The Oneida Indian Nation announced on Tuesday that it has published its second language learning children’s book called The Robin Legend. After the successful release of its innovative cultural video series for Native American Heritage Month and its first language book The Legend of How the Bear Lost His Tail, the Oneida Indian Nation is excited to continue its language preservation efforts in partnership with Madison-Oneida BOCES.

The second book in this series is entirely illustrated by Oneida Indian Nation Member Chelsea Jocko (Wolf Clan). The Robin Legend tells the story of how the Robin learned to fly again and how it got its red chest. Legends and storytelling are a significant aspect of Oneida culture, which continue to be handed down from generation to generation. Putting these largely oral stories into books will cement their legacies for generations to come.

“Language preservation is paramount to keeping our culture alive for future generations and these books enable us to share our language not only with our families, but our neighbors and friends as well,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “These projects are critically important to the Oneida Indian Nation’s vision of a thriving culture and community. It’s also incredibly special to have an Oneida contribute the illustrations for the entire book, which highlights the tremendous artistic talent that exists right here in our own community.”


The Robin Legend Cover Image

The Robin Legend follows the same rebus format implemented by Madison-Oneida BOCES, which features both the Oneida text and the full English translation, as well as phonetics and pictures for the Robin character. The format allows for any reader to pick up the book and learn a specific word or phrase by the end using pictures, color, and phonetics right in the middle of the sentences.

“It’s important to expose students to different cultures, backgrounds and histories, as often as possible,” said Ed Rinaldo, Staff and Curriculum Development Director for Madison-Oneida BOCES. “These stories are just an introduction to Oneida culture, but bringing these stories to print extends an invitation to the entire community to build longer-lasting relationships with our neighbors. That’s what makes partnering with the Oneida Indian Nation and contributing to the preservation of the Oneida language so fulfilling.”

Copies of The Robin Legend will be distributed to local schools and libraries throughout the region, which will enable students to get a basic introduction to Oneida language and culture. The Nation’s Language Program will continue to produce new materials to sustain language learning for years to come.


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