Tlingit Speeches for the Removal of Grief

Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer

Abstract

Introduction. Few researchers can compare to Nora and Richard Dauenhauer when it comes to documenting the oral literature of northern peoples. Their three books, focused on Tlingit oral tradition, are classics that serve as exemplary models. The Dauenhauers gave the bulk of their presentation like a responsive reading. They began by introducing themselves and each provided some background about their work. Then they reenacted the speeches, with Nora Dauenhauer declaiming them and Richard Dauenhauer providing all the responses, as given by the various people who had participated at the time when the speeches were originally made. Nora delivered part of the first speech in Tlingit, to give the listeners a sense of the original language, then switched to English. The words and their presentation made an unmistakably dramatic impact on the audience. The cadence of the speeches is reflected in the length of the lines on the page, so that short lines represent a slower delivery and longer lines reflect a more rapid delivery. Where long lines exceed the right margin, they are “wrapped around” and indented. WHA

  • Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer 3740 N. Douglas Highway, Juneau, Alaska 99801

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