River Spirits,’ a collection by Lumbee writers
By Sheri Sides
“River Spirits” is the first-ever collection of Lumbee writings published by UNC Pembroke’s Native American Resource Center. Forty-nine Lumbee authors contributed a variety of work, both fact and fiction, that overflows with the tribe’s proud past and hopes for the future.
The book provides a window into the Lumbee culture, says Editor Stan Knick, director of UNC Pembroke’s Native American Resource Center.
“The collection of writings here is not the result of a literary competition, but instead an exploration of what is meaningful, of what is valued, in Lumbee culture.” Dr. Knick said. “Because the meanings and values of things are at the heart of all human culture.”
Dr. Knick said he tried to be as inclusive as possible in the selection process.
“There was such a variety of writing that was submitted, and I think that reflects something about the Lumbee culture,” Knick said.
The book includes the only known poem by the late Lumbee historian Adolph L. Dial, who co-authored a history of the Lumbee, “The Only Land I Know.”
Several poems by the late poet and historian Lew Barton were also included.
“Although deceased, I knew they were a part of the body of writing of the Lumbee,” Dr. Knick said.
Works from a new generation of Lumbee authors included, Delano Cummings, author of “Moon Dash Warrior” and “River Dreams.”
This is the first book published by the Native American Resource Center to come complete with an ISBN number.
“Hopefully other publications will follow,” Knick said. “I’d like to work on the second volume of my weekly newspaper column ‘Along the Trail: A Reader About Native Americans.’”
Dr. Knick has gotten that better view of the Lumbee tribe during his 17 years at UNC Pembroke and is an honorary member of the Lumbee Tribe.
“Nobody outside of a culture can ever really get all the way inside,” Knick said. “All you can do is get a better view and that is what this book is about.”
Each work in “River Spirits” is a reflection of centuries of tradition passed down through generations and that tradition continues to shape the Lumbee identity.
Most of the funding for the book came from private donors, especially Anne Lowry Sistrunk, her husband, Don C. Sistrunk, and her mother, Mrs. Earl C. Lowry.
The 174-page collection is available through the Native American Resource Center by calling (910) 521-6282 or email email@example.com.
Sheri D. Sides is a senior Mass Communications major from Laurinburg.