Willie Jumper Stories

Willie Jumper was known for his work on preserving the Cherokee literary tradition. He collected and recounted many Cherokee stories throughout his life, writing them in the pages of a ledger book. Some are descriptions of dated events as early as the mid 1800s, while others are timeless tales. Each historical narrative spans one or two pages in the original ledger, and we continue to add more to this collection.

Though storytelling appears across the collection, the Willie Jumper Stories permit a pristine encounter with story as the vital center of Cherokee identity.  Spanning four decades before and after the 20th century’s turn, these accounts depict individual lives and bestow traditional knowledge, blending them together and keeping both people and traditions alive.  Elders, relatives, and friends, places and communities, beliefs and practices move within these stories as one, illustrating the profound coherence Cherokee cultural integrity entails.  Storytelling remembers the past in the present, advancing it for the future.  Memory is a vessel and sharing is a sacred obligation.