BISMARCK, N.D. ? Mary Louise Defender Wilson's "My Relatives Say," is an enhanced CD of traditional Dakotah stories designed to play on any standard CD player. If the disk is played on a computer an interactive presentation with photos, video and audio clips is available. Makoche Word released the disk in 2001.
"My Relatives Say" has received three Native American Music Award nominations for best spoken-word album, best historical recording and best producer.
Wilson fluently switches between English, Dakotah and Hidatsa while narrating the eight stories chosen for this album. Flute accompaniment is provided by Brian Akipa, also a NAMMY nominee for flutist of the year and best male artist.
Wilson, also known as Gourd Woman, is a Dakotah Sioux born on the Standing Rock Reservation near Shields, N.D. and has lived there all her life. Wilson's mother, grandmother and great grandmother were all midwives and skilled storytellers. She traveled in a wagon with her mother ? Helen Margaret ? to visit families in need. Along the way Helen would explain the social relationships of the people to whom they were administering and point out the plants and animals they passed.
"We lived by gardening and as sheep herders ? We could walk all over the land. Grandfather would tell us about the rock formations, hills, streams and buttes we came across," said Wilson. In this way she received a traditional education and learned the stories that were so important to teaching a person how to live in a "civilized manner."
Wilson has earned many accolades over her long life. Her first album "The Elders Speak," with Francis Cree (Eagle Heart) won the 2000 NAMMY for best spoken-word recording and a 2000 notable document award from the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association. Wilson has also earned a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Education Association's H. Councill Trenholm Memorial Award for Human and Civil Rights.
To find out more about Wilson and to purchase her albums visit www.makoche.com or write to Makoche Word, P.O. Box 2756, Bismarck, N.D. 58502.