FAR FROM THE FOREST is the first book in a children’s series about the adventures of Mimi, a monarch butterfly. Mimi has emerged from her hibernation deep in the forest of Michoacán, Mexico, where she is befriended by Juan, a tree frog, who helps her prepare for her journey to America. She travels the migration path of her ancestors and is blown off course by a thunderstorm that separates her from the Monarch swarm. Upon crashing into a chokecherry tree, her wing becomes caught on a branch. Frightened and alone, she has no idea where she is or who will help her.
Beautifully written and illustrated, this beginning reader introduces children to Lakota culture and language.
Upcoming release Winter 2022.
Pre-orders will receive a signed copy
To order, go to wiyounkihipi.com/shop
Born in the dusty rural town of Martin, South Dakota, it's no wonder I'm a denim-wearing woman. I've been pairing jeans with a jean jacket since I was a toddler. My dresser drawer and closet would look foreign to me without these two wardrobe staples.
Another preference that has stayed with me throughout the years is my affinity for the craft of writing. An introvert by nature, the alone time required to create an essay, short story, or poem suits me. Writing is a process that requires words and sentences to be scoured and reworked, buffed from awkward stiffness to an agreeable appreciation, much like the gradual softening of blue jeans that once chafed the thighs. I have always been comfortable writing in the nonfiction genre, researching the story behind the story with marginalized populations at the core. Creating a children's book was never on the horizon until my first tȟakóža (grandchild) was born in 2008, and I saw firsthand the lack of picture books written by Native authors. My second tȟakóža was born in 2018, and my third in 2021. Reading to them and telling stories will be essential as their únči (grandmother), a one-on-one experience linking my heart with theirs. As a seventh-generation descendent of the Očeti Šakówiŋ (Seven Council Fires), I value the unique culture of the Lakȟóta people and wish to share it.
My maternal lineage has been traced to the mid-1700s to Bad Teeth of the Oglála, and Chief Crow Feather, the proper chief of the Itázipčho. Intermarriage was not unusual among the Thítȟuŋwaŋ (Teton) Lakȟóta within the seven divisions of Oglála, Itázipčo, Mnikȟáŋožu, Sičhaŋǧu, Húŋkpapȟa, Oohenúŋpa, and Sihásapa. Crow Feather married three daughters of Bad Teeth, who became known as Three Wives Who Were Sisters. He had a daughter, Winula (Mary) Iron Cedar Woman Her Many Pipes, with one of the wives. Iron Cedar Woman is my 4th great-grandmother. She married French fur trader Oliver "Long White Man" LeClaire, and they had five daughters who, through marriage, became Livermont (my direct bloodline), LeCompte, LaPlante, Valandra, and Kensler. These generations now populate five South Dakota reservations. Crow Feather's sister was Walks As She Thinks, the mother of Chief Red Cloud of the Oglála Lakȟóta.
I am an enrolled tribal member of the Oglála Lakȟóta Pine Ridge Indian Reservation through maternal and paternal ancestors Eagle Woman (Oglála wife of Hubert Ruleau), Wasna (Sičhaŋǧu wife of Seth Ward), Mary and Mollie Red Kettle Gerry (wives of Elbridge Gerry), Nicholas Ruleau (son of Eagle Woman and Hubert Ruleau), Leta Livermont Ruleau (daughter of Peter Livermont and Eugenia Cailloz, wife of Nicholas Ruleau), Zona Ruleau Skalinder (daughter of Nicholas Ruleau and Leta Livermont, wife of Arthur Skalinder), and my mother, Margaret Skalinder Hauff (daughter of Zona and Arthur Skalinder, wife of Sylvan Hauff).
Kimímila is the Lakȟóta word for butterfly. My picture book, Far From the Forest, introduces young readers to Lakȟóta culture and language and the Monarch butterfly migration from Mexico to America. It was a joy to write about the adventures of Mimi, and I hope the wakȟáŋheža (children) in your life will enjoy reading my books.
IN THE PRESS
Wiyounkihipi Productions announces:
Far From the Forest
Upcoming Release December 2021
Far From the Forest is the first book in a children’s series about the adventures of Kimimila, a monarch butterfly. Kimimila (Mimi) has emerged from her chrysalis deep in the forest of Michoacán, Mexico. She is befriended by Juan, a tree frog, who helps her prepare for her journey to America. Mimi follows the migration path of her ancestors but is blown off course by a thunderstorm. Disoriented, she crashes into a chokecherry tree on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where a Lakota girl discovers her.
Tracy Hauff is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and a contributor to museum exhibits curated by the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS). Hauff is the author of “Touch the Pen,” published in the Articles of a Treaty Poetry Chapbook. Her most recent poem, “The Sunflower,” is currently on exhibit at the Akta Lakota Museum in South Dakota. Holding great respect for Uncí Maká and a long-standing Rainforest Action Network (RAN) member, Hauff is passionate about saving the rainforests, indigenous homelands, and endangered species. Reading and writing are vital to her happiness but laughing with her takojas and telling them stories is her bona fide bliss. She resides on treaty land in the sacred Black Hills.