Native Peoples of Oklahoma – Literary Futures – 5.1.3 Sequoyah Guess

Native Peoples of Oklahoma – Literary Futures – 5.1.3 Sequoyah Guess

>>Dr. Nelson: So one of the things that I’d
really like to hear from you about is I think it’s fair to say that that you’re a kind of
a traditionalist guy. Does that seem sorta right?>>Sequoyah Guess: Yeah, nontraditional traditionalist.>>Dr. Nelson: That’s cool. [Laughs.] How do
you see yourself as a nontraditional traditionalist?>>Sequoyah Guess: A lot of the things that
I do living just day to day. I can say that, you know, I do things that are traditional,
like when need be, I do the cedar. I go to water and other stuff like that most traditional
people do, but then, you know, half the time I’m on Facebook—>>Dr. Nelson: Yeah.>>Sequoyah Guess: –working on computer, like
you said writing on a story or writing on a novel. So I’m a nontraditional traditionalist,
you know, so.>>Dr. Nelson: I think that’s that’s cool.
[Both laugh.] I like the way that you put it there. And that’s one of the things that
we’ve heard from a lot of people when we’ve been talking around here. It seems like people
aren’t too worried about contradictions sometimes.>>Sequoyah Guess: Yeah, yeah as Gaduwas, you
know, we tend to be able to blend in with our surroundings. That is one of the things
that we have learned to do over the years is to be a part of society, but still be able
to keep our own individual identities, you know, so, and that’s another facet of being
a nontraditional traditionalist, you know, so.>>Dr. Nelson: I I think you could maybe describe
a lot of your literary work in the same way. Could you talk a little bit about the books
that you’ve written?>>Sequoyah Guess: Sure. The books I’ve written,
what I have done most of the time is I’ve taken old myths and legends and brought ’em
up to date and write about how people would react to ’em today. The one I started with
is called Kholvn (The Ravenmocker), and it’s about a mean, cannibalistic shape-shifting
medicine man, and one is around in modern times, and a group of traditionalist and Christian
people they get together and fight him. And then the other novel that I’ve written is
about Ukten, a lot of people call him Uktena, but it’s it’s been described as the Cherokee
version of a dragon. A a huge snake with horns and one crystal horn in its forehead, and
I’ve brought that back, you know, and have him roamin’ around during modern days, you
know, and write about how people reacted to that. And so that’s what I usually do in my
books. There are a couple that I’ve written that it’s just fanciful, you know, things
that I’ve thought of that I thought would be fun to write about, and one is sort of
a science-fiction one, but the characters in all of them–>>Dr. Nelson: That’s Something in the Light
that you’re thinking of?>>Sequoyah Guess: Something in the Light,
yeah, a science fiction one. What happens is this strange light comes to earth and blends
different dimensions together, and there’s these unseen things when you’re in the light,
and they go after you. But in all the in all my books, I do have Gaduwa people in it, whether
they are Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma members or United Keetoowah members, or even the Eastern
Band, you know. There’s always those people. Those are the main ones. Those are the main
characters. I I write for our people. When I first started writing, what compelled me
to start writing was I was out looking for books that featured not just any American
Indian but specifically Cherokee people or Gaduwa people, and there was none out there.
And then it finally came to me, why don’t you just write your own, you know, and so
I started doing that, and people liked it, you know. So so it got to the point where
there was such a demand for it I haven’t been able to do my own publishing on them anymore.
Right now currently I am in the works of trying to get a a deal going with a with a publishing
company, and so hopefully within maybe even within this month I’ll be able to get one
of my one of my books out.>>Dr. Nelson: Oh yeah, that’d be great.>>Sequoyah Guess: Yeah, so it’s called Red
Eye, and it’s a book about vampires, but in of course in my case Gaduwa vampires–>>Dr. Nelson: Uh huh, yeah.>>Sequoyah Guess: –and it it started out
as one book, and it’s currently turned into a trilogy now. The the one book a lot of people
said I didn’t answer some questions in it, and they were still wondering, so that compelled
me to write Book Two, and I’m currently writing on Book Three—>>Dr. Nelson: All right.>>Sequoyah Guess: You know, so, but the first
the first book Red Eye hopefully should come out maybe within the month.>>Dr. Nelson: Oh that’s cool, so people need
to be keeping their eyes out for it.>>Sequoyah Guess: Yeah.>>Dr. Nelson: Yeah, good.>>Sequoyah Guess: I think so.>>Dr. Nelson: All right. Yeah, absolutely.>>Sequoyah Guess: Hopefully.>>Dr. Nelson: Well yeah, you know, I mean,
I read a lot of books, you know, it’s sort of my job, but I remember the first time that
I read Kholvn. I was staying out here. You know, I’m not from around here, but I I was
reading it when I was out here staying and reading it at night kind of by myself, you
know. And you’re describing places right outside the window, only it’s full of cannibal that’ll
eat your liver.>>Sequoyah Guess: Yeah, yeah.>>Dr. Nelson: I’m not afraid to admit I got
a little freaked out.>>Sequoyah Guess: Well.>>Dr. Nelson: And I’m I’m not used to that,
but yeah, you you got a way to make that happen.>>Sequoyah Guess: Yeah, well well, a few years,
well a couple of years after I wrote the book, someday came up with the idea, yeah well,
I had a a man that was trying to peddle my story to a to some production companies because
they thought it’d make a good movie. Finally some actual American Indian producers and
directors I talked to said, you should make it yourself, they said because if Hollywood
gets ahold of it, then they’ll change it around to where, you know, like I said, the the heroes
in my book are Gaduwa people. If Hollywood got ahold of it, they said they’d change it
to where it’d be white people that were the heroes, you know, and of course the the Indians
in it, you know, would be the faithful companions or whatever. [Dr. Nelson laughs.] But but
we decided to go ahead and make the movie ourselves, and we it took us quite a while
to do it because everybody was doing their own jobs and stuff. They had their own lives,
and and so we could only film like from Friday night to Sunday nights, and and during the
days, and it took us, oh, I’d say about nine months.>>Dr. Nelson: No kidding.>>Sequoyah Guess: Yeah, just filming on Fridays
through Sundays. Finally when we got to when we were getting so close to the end of filming
it, everybody said, “Well let’s just go ahead, film everyday, you know, get this thing over
with.” And so we did, and I think we took about two weeks to finish it off. And–>>Dr. Nelson: I’ve never gotten to see that.
That’s another one that I hope you’ll be able to spread around a little.>>Sequoyah Guess: Well, they have a Native
American Film Festival in in Tulsa called Red Fork, and they’ve shown it there twice.
The last time was a couple of years ago, and it surprised me that the film that we made
had it sort of a cult following. When they showed it, it was literally standing room
only, you know. There were so many people that had remembered seeing it when we first
brought it together, and and they wanted to see again. And what surprised me is a lot
of people, they weren’t Gaduwa people. I mean, they were like people Cheyenne there, you
know, Kiowas, and other other Native Americans. They all said that that was one of the scariest
movies they’ve ever seen [Dr. Nelson laughs], you know, and and that that really made me
laugh because, you know, people that weren’t American Indians would come up to me and say,
“I didn’t understand it,” you know. But the, you know, the Kiowas or whatever they were,
Creeks or whatever they’d say that was one of the scariest movies they’d seen because
they understood the, you know, the the traditions that were in in it, you know. And it is the
Kholvn, you know, the Ravenmocker is is still believed in today, you know, and each tribe
I believe has their own form of Ravenmocker in it.>>Dr. Nelson: Right. Yeah, the shape shifters
and–>>Sequoyah Guess: Like like you know–>>Dr. Nelson: –they come after you.>>Sequoyah Guess: –the Navajos and their
skin walkers, you know, and so so I I believe that was a subject that touched, you know,
across the the nations.

local_offerevent_note September 11, 2019

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