Joseph Bruchac Biography
Joseph Bruchac is a traditional storyteller and writer whose work often reflects his Abenaki Indian ancestry and his lifelong interest in American Indian history and culture. Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas and Storyteller of the Year from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, his work has appeared in hundreds of publications from American Poetry Review to National Geographic. The author of over 120 books for children and adults, his titles include JIM THORPE, ORIGINAL ALL-AMERICAN, OUR STORIES REMEMBER (Fulcrum), and MARCH TOWARD THE THUNDER (Dial).
Bruchac lives with his wife, Carol, in the Adirondack mountain foothills town of Greenfield Center, New York, in the same house where his maternal grandparents raised him. Much of his writing draws on that land and his Abenaki ancestry, which is part of an ethnic background that includes Slovak and English blood. He, his younger sister Margaret, and his two grown sons, James and Jesse, continue to work extensively in projects involving the preservation of Abenaki culture, language and traditional Native skills at their Ndakinna Education Center. The Bruchacs have recorded together as The Dawn Land Singers and have performed American Indian music at festivals and in concert throughout the United States, in Canada, and in several European nations.
As a professional teller of the traditional tales of the Adirondacks and the Native peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands, Joe has performed throughout the United States from Florida to Hawaii and has been featured at such events as the British Storytelling Festival and the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tennessee. He 's been a storyteller-in-residence for Native American organizations and schools throughout the continent, including the Institute of Alaska Native Arts and the Onondaga Nation School. He discusses Native culture and his books and does storytelling programs at dozens of elementary and secondary schools each year as a visiting author. From 1973 to 1981, he directed a college program inside a maximum security prison.
His hobbies include gardening and doing traditional American Indian crafts. A varsity wrestler at Cornell University and a former high school and junior high school wrestling coach, he's also been a martial arts teacher for more than thirty years, focussing in particular on Indonesian Pencak-silat.