ADA, Okla., Aug. 6, 2009 — Cultural artifacts of historical significance are often lost with the passing of time, leaving only those things that have been made of stone or bone – or that have been expertly encased. To the Chickasaw and other southeastern Native American tribes one artifact hard-pressed to withstand the wages of time – the feather cape – was made to honor tribal elders and leaders.
Written in the voice of tribal elder Robert Perry, The Turkey Feather Cape: My Creation from Beyond History (published by iUniverse – http://www.iuniverse.com), explores the materials, design, and preparation needed to go about making the traditional feather cape regalia while preserving the unique history of the Chickasaw tribe. Complete with detailed patterns and photos of the construction of a turkey feather cape, the guide encourages visualization, prizes inspiration, and introduces the hidden reward of personal development appropriate for anyone interested in Native American history.
“My thoughts are broader than how to make feather capes,” explains Perry in the introduction.”The hope here is to reawaken skills and attributes that will carry Chickasaw Nation through the 21st century … Today, living at a hurried pace in a ‘fast food’ culture, only a time-out will give us enough pause to recover the senses. I am suggesting a project that will take months to make. You, like the ancient artisans, will be working alone to make a turkey feather cape. Succeed, and you will have a cape and, perhaps, the courage to take a creative path to other complex projects.”Perry suggests the arduous project of making a traditional turkey feather cape – cultural knowledge that had been long-forgotten – while describing the strong spiritual life of his ancestors.
To give substance to the task, “The Turkey Feather Cape” explores past written history of Colonial Times, back to 1540 when the Chickasaw met Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto. Going back to the roots of the Chickasaws steeped in the Mississippian Era of 1000- 1550 AD, Perry adds knowledge – from a unique Native American standpoint – to what modern archeologists have “dug up” from the past.In a recent Foreword Magazine review, Laurie Sullivan wrote, “While the painstaking recreation of this craft seems a rather singular pursuit, a quick online search reveals that there is current interest for early American history buffs, artisans, and Native American communities for learning this forgotten skill.
The author, a Chickasaw elder, sees “… the effort as useful for gaining skills with visualizing and problem-solving, not to mention cultivating patience!”
About the Author
Born of Chickasaw parents, Robert Perry left Ada, Oklahoma to pursue a long chemical engineering career, one that earned eight U.S. Patents. He and his wife Faye retired in his hometown, the headquarters of the Chickasaw Nation where Perry is a member of the Council of Elders that advises on tribal cultural issues, an emeritus board member of the Chickasaw Historical Society, and is on the board of the Chickasaw Press. He is a member of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Other books by Perry include Life With the Little People (Frank Waters Memorial Publication Series , No 3)and the upcoming biography Uprising: Woody Crumbo’s Indian Art (to be released in 2009). For more information, visit http://www.TurkeyFeatherCape.com.” The Turkey Feather Cape: My Creation from Beyond History is at http://www.iUniverse.com, http://www.bn.com, and http://www.amazon.com ISBN: 9781440101205 – 6 x 9 – Paperback – 88 pages – $15.95