Maggie’s Story: Teachings of a Cherokee Healer
by Pamela Dawes Tambornino
Maggie’s Story: Teachings of a Cherokee Healer offers a delightful
collection of tales from Tambornino’s early years. Based primarily on
the author’s personal interactions with her Cherokee grandmother, these
teachings inform and entertain the reader with humor and subtle
As expected, many of the stories focus on relationships with
animals and plants. In Strawberries / ANI, Tambornino retells a story
of first man and first woman, and how the sun intervened to heal their
relationship and teach them about cooperation. In Mamma Skunk / DI LI, a
young girl observes how respect for animals is good policy, while Noodling/Di Ga Lv Nv Hi and Reclaiming Grandma’s Chicken Eggs/ Ju We Tsi relate the humorous results of doing things one’s own way.
There are a number of tales about healing, of course, plus numerous
descriptions of culturally specific details. Examples include Trail of
Tears, Beads, and Learning Cherokee.
In the end, it was difficult to pick a favorite. Not only was I
learning information about a culture and family, I was also relearning
how to laugh. And, I learned how to remember.
An added bonus to attending a live reading was meeting Ms.
Tambornino. I had already spoken to her hours after finishing Maggie’s
Story. Again, I found her warm and inviting. Plus, she was open to
writing a second collection of stories.
As a writer, I hope to be as prolific, generous and skillful as
this talented Haskell professor in conveying the stories of my youth.
Let’s wish her the best in her endeavors as we anticipate another round
of Pamela’s stories.
Stephanie Ann Barrows