Bio

James Bruchac was raised in the Adirondack foothills town of Greenfield Center, New York. A citizen of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation, and eldest son of Abenaki author and storyteller Dr Joseph Bruchac III, James grew up immersed in the natural world, storytelling and native culture.

photo credit: Eric Jenks

AUTHOR

Mr Bruchac signing books during an author visit in 2018

James has both authored and co-authored books for all ages. Children’s books include How Chipmunk Got His Stripes (Dial), Turtle’s Race with Beaver, Rabbit’s Snow Dance (Dial) When the Chenoo Howls (Walker), Be Good, a True Cautionary Tale (Bowman Books) and Native American Games and Stories (Fulcrum) and The Stories He Tells, The Story of Joseph Bruchac. General public titles include Scats and Tracks of the Northeast, Scats and Tracks of the Southeast, and Scats and Tracks of the Mid-Atlantic (Falcon), and The Girl Who Helped Thunder, an anthology of Native American tales (Sterling). James is a member and former president of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Upcoming releases include Kids in the Woods (Bowman Books), Trails and Tales of The Grizzly, and Trails and Tales of The Wolf (fulcrum)

Sharing stories during on of the annual Scary Story nights at Ndakinna
photo creditt: Eric Jenks

STORYTELLER

Engaging students with a traditional drum song during an author/storytelling visit in 2019

Building on his families tradition, for the past thirty years, James has shared stories at hundreds of schools and libraries across the country. Whether telling an interactive animal story or a monster tale, he keeps listeners of all ages on the edge of their seats as well as part of the action. James has performed at many festivals, museums including the Smithsonian Discovery Theater (Washington DC), the Corn Island Storytelling Festival (KY), Noble Tales Festival and the Connor Prairie Museum (IN), Indian Summer and Riverbend Festivals (WI), The Boston Children’s Museum and the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum (MA), the Hudson River Clearwater Festival, the Noteworthy Indian Museum, and The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake (NY). James and other members of his family were featured on the PBS special Adirondack Storytellers (WMHT/PBS).

WILDERNESS SURVIVAL & INDIGENOUS TECHNOLOGIES INSTRUCTOR


Making a bow drill (fire by friction) fire for a group of 2nd grade students

James has conducted tracking and wilderness survival-based research in all corners of the United States and Lower Canada. He has also traveled to places such as West Africa and Central America and continues his work with John Stokes and The Tracking Project in Corales, New Mexico. James is a graduate of the Tracking Project’s “Nurturing The Roots Community Mentor Program. Mr. Bruchac’s survival based programs include a variety of learning experiences: primitive and modern survival techniques, animal tracking, appreciation of the natural world, and indigenous uses of natural resources. James has worked with numerous schools and organizations including The National Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife, Cornell Outdoor Education, Syracuse University Forestry School, Environmental Education Council of Ohio, SUNY Albany, Skidmore College, Miami University Ohio Outdoor Pursuit Center, Iowa Conservation Education Council, The National Parks Service, YMCA of the Rockies and many others. James’ wilderness prowess has also been featured on such television shows as WILD T.V on PBS, RAY MEARS ULTIMATE SURVIVAL GUIDE, Travel Channel and the Versus 25 HARDEST ANIMALS TO HUNT. James has also appeared as a survival consultant for numerous local and National news stations including the FOX & FRIENDS MORNING SHOW.

Working on a wigwam frame in 2021 with brother Jesse Bruchac. Brother Jesse, along with being a fellow storyteller, is also a well known instructor of the Abenaki Language.

Grizzly track cast Beaver Lake Yellowstone National Park 2008

ANIMAL TRACKER & NATURALIST


With his introductions to the nature coming from traditional legends, including a few now featured in his books, James has spent most of his life enjoying, and adding to his knowledge of the natural world, especially animals. Beyond his work with The Tracking Project, in order to improve his knowledge of the science of tracking, he has made many trips to Wyoming and Montana to do field research and training in advanced – professional level tracking with world renowned tracker and naturalist, Dr. James Halfpenny. During these trips, he has tracked bison, elk, wolves, mountain lions, grizzly bears, and many other animals both big and small. Since their first introduction at a National Wildlife Summit in Estes Park Colorado in 1996, James Bruchac and Dr. Halfpenny have co-authored three books (Scats & Tracks Of The Northeast,Scats& Tracks Of The Southeast and Scats & Tracks of The Mid-Atlantic). James’ tracking skills have also been featured in National Geographic Adventure Magazine.

James is a member of The International Society of Professional Trackers (ISPT). Over the years Mr Bruchac has trained people of all ages and levels of expertise from Kindergarten students to professional biologist and wildlife officials. Due to their combined dedication to the education of others about the natural world, in March of 2005 James and his father Joseph received a National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award. Currently Mr is working on a new series of books for Fulcrum Publishing focusing on an interdisciplinary look at various North American Mammals, starting with books focusing on two of his favorite animals, grizzly bears and wolves.

James on a set of fresh black bear tracks (2021) in Jay Vermont

NDAKINNA EDUCATION CENTER

6th grade field trip participants in 2021

For over thirty years James has worked with his family’s non-for-profit business, The Greenfield Review Literary Center and Press and their North American Native Authors Catalog. In 1998 James formed a new division of the Greenfield Review, The Ndakinna Education Center and Nature Preserve, offering hands-on field trips to his family’s 80+ acre nature preserve and educational center focusing on Native American history & culture as well as environmental education.

ACADEMICS / ATHLETICS

NEBJJ/ Alliance instructors with Joseph Bruchac (left) and Jesse Bruchac (far right)

James studied exercise science and English at Ithaca College, and has a degree in American Studies from Skidmore College. Active in both high school and college athletics, Mr. Bruchac was a member of the 1988 Ithaca College National Championship football team and went on to be an Empire League Semi-pro All-star defensive end in 1991. He has studied martial arts since the age of ten, currently holding the rank of Shihan (5th degree black belt) in Kyokushin Karate as well as being a black belt in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu. Father Joseph, and brother Jesse also holding black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. All three working together to run Alliance NEBJJ out of the Ndakinna facility.

Generations. James in the Adirondack high peaks with daughter Ava Rae in 2019. Just like Dad, also a lover of stories and the natural world.