Heart of the bitterroot
Jennifer Greene wrote the stories. She is a Salish/Chippewa-Cree poet who won the North American Native Authors Poetry Award. Her mesmerizing stories are narrated by Joanne Bigcrane and are accompanied by traditional American Indian songs and evocative music performed on flute, violin and piano. The musicians included in the album are flute player Gary Stroutsos, keyboardist David Lanz, and Lummi violinist Swil Kanim.
Indian women are either the most invisible people in the American mind or the most poorly represented, in mainstream media, in film and in books, says Cajune . Theres a huge misunderstanding of the role American Indian women played in their families and communities and the kinds of human beings they were. I dont think these kinds of stories about Indian women are well known. I wanted young women today to realize that this is a remarkable legacy, the traditions of women.
The beautifully design CD booklet includes Greenes stories as well as vintage photos. Heart of the Bitterroot was made possible via funding by Npustin, a non-profit organization dedicated to indigenous arts. Supplementary materials were provided by the Salish Kootenai College Tribal History Project.
The most important thing about Heart of the Bitterroot is that these are womens stories, says Cajune, who still lives on the Flathead reservation in western Montana, where she was born. The reason I put them in an audio format was because I wanted to find a medium that would provide the greatest access to the largest number of people. I took the historic narrative information and gave it to Jennifer Greene, who is a poet and a [Salish] tribal member. She created a story that is engaging and compelling to listen toshe gives voice to the stories of these four women. Then Joanne Bigcrane tells their stories in their voices instead of a narrator reading you somebody elses story.