Washington State University Press Announces a new title, the 2018 Evans Handcart Book Award winner:


Handcart Award 2017


Carry Forth the Stories: An Ethnographer’s Journey into Native Oral Tradition

By Rodney Frey

Foreword by Leonard Bends


In this “ethnographic memoir” Rodney Frey, a seasoned anthropologist/ethnographer, offers personal and professional insights into the power and value of indigenous storytelling, and describes what he has learned over forty years of working successfully with tribes and Native peoples.


He frames his story as “the quest of an ethnographer to learn from his hosts and engage in collaborative, applied, ethical-based research, writing, and classroom pedagogy.” He addresses issues of permissions and cultural property rights, tribal review, collaboration, applications of research, and “giving back” to the host community. He considers Indigenous learning styles and perspectives, and their research, writing, and teaching. His own experiences with collaborative research projects offer a model for others seeking to work with tribal communities.


Intertwined throughout are stories: gathered from interviews, oral histories, and conveyed by elders, as well as Frey’s personal story about his experience with cancer drawing from both Native and Western healing traditions.


Frey relates: "During the mid-1970s, I had the privilege of working with such elders as Tom and Susie Yellowtail and Allen Old Horn of the Crow of Montana, and they shared with me four quintessential stories that has laid the foundations for my interwoven professional and personal lives, culminating with his own journey with cancer.  Among the central topics I explore in this "ethnographic memoir" are the power and importance of story and storytelling, and of empathy, the glue that makes it all work, also considered are the insights and value of "heart knowing," of experiencing the world through the eyes of the Indigenous, and finally considered is how we can successively address the seemingly “mutually exclusive” in our interpersonal lives, of overcoming the "my way or the highway" mentality. There are lessons from the indigenous for us all."


Rodney Frey is professor of ethnography and Distinguished professor of humanities at the University of Idaho. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Colorado, and since the mid-1970s has worked in collaboration with tribal communities including the Coeur d’Alene, Crow, Nez Perce, and Warm Springs. He is the author of four other books, including Stories That Make the World: Oral Literature of the Indian Peoples of the Inland Northwest and Landscape Traveled by Coyote and Crane: The World of the Schitsu'umsh--Coeur d'Alene Indians


What readers are saying:

“This book offers something very rare and very important: a reflection on what the author has learned over a long career as a professor and as a human being. His ability to weave together central ideas within his scholarly work (orality, literacy, ethnographic methodology, the ethics of scholarship, pedagogy, traditionalism) with his own personal narrative is striking, and often simply beautiful.”--Suzanne Crawford O’Brien, Pacific Lutheran University, author of Coming Full Circle: Spirituality and Wellness Among Native Communities in the Pacific Northwest


“An impressive exploration of indigenous storytelling and culture…in a distinctive style consistent with indigenous storytelling methods. Dr. Frey invites the reader to indulge, not as a casual observer, but as an active participant. This is the heart of indigenous storytelling.”--Randall Schleufer, Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Board of Directors, Salish School of Spokane


“A summing up of the life, wisdom, and even pedagogy of a highly respected teacher and ethnographer. It was a pleasure to read, and is a book that taught me a great deal.”--Dennis Baird, University of Idaho (emeritus), author/editor of eight books, most recently, with Diane Mallickan and William Swagerty, the multiple award-winning Encounters With the People: Written and Oral Accounts of Nez Perce Life to 1858


From Evans Handcart Award jurors: “This is a well-written book that respectably treats the Native Americans and the significance of the oral tradition. Frey’s autobiographical experiences are key as to how his work with indigenous storytelling has benefited and changed his life. This book is an attempt to open the door into a realm of thinking and communicating that is new to most readers. It’s courageous to assume that mere print can reveal this different world. Frey is creative in taking many approaches to explaining this second level of reality.”

To read Jennifer Bauer's "Inland 360.com" interview (June 21, 2017)


To listen to Donna Seebo's "Warriors for Peace" interview (#875-2 August 16, 2017, Delphi Vision Broadcasting)



ISBN 978-0-87422-348-4
Paperback $29.95 list


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