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ISBN:
978-17350457-0-2

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THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE

By Gregory Vizzi, Chief Quiet Thunder Gilbert

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IR Rating:
5.0
A work of profound generosity and wisdom that advocates eloquently for the importance of respecting and protecting our environment, THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE is an indispensable gift to present and future generations. Quiet Thunder's voice shines from every line, with serene authority and a natural storyteller's gift for channeling vast swaths of history without losing the intimacy of personal testimony.
IR Approved

An oral history of the indigenous Lenni-Lenape people of the New Jersey and Delaware area, THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE sets down in writing the stories and teachings of Chief Quiet Thunder, a Lenape elder. With this collection, which blends the chief’s personal stories with narratives of the history, culture, and traditions of the Lenape Nation, Quiet Thunder (who passed away in 2020) fulfilled his life’s mission to “pass on to children and grandchildren the important spiritual beliefs of their ancestors,” as well as to help others gain a deeper understanding of the native people of North America. Beginning with his birth in 1934 in the small town of Woodbury, New Jersey, Quiet Thunder describes an idyllic childhood spent reveling in the natural world. “I can feel the cool wind blowing on my face,” the chief vividly recalls. “I look up and see puffy white clouds drifting in a blue sky.” Quiet Thunder goes on to introduce readers to Lenape culture, from their creation myths, such as the Red Cedar tree that birthed the first Lenape man and woman, to the workings of traditional village life—including their leadership structure and how chiefs are chosen—and Lenape spiritual beliefs. Nature is central to every aspect of Lenape culture, not merely as a source of food and medicine but as a sacred responsibility, to ensure that people continue to exist in harmony with the world.

As a chronicle of Native American history told from lived experience, THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE conveys a vital spirit and depth of detail that third-party accounts typically lack. Quiet Thunder speaks movingly of the importance of Medicine Power, which encompasses not merely healing arts but “anything that connects us with Nature or with the Creator.” Through anecdotes of hunting and fishing, the chief conveys the importance of patience—being in tune with one’s surroundings—and observing and learning from animals’ behavior. With the able assistance of co-author Greg Vizzi, who helped shape the chief’s recollections into prose, and historian Marcia Adams, who provided transcriptions of Quiet Thunder’s oral storytelling, THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE preserves not only historical and cultural information but the elder’s personality as well. Quiet Thunder’s voice shines from every line, with serene authority and a natural storyteller’s gift for channeling vast swaths of history without losing the intimacy of personal testimony. Whether sharing memories of childhood pneumonia and choking down cough syrup made of tobacco and blackstrap molasses or teaching readers how to make a fishing hook out of a sliver of deer leg bone, Quiet Thunder brings his experiences to vibrant life with a charming, laid-back sense of humor (as when he tells of pranking his friends with a harmless but dangerous-looking sand viper to scare them away from his favorite swimming hole).

“Before I go back to Mother Earth,” Quiet Thunder says, “I want to be able to look at my life and say that it was all worthwhile.” This book undeniably fulfills his goal. A work of profound generosity and wisdom that advocates eloquently for the importance of respecting and protecting our environment, THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE is an indispensable gift to present and future generations.

A work of profound generosity and wisdom that advocates eloquently for the importance of respecting and protecting our environment, THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE is an indispensable gift to present and future generations. Quiet Thunder’s voice shines from every line, with serene authority and a natural storyteller’s gift for channeling vast swaths of history without losing the intimacy of personal testimony.

~Edward Sung for IndieReader

Publisher:
N/A

Publication Date:
N/A

Copyright Date:
N/A

ISBN:
978-17350457-0-2

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
N/A

THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE

By Gregory Vizzi, Chief Quiet Thunder Gilbert

THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE (The Ancient Culture and Wisdom of the Lenni-Lenape People) by Chief Quiet Thunder and Greg Vizzi, is a beautiful book filled with stories, poems, prayers, and traditions that explores the history, geography, and traditions of the Lenni-Lenape, and teaches “the sacred obligation to protect the Earth.” Personal recollections are skillfully integrated into the larger tapestry of the culture, its relationship to nature, and its spiritual alliance. Chief Quiet Thunder has a gentle, wry humor, and is a master at weaving history, science, and spirit into his stories. His style of teaching is so fused with his style of living that simply being in his presence (even on the page), supports learning. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs, drawings, and maps, this beautiful history deserves an honored position on the bookshelf, where it can be read and re-read over and over again.