Oneida Nation Book Project

MOBOCES, Oneida Nation Partner on Book Project
Posted on 08/03/2020

The Oneida Indian Nation is releasing the first in a series of new Oneida language-learning children’s book, The Legend of How the Bear Lost His Tail, based on the Haudenosaunee legend that has been passed down for generations. The book was developed through an ongoing partnership with MOBOCES.

The creative partnership, now entering its sixth year, has been a wonderful educational experience as the Oneida Indian Nation Language Department works to extend its reach in the community. On this book project, the MOBOCES Staff and Curriculum Development and Early Childhood divisions provide assistance with instructional strategies that instructors in the department can use with students of all ages; and the MOBOCES Print Shop developed the layout and printed the books.

“It’s been a pleasure collaborating and developing a wonderful relationship with the Oneida Indian Nation to produce this book that will assist in the preservation of the Oneida Language,” Staff and Curriculum Development Director Ed Rinaldo said. “The Nation was interested in developing a variety of resources that would be available for years to come so that anyone interested in learning the language could get underway. Providing these books for the local community will strengthen our bond with our closest neighbors and offer an important introduction to Oneida culture that inspires learning through storytelling.”

The partnership between MOBOCES and the Oneida Indian Nation has allowed the development of many educational resources over the past six years to further Oneida language development and provide increased cultural understanding between neighboring communities.  These include posters, flashcards and annual calendars that feature new words and phrases each year.

bear book coverThe book project was in development for nearly a year. The Legend of How the Bear Lost His Tail features original illustrations, both the Oneida text and the full English translation, and phonetics and pictures using a rebus format for the two main characters of the story, the bear and the fox. The rebus format allows any person to pick up the book and learn the words by the end of the story by using pictures, color, and phonetics right in the middle of the sentences. As specialists in curriculum development, the staff at MOBOCES suggested emphasizing a few chosen words that the reader could learn by the end of the story.

Copies will be made available at local schools and libraries throughout the region – inviting all students, for the first time, to learn the language. Additional books are currently in development.

The Nation’s Language Department is committed to promoting and reinvigorating the Oneida language throughout the community. That involves creating original content that is geared toward all educators and students.

“Language is the foundation of any culture and fortifying our language for future generations remains a critical goal for the Oneida Indian Nation,” Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said in a statement. “It’s important for children to be exposed to different cultures, especially the cultures of the people in the communities in which they live. This book is an exceptional introduction to our culture and will help children learn the foundations of the Oneida language.”

Pictured are the cover and an inside page from The Legend of How the Bear Lost His Tail.