Smelcer, Ahtna Heritage, and Kiska

smelcerJohn Smelcer, author of the YA novels Lone Wolves, Stealing Indians, and Kiska – coming this fall, has been active in researching his past for a long time. Late last year, Smelcer started a YouTube channel dedicated to spreading the knowledge of his people – the Ahtna tribe of Alaska. In his videos, Smelcer teaches his audience how to speak their language and more about their culture. The author and historian is dedicated to not letting this and other cultures that we should cherish fall by the wayside as we modernize.

Earlier this year, Smelcer wrote an article for NPR’s Code Switch in which he details yet another unfortunate part of American history. During World War 2 when the government had their own internment camps on American soil to address what was largely being marketed as “the Asian threat” after Pearl Harbor, we not only imprisoned Asian immigrants and Asian-Americans but also members of the Ahtna tribe. In Kiska, he addresses this very topic when the U.S. Army arrives to evacuate Kiska’s entire village to an internment camp almost 2,000 miles away to be forgotten because they “look like Japs.”

Smelcer’s building concern for the endangered language of his kiskaancestors and the unfortunate general decline of appreciation of the Native Americans before us, drive his research and will to share that knowledge with his readers. Pick up one of his books today for an incredible window into Native American history and the stake we all should have in retaining and celebrating that history.

About Leapfrog Press
Leapfrog Press was created to search out, publish, and aggressively market books that tell a strong story. Leapfrog began its life in Wellfleet, Mass., at the outer end of Cape Cod, in 1993. In 2008 we migrated to Falmouth, Mass., and in 2012 we made the move to Fredonia, N.Y., a town with a rich creative history and an equally rich present in the arts and science. Our list is eclectic and includes quality fiction, poetry, and nonfiction; books that are described by the large commercial publishers as midlist, and which we regard as the heart and soul of literature.

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