State Historical Society ‘Tasunka’ book featured in Atlanta children’s program

Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend is featured in the November Artful Stories program at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, located on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

The multi-award-winning South Dakota State Historical Society book, written and illustrated by Oglala Lakota artist Donald F. Montileaux, has received high praise since its publication in 2014.Montileaux - Tasunka (CI)

The Carlos Museum designed Artful Stories for preschool children. The program combines art and literacy to build vocabulary, flexible thinking, problem-solving skills and fine motor skills. Picture books are chosen for their quality and connection to current museum exhibits. In November, the course centers around Tasunka, which teaches children about ledger-style drawings. The book accompanies the Carlos Museum’s exhibit “Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection.”

“We are thrilled to be offering Montileaux’s Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend as part of our Artful Stories program,” says Alyson Vuley from the Education Department of the Carlos Museum. “Each child involved with the program will receive a beautiful hardcover copy of ‘Tasunka’ to help them learn about the pictographic art of the Plains peoples.”

In addition to reading Tasunka, participants will create a pictorial shield based on an artifact at the Carlos Museum by Joseph No Two Horns, the man who is believed to have carved the South Dakota State Historical Society’s Great Sioux Horse Effigy. The effigy recently returned from a two-year world tour and is on display at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

Tasunka is a story of adventure, discovery, loss and renewal, set to beautiful illustrations that illuminate the story of the horse and its importance to the Plains people. Readers journey with a young warrior as he tracks a strange new creature across the Plains and discover the destructive nature of power as well as a lesson in redemption.

Montileaux uses traditional storytelling methods to impart wisdom to new generations, and through the Lakota translation by Agnes Gay, Tasunka preserves an important piece of Lakota culture. Tasunka is dedicated to Alex White Plume, who first told the legend to Montileaux.

Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend is available for $19.95 plus shipping and tax and can be purchased from most bookstores or ordered directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Visit www.sdhspress.com, call (605) 773-6009 or emailorders@sdhspress.com.

To find out more about the Carlos Museum and its exhibits, please visit www.carlos.emory.edu

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Praise for “Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend” in the Midwest Book Review

Montileaux - Tasunka (CI)

“Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend” is a traditional Lakota teaching tale about the significance of the discovery and taming of horses by an early Lakota warrior, on the Northern Great Plains of North America. Filled with vibrant, expressive, carefully drawn illustrations done in the style of Lakota ledger artists’ drawings, “Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend” tells the traditional story in both English and Lakota, in simple language filled with traditional storytellers’ fireside styles of intimate, significant communication to the young. In ancient times, a young warrior out hunting discovers evidence of a new, astounding animal. Times have been hard, and the people of his village were hungry. With much careful trailing, observation, and patient domestication approaches, the warrior succeeds in taming and building a small herd of domesticated wild horses, which he takes home to his village. The horses enabled the Lakota people to hunt game much farther and longer, and they prospered with the help of the fine horses. However, they used the Great Spirit’s gift of the horse, Tasunka, to claim new lands and to dominate other peoples. Because of their misuse of the great gift of Tasunka, horses were taken away from the Lakota people. Much later, they returned again ridden by strange white warriors wearing silver armor. The Lakota people once again were able to tame and ride the wild herd of horses, part of Tasunka’s legacy. ” This return of the Tasunka to the plains people was the Great Spirit’s way of forgiveness.” The Lakota once again became wealthy, great horsemen of the plains. The stunning ledger style illustrations add colorful imagery to the spare, descriptive traditional narrative of “Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend,” weaving a complex treasure of heritage for children of tomorrow. Each page contains both an English and a Lakota translation of the narrative, ideally written for children age five and up.”

 

See the review here.