Michigan and the Great Lakes

Whispers of the Ancients

Native Tales for Teaching and Healing in Our Time
Tamarack Song and Moses (Amik) Beaver

Narratives inspired by the retelling of Indian stories and legends, with gorgeous artwork


It's easy to imagine yourself transported back to a time when an Elder might have told stories like those in Whispers of the Ancients around a glowing hearth. Thanks to Tamarack Song's storytelling skills, monsters, heroes, and shapeshifters come alive and open a doorway to the mysteries of life. Easily accessible to all ages, this is a book that speaks to each person at his or her own level of comprehension and need. It is as beautiful to read as it is to look at.

Stunning Aboriginal artwork by Moses (Amik) Beaver combines with provocative storytelling to renew, in all their traditional splendor, exceptional legends from around the world. Entertaining, profound, passionate, glorious—these are stories that illustrate and evoke themes common to everyone's life, with an ancient wisdom that helps the listener to cope with today's opportunities for tenderness, grief, passion, and irony.

"Whispers of the Ancients helps us reconnect with the spirit of story that is a part of all our heritages. With respect for the wisdom of the past and with an eye toward the cross-cultural links that legends can make between us, Tamarack Song offers a gathering of tales and insightful comments that point the way back to the circle."
—Joseph Bruchac, author of more than 70 books for children and adults, including (with coauthor Michael J. Caduto) the best-selling Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children

Tamarack Song has sought out the stories of the North African and Central Asian tribal peoples from whom he is descended, and he has listened to the tales of indigenous people from the tundra to the tropics. His books include Journey to the Ancestral Self, and he has contributed to Lois Einhorn's Forgiveness and Child Abuse. He is also a counselor, wilderness skills teacher, rites-of-passage guide, and founder of the Teaching Drum Outdoor School (www.teachingdrum.org). Song lives in the Nicolet National Forest near Three Lakes, Wisconsin.

Moses (Amik) Beaver is an Ojibwe artist from the isolated fly-in community of Nibinamik (Summer Beaver), Ontario, three hundred miles north of Lake Superior. Grants from the Ontario Arts Council and other sources support his ongoing work with youth, and partial support for this book's illustrations comes from the District School Board of Nibinamik. 

Brother Wolf Foundation website

Praise / Awards

  • "It is a lovely collection of stories... a delight for readers familiar with Native American tales, as well as those new to the genre."
    ForeWord Reviews

  • Nautilus Book Awards 2011 Gold Winner in the Multicultural/Indigenous category

  • Winner of three Midwest Independent Publishers Awards in the categories of Coffee Table Books, Social Studies, and Illustration

Look Inside

Copyright © 2010, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Supplemental Materials

News, Reviews, Interviews

Listen: UMP Author Podcast Series: Tamarack Song | MP3 | 5/1/2010

Listen: Tamarack Song Reading: Two Hungry Bears | MP3 | 5/10/2010

Read: Q&A with Tamarack Song | PDF | 5/1/2010

Product Details

  • 224 pages.
  • 115 full color illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2011
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02788-0

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

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  • $35.00 U.S.

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  • world stories, Ojibwe stories, healing stories, traditional story collection, Native American oral tradition homeschool book, American Indian art, Ojibwe art, Moses (Amik) Beaver, Tamarack Song