tradition, the Quechan and other Yuman people were created at the beginning of time, and their Creation myth explains how they came into existence, the origin of their environment, and the significance of their oldest traditions. The Creation myth forms the backdrop against which much of the tribeĺs extensive oral literature may be understood.

At one time there were almost as many different versions of the Quechan creation story as there were Quechan families. Now few people remember them. This volume, presented in the Quechan language with facing-column translation, provides three views of the origins of the Quechan people. One synthesizes narrator George Bryantĺs childhood memories and later research. The second is based upon J.P. Harringtonĺs A Yuma Account of Origins (1908). The third provides a modern view of the origins of the Quechan, beginning with the migration from Asia to the New World and ending with the settlement of the Yuman tribes at their present locations.

This collection is for the Quechan people and will also interest linguists, anthropologists, oral literature specialists, and anyone curious about Native American culture.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services Program grant no. MN-00-13-025-13 has generously contributed towards the publication of this volume.

Xiip˙ktan is the fifth volume in our World Oral Literature Series. The Series is produced in conjunction with the World Oral Literature Project.

Xiip˙ktan (First of All): Three Views of the Origins of the Quechan People 
George Bryant (Linguistic work by Amy Miller) | November 2013
World Oral Literature Series, vol. 5 | ISSN: 2050-7933 (Print); 2054-362X (Online) 
vii + 212 | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781909254404 
ISBN Hardback: 9781909254640 
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781909254411 
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781909254428
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781909254435
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0037
BIC subject codes: JHMC (Social and cultural anthropology, ethnography), JFHF (Folklore, myths and legends), 2J (American indigenous languages); BISAC subject codes: SOC002000 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General), LIT022000 (LITERARY CRITICISM / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology); OCLC Number: 941419514.

Authorsĺ biographies


Part I: Acknowledgements and Introduction
       A Quechan Account of Origins
       The Quechan Legend of the Creation
       The Migration of the Yuman Tribes
       From English to Quechan
       From recording to manuscript

Part II: The Quechan Legend of the Creation
Retold in the Quechan language by George Bryant

Part III: A Quechan Account of Origins
Retold in the Quechan language by George Bryant

Part IV: The Migration of the Yuman Tribes
Told in the Quechan language by George Bryant

George Bryant was born in 1921 and grew up in a Quechan-speaking family. He attended school on Fort Yuma Reservation and later at the Phoenix Indian School, Yuma High School, and the Sherman Institute. As a young man he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving in combat in the Pacific in World War II and in Korea. Later he was elected to the Quechan Tribal Council, where he was involved in getting the federal government to restore tribal lands and in planning many of the projects that have made the tribe successful today. He is now retired and lives in Yuma, Arizona.  

Bryant follows a family tradition of working to preserve the Quechan language. His grandfather, Chappo Bryant, and his father, Michael Bryant, were both involved in linguistics projects with linguist A. M. Halpern in the 1930s. George Bryant has been working with linguist Amy Miller since 1998.  He is the primary contributor to the forthcoming Quechan Dictionary, and (along with Barbara Levy, Millie Romero, and Amy Miller) he devoted many years to translating stories for the forthcoming volume Stories from Quechan Oral Literature from the Collection of A. M. Halpern.

Amy Miller earned a PhD in linguistics from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied with Margaret Langdon. She is the author of A Grammar of Jamul Tiipay (2001), co-author of the Barona Inter-Tribal Dictionary (2008), and co-editor of Karĺ˙k: Native Accounts of the Quechan Mourning Ceremony by A.M. Halpern (1997). She has been studying and documenting Yuman languages since 1984.
An early account of the Quechan creation, entitled 'A Yuma Account of Origins', published in English by anthropologist John Peabody Harrington (The Journal of American Folklore, 21/82 (Oct.-Dec., 1908), pp. 324-48), is available here.