Kent State reads with James Seelye


James Seelye spoke about what it was like to write his book,  Voices of the American Indian Experience as a part of the Kent Read series in the library Wendesday, Sept 10, 2014.

Olivia Young

Excerpts from “Voices of the American Indian Experience” were read aloud by co-editor James Seelye, a history professor at the Kent State Stark campus.

Seelye’s primary-source collection tells the creation stories of the American Indian experience by allowing American Indians to tell their stories in their own words and use unfiltered accounts.

Creation stories are habitually passed down, and Seelye said a lot of American Indian history is oral tradition. Many American Indian stories are not written down due to the chance of manipulation and loss of ownership.

Seelye believes in not discrediting the American Indian stories.

“We can’t discount it; we have to at least acknowledge it,” he said. “I tell my students that even the most absurd (creation stories) you at least acknowledge a little bit because we can’t totally 100% percent disprove it.”

One of the excerpts Seelye recited from the Pacific Northwest began, “The sky chief made the Earth out a lump of clay and he rolled it out like a piece of dough until it is the size that it is now.”

The American Indians’ unique way of viewing the world served as the author’s inspiration to record their experiences.

 As a part of the Kent Reads program, the event was Wednesday, Sept. 10 in the Wick Poetry Corner in the Kent State main library.

“I really liked that he worked with them instead of just talking to them. He wrote with the American Indians, instead of just writing about them,” said Lauren Ledzianowski, a speech-language pathology major who attended the event.

Kent Reads is a one-hour event that occurs four to five times throughout the semester.

The next Kent Reads event will be Wednesday, Oct. 8 in the Wick Poetry Corner on the second floor of the University Library with speaker Cindy Kristof.

Contact Olivia Young at [email protected].