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We are grateful : otsaliheliga
2018
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Uligohvsdi - Fall   When cool breezes blow and leaves fall, we say otsaliheliga... ...as shell shakers dance all night around the fire, and burnt cedar's scent drifts upward during the Great New Moon Ceremony. ...as we clean our house, wear new clothes, enjoy a feast, and forget old quarrels to welcome the Cherokee New Year. Excerpted from We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
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  School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Sorell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, offers readers a look at contemporary Cherokee life as she follows a family through the seasons of the year as they take part in ceremonies and festivals. The book opens, "Cherokee people say otsaliheliga to express gratitude. It is a reminder to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles-daily, throughout the year.." Beginning in the fall (uligohvsdi) with the Cherokee New Year, a variety of rituals and cultural symbols are introduced, all in spare, lyrical, accessible language. Traditional foods, crafts, and songs are part of the engaging narrative, as is the refrain, "we say otsaliheliga." Once through the calendar, Sorell circles back to the Cherokee National Holiday (Labor Day weekend), "when we recall the ancestors' sacrifices to preserve our way of life.. to celebrate nulistanidolv, history, and listen to our tribal leaders speak." Cherokee words are presented both phonetically and written in the Cherokee syllabary. Lessac's lovely gouache folk-art style paintings bring the scenes to life. Back matter includes a description of the various ceremonies, notes, and a page devoted to the Cherokee -syllabary. VERDICT This informative and authentic introduction to a thriving ancestral and ceremonial way of life is perfect for holiday and family sharing.-Luann Toth, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.
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