“It was great being able to talk to all sorts of people from other tribes and hear their stories. I loved hearing the different names and the different languages.” – T.D. Hill
Ten years, globe-trotter, basketball, research, equals book
OKMULGEE, Okla. — How can one person preserve their culture? Some do it by learning their Native language. They say speaking a word or phrase everyday will help.
Tribal citizens preserve culture by their dances and ways of worship. Some feel they preserve it by telling the stories that were passed on to them by their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
One person is trying to keep his culture, along with other cultures through that way, stories.
T.D. Hill (Wichita, Kiowa and Pawnee), who grew up in southwest Oklahoma, said he was exposed to a lot of his culture and traditions at a young age from his grandparents.
“Being around them as much as I was able to absorb stories and songs,” he said. “A lot of stuff that I took for granted at that age.”
What also helped get him started on his project was reading a Time Life book series.
“It was called ‘The Enchanted World,’” Hill said.
He said he enjoyed the series, and from reading he noticed there was a lacking in a certain subject.
“I could not find anything similar to Native American mythology and folklore,” Hill said. “Just the stories with Native Americans I could not find.”
From reading the series and recording stories from his grandparents, he chose to go a step further and record other elders and citizens from other tribes and make a book out of it.
Hill felt that this book should not only be about his tribe, but other tribes throughout the U.S.
That is how his book came to be called, The Age of Myths and Legends Book One: Monsters.
“It was great being able to talk to all sorts of people from other tribes and hear their stories,” Hill said. “I loved hearing the different names and the different languages.”
Hill had an unorthodox way of being able to gather research for his book. He grew up playing basketball and even played on the NCAA Division I level.
After school was finished, he still played basketball in Native American independent basketball tournaments throughout the country.
“I played basketball in an age where big men were in demand,” Hill said. “I would go to a lot of different tournaments and I used that to help do my research.”
He said he would go to two or three different tournaments a week depending on the location.
“I recorded some stories out of Utah and I had another tournament to go to in California,” he said. “I was able to record more stories there.”
He said this book is almost 10 years in the making.
“It took a long time for a good reason,” Hill said. “I wanted to make sure I had everything correct before I published it. That was very important.”
Hill said with some of the stories he would noticed a similarity, but it was another story and tribe.
“Some of the stories, although they had different names sounded very similar,” Hill said. “That was very interesting to know that and I point those out in the book.”
Hill sees this book and the stories he gathered as a teaching tool for the younger generation.
“The younger generation can use the stories to keep their culture going,” he said. “I want them to keep the stories alive.”
Hill said there will be a series of books that will follow the initial publication. He wants the next book to focus on a different topic.
“My first book was about monsters, I want this next book to be about heroes. We have a lot of heroes among our tribes.”
“Everyone has heard about Hercules in mythology. We have heroes in our tribes that are like him,” he said.
Hill said with these stories there is a very important piece that the reader can take with them.
“Everybody is interested in these stories for their own reason,” Hill said. “They connect us.”
‘The Age of Myths and Legends’ by T.D. Hill is available through www.amazon.com on the Kindle and hardback. For more information about the book or the other books, go to: www.nativetales.com.
“I am excited about that,” Hill said. “It is one thing to have it in Kindle, it is another thing to actually hold the book in your hands.”