January 23, 2009

Naya Nuki the movie

Author ensures Naya Nuki's tale lives on

A forgotten story told[Jackson Hole author Kenneth Thomasma] never started writing until he heard the story about Sacajawea. He knew the story must be put down on paper and “The Truth About Sacajawea” was written.

This book wasn’t the topic Thomasma focused on. He wanted to tell the children about a lesser known Native American woman he called Naya Nuki, which is Shoshoni for girl who ran.

“Naya Nuki” is a book about an American Indian girl’s struggles to get back to her mother after she was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
And:Thomasma said in celebration of this book being made into a movie he wanted to leave Green River a few items. He gave them the “Naya Nuki” book on CD, a poster and four pieces of artwork from the book. He encouraged the children to read the book to find out what happened to Naya Nuki and watch the movie when it comes out.Comment:  There's no indication that Thomasma is Native. Or that he consulted Native people or sources before writing Naya Nuki.

Trying to convey the mind of a 19th-century Native girl is exactly where a white man should fear to tread. We're talking about someone from a different gender, a different culture, and a different century. What are the odds that Thomasma got Naya Nuki right?

On the other hand, the book Naya Nuki has received nothing but four- and five-star reviews on Amazon.com, so it can't be too bad. It would be interesting to see what Native educators think of it.

Meanwhile, Thomasma is making Naya Nuki's story into a movie? Is this another potential role for Vanessa Hudgens? I shudder to think about it.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.

Below:  "Jackson Hole author Ken Thomasma visits Monroe Intermediate School students Tuesday morning to tell them about his book 'Naya Nuki,' which is about a Native American girl who escapes slavery. He showed the children a beaver skin and buffalo robe." (Star photo by Stephanie Thompson)

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