Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Look at Setting in 2013 CCBC Data on Fiction by/about American Indians - US Publishers

On March 17, 2014 I published my analysis of 14 books on the Cooperative Center or Children's Books (CCBC). The set I analyzed are those published by publishers located in the United States. My findings?

  • With one exception (Eric Gansworth's If I Ever Get Out of Here), the books major publishing houses put out are flawed in one way or another. 
  • With one exception (a book I could not get), the books small publishers put out are ones that I can--and do--recommend. 


Today I am pointing to the time period for the books. In short, are they set in the past? Or are they set in the present?

My findings? Of the 13 books I looked at (remember there are 14 total but I could not get one, which means 13 for this look at time period):

When I looked at the set published by large publishers, I found:

  • Books set in the present: 1
  • Books set in the past: 5

When I looked at the set published by small publishers, I found:

  • Books set in the present: 4
  • Books set in the past: 2
  • Books set in the future 1

Another win, in other words for small publishers, for giving us books that portray American Indians as people of the present day.

Monday, April 14, 2014

CHUKFI RABBIT'S BIG, BAD BELLYACHE: A TRICKSTER TALE by Greg Rodgers

I smiled as I read Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale by Choctaw author, Greg Rodgers. Chukfi Rabbit, we learn as the story opens, is lazy. If I was still teaching kindergarten or first grade, I'm have fun saying this line from the first page with my students:
"Chukfi Rabbit is lay-zeeee." 

And I'd be sure to point out that Chukfi is the Choctaw word for rabbit!



In the story, that lazy rabbit doesn't really want to help his friends build a new house, but when he learns that freshly made butter is part of the meal they'll share, he agrees to help (not). Remember--he's lazy. He'll find a way not to do any work AND a way to eat that butter while the others work!

Let's back up, though, and talk about what Rodgers shares before and after the story.

In the author's note on the title page, he lets his readers know that this is a Choctaw story, and that he'll be using Choctaw words in it. He tells us what those words are:
Rabbit - Chukfi
Fox - Chula
Bear - Nita
Turtle - Luksi
Beaver - Kinta
Possum - Shukata
In the "Note to Storytellers and Readers" at the end, he tells us he came to tell this story, and he tells us there's Choctaws in two places (the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and, there's the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians) and that each one has its own government. I love that he uses that word: government. Chukfi Rabbit is a picture book and its audience is obviously young children. They differ in their ability to understanding the idea of nation or nationhood. For those who are ready, definitely take a minute to talk about Native Nations.

The story is delightful to read, and the illustrations by Leslie Stall Widener are terrific. They provide the visual clues that this is a Choctaw story. The clothes the characters wear accurately depict the sorts of items Choctaw's wear, from tops like the one Chukfi wears to the baseball cap that Kinta wears.

Of special note is the blurb on the back from Joy Harjo, author of The Good Luck Cat. She just won a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, by the way. Of Chukfi Rabbit, she says "This book belongs in every child's library and the libraries of some of us older story-lovers." I agree. If you can, order it from its publisher, Cinco Puntos Press. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

American Indian Graduation Rates and Stereotypical Images On and Off the Field

On May 31 of last year (2013), Education Week pointed to a new study of high school graduation rates that reported that the graduation rates of American Indian students had declined in three out of the five years the study examined. In 2010, Susan C. Faircloth and John W. Tippeconnic published a paper in UCLA Civil Rights Project that had similar findings. In their full report, they cite work by previous studies that tries to make sense of why this happens. Some factors are lack of empathy among teachers, irrelevant curriculum, lack of interest in school.

Anyone who follows Native news or political dimensions of sports news knows that for the last year, there has been an increase in the media coverage of the use of Native imagery by sports teams. Some news outlets have decided to stop using some team names in their reporting, and many are critical of Dan Snyder's misguided efforts to garner support from Native people for his entrenched use of "Redskins" as the name of his team.

In 2008, Stephanie Fryberg's research provided empirical data on the damage mascot imagery does to the self efficacy of Native students. Her research was of such import that the American Psychological Association issued statements calling for an end to their use. If her study was replicated with younger children, using images they see in picture books and fiction they read or are asked to read in school, I think the results would be the same.

I am hopeful that increased attention to mascots like the one used by the Washington DC pro football team, or the one used by the Cleveland pro baseball team will bring an end to their use of that imagery. With that increased awareness, I hope that Native and non-Native parents look with informed eyes at images of Native peoples in the books their children read for pleasure or study. The images that adults embrace are images they've seen since they were children. Some of those images were in movies, some on items in the grocery store, and many were in children's books.

On October 19, 2013, I wrote about the Washington DC pro football team and shared images from children's books that are similar to its mascot. Today, I'm showing images that resemble those of Cleveland's mascot.

Here is the "Chief Wahoo" currently in use alongside the image used from 1946 to 1950.

Source: Indian Country Today, June 29, 2013

Here's a page from the 1952 Little Golden Book of Disney's Peter Pan. Is the book on your shelf? Is the CD or DVD amongst your collection?



Syd Hoff's Little Chief came out in 1961. It is an easy reader published by Harper & Row in its "I Can Read" series:




In 1970, Random House published The Nose Book by Al Perkins in its "Bright and Early" books for Beginning Readers. With its image of the Cat In The Hat in the corner, you'd recognize the series right away. In the line-up of animals shown below, Perkins included an Indian. No doubt it seemed clever. But it was racist and wrong. In the 2003 edition with new illustrations, that image was not included. 




Those are older books, but I urge you to look on your shelves. If you held on to books from your childhood, the titles I pointed to above (or others with similar imagery) may be among them. You can do one of two things with them. Put them away and use them later with your child when you teach him or her about stereotyping, or, if you're not attached to the book for sentimental reasons, throw it out.

Here's some images from more recent books. You'll find a lot of them if you look in books about Thanksgiving.

This image is from More Snacks! A Thanksgiving Play. It is in the Ant Hill series of Ready-To-Read books published by Aladdin. Written by Joan Holub, illustrated by Will Terry, it came out in 2006.




Here's a character from the popular Amelia Bedelia books. This image is from Amelia Bedlia Talks Turkey by Herman Parish, illustrations by Lynn Sweat. It was published in 2008 by HarperCollins.



Such imagery is also in newer movies made for children, like last year's Free Birds. Here's turkey Indians from it:



The images I'm sharing in this post are a sample. You will find others. Too many others. They are not harmless. They reduce American Indians to detribalized caricatures or props in stories that misinform readers. They affirm stereotypical ideas, and are part of what I believe causes Native students to disengage from school.

As I noted above, I hope that the increased awareness of the harm in mascots used by sports teams can be brought to bear on children's books and media.

If you are getting rid of those books, replace them with better materials! At the top right of this page, you'll see links to lists of books that I recommend. Order them for your home library, and ask your library to get them, too. Give them as end-of-the-year gifts to your child's teachers!

Let's work together and get rid of stereotypical imagery of American Indians, on and off the playing field.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

CNN points to American Indians in Children's Literature

Greetings!

Are you here because of the article on young adult literature at the CNN website? If yes, I have many books to recommend, and many that I find problematic, too.

Look to the right of this page. See the links to lists of books I recommend? Click there to see the lists.

If you want to read in-depth about books I don't recommend, you can scroll down to the piece I wrote about Rush Limbaugh's book, or, Rosanne Parry's book, Written In Stone. 

If you're an author or book reviewer, or librarian who selects/weeds books, please spend time reading on my site. And come back when you have more time, too!

Debbie


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dan Snyder's "Original Americans" Foundation, or, WTF Dan Snyder?

Monday, March 24th, 2014, Dan Snyder--the owner of the Washington professional football team--announced that he has established a foundation called "The Original Americans Foundation."

I bet he likes the ring of the name he came up with: "Original Americans." The fact is, the "original Americans" were the Brits who lived in the 13 colonies who officially became Americans when they quit being whatever-they-called-themselves prior to the revolution.

The Indigenous peoples of this continent go by our own names. We do that now. And we did that in the 1700s. And the 1600s. And the 1500s...

Snyder visited reservations "quietly and respectfully, away from the spotlight" and learned how poor Native people are...

WTF, Dan Snyder?

With your letter, you thrust them into that spotlight! What happened to quiet respect?! Thanks to Snyder, I bet the people he named in his letter are in the hot seat, fielding calls from the media, asking them for comments.

So what did billionaire Dan Snyder do about all the poverty he saw? He helped buy a backhoe.

WTF, Dan Snyder?

With his millions, he could have bought the whole thing, right? What else did he do? He distributed over 3000 "cold weather coats" to several Plains tribes. I wonder if those jackets have his team's name on them?

Snyder says that he "took a survey of tribes across 100 reservations" so that he could have "an accurate assessment of the most pressing needs in each community" and came up with over forty projects his foundation is going to work on. In his letter, he quotes several Native people. None of them, however, endorse the name. Some say they're grateful for his help.

Why would they need his help in the first place?

Maybe because Congress hasn't acted on its treaty obligations. Snyder could do more for all sovereign nations if he'd put pressure on Congress to fulfill treaty obligations. He is a billionaire, after all. He could do a lot more, couldn't he?

Instead, he has chosen a shameful path. Visiting Native people, "quietly and respectfully" and then shamelessly using them for his own ends. Disgusting.

WTF, Dan Snyder?

Monday, March 24, 2014

April 23rd: American Indians in Children's Literature - Workshop in Spokane

If you are near Spokane, please register for a workshop I'll be doing at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane Washington.

Inland Northwest Council of Libraries invited me. Can't wait! Details here and in the flyer below. I'll be giving away copies of Tim Tingle's How I Became A Ghost and Eric Gansworth's If I Ever Get Out Of Here. 



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rush Limbaugh's RUSH REVERE AND THE BRAVE PILGRIMS

Rush Limbaugh's book, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims is a best seller. That status means he is on the Children's Book Council's (CBC) list of contenders for Author of the Year. People in children's literature were shocked when they saw his name on the list. Some suggested that the best selling status was not legitimate. The CBC responded with an open letter explaining why Limbaugh is on the list:
The Author of the Year and Illustrator of the Year finalists are determined solely based on titles’ performances on the bestseller lists – all titles in those categories are listed as a result of this protocol. Some of you have voiced concerns over the selection of finalists from bestseller lists, which you feel are potentially-manipulable indications of the success of a title. We can take this into consideration going forward, but cannot change our procedure for selecting finalists after the fact.  
The CBC letter goes on to say that children will choose the Author of the Year. Voting starts on March 25th. The CBC says that they have procedures in place to eliminate duplicate, fake, and adult votes.

Transcripts on Limbaugh's website state that his company, Two If By Tea, bought many copies of the book and sent them to schools. In this transcript of Limbaugh's conversation with a 10 year old girl from Cynthiana, Kentucky, she thanks him and Two If By Tea for sending books to her school. He asks how many books they got, and she replies "I think we got 60." He goes on to say "We sent like 10,000 or 15,000 books to schools as a charitable donation across the country." At the end of the transcript, he says they donated over 15,000 copies. Presumably, the other authors on the contender list for author of the year do not buy thousands of copies of their own books and donate them to schools.

Sales aside, what does the book actually say (I read an electronic copy of the book and cannot provide page numbers for the excerpts below)?

Limbaugh opens the book with "A Note from the Author" wherein he says that America is exceptional because "it is a land built on true freedom and individual liberty..." and that:
The sad reality is that since the beginning of time, most citizens of the world have not been free. For hundreds and thousands of years, many people in other civilizations and countries were servants to their kings, leaders, and government. It didn't matter how hard these people worked to improve their lives, because their lives were not their own. They often feared for their lives and could not get out from under a ruling class no matter how hard they tried. Many of these people lived and continue to live in extreme poverty, with no clean water, limited food, and none of the luxuries that we often take for granted. Many citizens in the world were punished, sometimes severely, for having their own ideas, beliefs, and hopes for a better future.

The United States of America is unique because it is the exception to all this. Our country is the first country ever to be founded on the principle that all human beings are created as free people. The Founders of this phenomenal country believed all people were born to be free as individuals. 

Nowhere in that note does he reference slavery of American Indians or African Americans in the United States, pre- or post-1777. The word "slave" does appear in his book, though, when his protagonist, "Rush Revere" and two students who time travel with him to 1621 meet Squanto. The two students are a white boy named Tommy and a Native American girl named Freedom.

When Limbaugh's Squanto speaks, he does so with perfect English. Why? Because, Squanto explains, he had been kidnapped and taken to Spain. He says that Bradford's God rescued him from slavery in Spain when Catholic friars helped him escape.

See that? Limbaugh tells us that Spain is one of those places where people could not be free. Slaves in the United States of America? Nope. Not according to Limbaugh. The way that he presents Squanto's enslavement fits with his exceptionalism narrative. How, I wonder, are parents and teachers dealing with that narrative? At Betsy Bird's blog with School Library Journal, Jill Dotter says (in a comment) she is a Libertarian, and that she bought Limbaugh's book for her son. He loves it. She doesn't note any problems with the book. I'll post a question and see what she says.

Squanto continues, saying that he shows his gratitude to Bradford's God by serving his "new friend and holy man, William Bradford." Limbaugh would have us believe that Squanto was loyal to Bradford. The facts are otherwise. Squanto was an opportunist who played one side against the other for his own benefit (see Debo, A History of the Indians of the United States; Jennings, The Founders of America, and Salisbury, Manitou and Providence: Indians and Europeans, 1500-1643.)

In the Prologue, Limbaugh introduces his readers to his buddy, "Rush Revere" who is a history teacher from the twenty-first century at a school where they hire only the "smartest and most educated" teachers. In Limbaugh's world, apparently, it is smart to completely ignore slavery as part of US history.

"Freedom"
Of interest to me is the character, Freedom, in Limbaugh's book. Mr. Revere loves her name. She has long black hair. One day she wears a blue feather, the next day she wears a yellow one. Other students don't like her, but Mr. Revere is intrigued by her. She has dark eyes and a determined stare. She speaks "from somewhere deep within." From her grandfather, she learned how to track animals. She and Mr. Revere's horse, Liberty, can read each other's minds. Liberty can also talk, which I gather from reviews, is what children like about the book. Freedom explains that he must be a spirit animal, that "there is an Indian legend about animals that can talk to humans." She wondered if Mr. Revere was "a great shaman" when she saw Revere and Liberty enter the time travel portal. (Note: Screen capture of Freedom added at 5:30 PM on 3/23/2014. Mr. Revere gazes at her hair, thinking "It was silky smooth, as if she brushed it a thousand times.")

What is behind Limbaugh's creation of a Native American girl named Freedom?

Later in the story, we learn that her mother (we never learn of a specific tribe for Freedom or her mother) named her Freedom because she was born on the fourth of July. Let's think about that for a minute. There are obvious factual errors in the book related to Limbaugh's presentation of slavery. With his character, Freedom, we see how fiction can be manipulated in the service of a particular ideology. Limbaugh is creating a modern day Native girl as someone who holds the same views as he does. Packed into, and around, his Native character are many stereotypes of Native peoples. Does he cast her in that way so that it isn't only White people who view history as he does?

I think so. He casts Squanto and Samoset that way, too.

As noted earlier, Squanto is in Limbaugh's book. So is "Somoset" (usually spelled Samoset). Both speak English. In the note at the end of the book, Limbaugh lists William Bradford, Myles Standish, William Brewster, Squanto, and Samoset (spelled right this time) as brave, courageous, ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things. Remember how Limbaugh presented Squanto as "serving" Bradford?

Massasoit, who is also part of Limbaugh's story, is not amongst Limbaugh's list of brave and courageous people. Maybe because he spoke "gibberish" instead of English. There's more I could say about Limbaugh's depiction of Massasoit, but I'll set that aside for now. The point is, Limbaugh's book is a factual misrepresentation of history that Limbaugh is donating to schools. How are teachers using it? I think we ought to know.

I will not be surprised if Limbaugh wins the contest when kids vote. They seem to like the horse. Some people seem to think it doesn't matter what kids read, as long as they read. Others, of course, agree with Limbaugh's political views and, no doubt, pass those views on to their children.

As CBC's open letter indicates, they will be revising their criteria. With Limbaugh on the short list for Author of the Year, their credibility is suddenly in question. I had concerns with CBC prior to this when I saw books that stereotype American Indians on CBC Diversity's bookshelf at Goodreads. Amongst those books is Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins, which is one of the best selling children's books of all time. It is fraught with problems in the ways that O'Dell presents his Native character. I asked that it be removed, but that could not be done. As some have said, what I call a stereotype, someone else views as a role model.

Perhaps Limbaugh's book will push CBC to think more critically about the distinctions between quality, viewpoint, and quantity--especially as census data points to the rapid change in majority/minority statistics and the country tries to recognize all of its citizens.

Below are the notes I took as I read Limbaugh's book. I invite your  thoughts on the book, what I said about it, what I left unsaid... Please use the comment option below to submit your thoughts. And--another 'thank you' to K8 for giving me permission in January to post her excerpts/comments about Limbaugh's book.




Notes I took as I read Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims

When chapter 1 opens, the principal is telling a classroom of honors history students that their teacher has to take leave. But, he reminds them, their school has the smartest and most educated teachers, and, well, Mr. Revere (remember, in this book, "Mr. Revere" is Rush Limbaugh), the substitute is among the smartest and most educated.

He starts some banter with the students, and notices a girl in the very last row, in the corner:
Her dark hair had a blue feather clipped in it. She wore jeans with a hole in one knee, but I could tell it wasn't a fashion statement. I looked at the seating chart and noticed the girl's name, Freedom. What an unusual name. Personally, I couldn't help but be a fan!
He brings his horse into the classroom. The students gather round, but Freedom hangs back, "unsure of whether she was welcome to join them in their new discovery." Another student, Elizabeth, tells her not to get too close, because the "horse might smell you and run away." Freedom goes back to her desk. Mr. Revere sets up a way for students to watch him and Liberty time travel, and takes off, heading to the portal. Just as he does that, he sees that he was being watched, by Freedom.

Mr. Revere talks with William Bradford and his wife, before they set off from the Netherlands. Revere returns to the present and asks the students what they think of Bradford choosing not to take his little boy on a "death-defying voyage across a tempestuous sea." Freedom, with "dark eyes" and a "determined stare" just like Bradford's, raises her hand and speaks "from somewhere deep within" saying
"I could tell they loved their son, more than anything. They only wanted what was best for him. It took courage for the Pilgrims to leave their homes and travel into the unknown. But it takes more courage to travel into the unknown and leave someone you love behind."


Chapter 3

Freedom and Tommy stay after class (Tommy got in trouble with the principal). Revere thinks Freedom stayed behind because she knows he's doing the time traveling. Liberty (the horse) seems to have disappeared, but Freedom says:
"Liberty, he's still in the room," she calmly said. "I can smell him."
Revere thinks Freedom has a gift. Revere decides to tell Freedom and Tommy that Liberty can make himself invisible, but Freedom says he doesn't disappear, that he just blends into his surroundings. Revere wonders why Freedom could see him, and she says
"I've had lots of practice tracking animals with my grandfather."
Because Liberty can talk, Freedom says:
"he is more than a horse. He must be a spirit animal. There is an Indian legend about animals that can talk to humans."
Revere asks Freedom if she saw he and Liberty jump through the time machine portal earlier that day, and she says:
"Yes, I did. At first I wasn't sure what I saw. As I said, I though Liberty must have been a spirit animal. Maybe you were a great shaman. i did not know. But I'm glad to know the truth."
She leaves, and Tommy and Rush ride Liberty back in time to the Mayflower where they meet Myles Standish. When it is time to leave, Liberty is sleeping. They wake him with an apple and he asks if he missed anything important:
"Nothing too important," I said, still feeding him apples. "But it's time to jump forward to the end of the Mayflower voyage. There's a new land to discover! There are Indians to befriend and a new colony to build. And a celebration to be had called Thanksgiving!
When the ship captain tells them they're going to land at Cape Cod, Tommy wonders if Indians will be in the woods. Myles Standish says:
"Yes, probably Indians," Myles said. "We will do what we must to protect ourselves. We have swords and muskets and cannons if need be."


Chapter 6

Tommy and Revere and Liberty return to the  classroom where Tommy tells the principal all he's learning from Revere. The next day, Tommy and Freedom are waiting for Revere at school:
She was wearing a faded yellow T-shirt and faded jeans. It was hard not look at her black hair. It was silky smooth, as if she brushed it a thousand times. This morning there was a yellow feather clpped in it.
She wants to time travel with them. Revere has winter clothes for her and Tommy because the trip will be to wintertime. Freedom says "I'm a wimp when it comes to the snow." Earlier in the book, Freedom and Liberty started talking to each other without speaking. They can hear each other's thoughts. Tommy asks about it. Revere says:
It's apparent that Freedom has a gift. How long have you been able to communicate with animals?"

"Since I was eight, I think," said Freedom. "My grandfather says that animals can feel what we feel, especially fear. Our emotions are powerful. He trained me to use emotions to speak to the mind of an animal."
Before they leave, Revere tells them it will be cold, and that the Pilgrims were "even attacked by Indians." Freedom replies by talking about the cold, and Tommy says:
"Wait," Tommy said wide-eyed. "Did you say they were attacked by Indians? I thought the Indians were their friends. How many Pilgrims died?"
Rush tells him that none died, and that "friendly Indians" came later. Liberty says he hopes they had friendly horses, too. Elizabeth (another student who happens to be the principal's daughter) shows up. Her and Freedom get into a fight when Elizabeth takes a photo of Freedom dressed as a Pilgrim and says she's going to share it. Elizabeth storms off.

Revere asks Freedom if she can ride a horse. She sprints up to, and jumps up onto Liberty's back. They travel to 1620, Plymouth Plantation. Revere approaches Bradford and Standish, telling them that he and Tommy had been out exploring and
"were fortunate to come across a young Native American girl riding a horse. Strange, I know. But the girl took a liking to us and helped us find our way back to you!"
Bradford tells Revere that Myles and his men had survived an Indian attack, that Mrs. Standish had died, and many others are sick. He also says they found a place to build their town
"When we arrived we found barren cornfields with the land strangely cleared for our homes."
Revere asks if someone once lived there, and Bradford says "Perhaps" but that it has been deserted for years. They talk of building a fort. Revere says he remembers building forts in his living room, using blankets and chairs, and using Nerf guns to keep out his annoying little sisters. Smiling, Standish says those guns probably wouldn't be effective for "savage Indians."

Revere heads off up a hill. Tommy and Freedom approach, on Liberty. Tommy says "We saw Indians!" and Rush asks 'what' and 'where' and 'how many.'

Freedom says there were two scouts, watching, and that they wore heavy pelts and furs and were only curious. They time travel to 1621.

Chapter 7

They arrive in 1621 and see a deer nearby. Tommy asks Freedom if she can talk to it. She stares intently at it, and it approaches then. She walked over to it. All around them are tree stumps. The Pilgrims had cut down trees to make their homes. In the Pilgrim town they meet up with Bradford. Revere introduces Freedom:
"This is Freedom," I said. "We've spent the last couple of months teaching Freedom the English language. She's an exceptional learner."
She replies:
"Thank you," said Freedom slowly. "Please excuse my grammar as I have only just learned to speak your language. I was born on the fourth of July, so my mother felt like it was the perfect name for a special day."
Bradford asks what the significance of that day is, and Freedom realizes the Pilgrims don't know about that day yet. Before Revere or Freedom can come up with an explanation, a bell rings. The bell means Indians. Bradford points to a lone Indian walking towards a brook by the Pilgrim settlement. Bradford tells the men not to shoot:
"Do not fire our muskets! The Indian walks boldly but he does not look hostile. He is only one and we are many. There is no need to fear. God is with us."
The Indian man has black hair and no facial fair, but
the biggest difference was the fact that the Indian was practically naked. A piece of leather covered his waist but his legs and chest were bare.
He approached the group, smiled, saluted, and said "Welcome, Englishmen!" The wind catches his hair. He surveys the group and sees Freedom's hair moving in the wind, too. He stares at her for a minute and then talks to Bradford, saying "Me, Somoset, friend to Englishmen." Bradford asks how he learned English, and he replies
"Me learn English from fishing men who come for cod" 
and then tells them that the harbor is called Patuxet. He says
"Death come to this harbor. Great sickness. Much plague. Many Pokanokets die. No more to live here."
Bradford asks if it was the plague, and Somoset replies
"Yes," said Somoset. "Many, many die. Much sadness. And you. Your people. Much die from cold and sickness. Massasoit knows. Waiting. Watching."
Bradford asks who Massasoit is:
"Massasoit great and powerful leader of this land. He watching you. He knows your people dying. He lives south and west in place called Pokanoket. Two-day journey."
Bradford asks Somoset to let Massasoit know that they (Pilgrims) are his friends. Standish says they have guns, bullets, armor, and cannons, and that they "are here to stay" and hope they can be friends. Samoset says
"Me tell Massasoit. Bring Squanto. He speak better English."

Standish asks who Squanto is, and Samoset says
"Squanto translate for Massasoit. Squanto speak like English man. Help Massasoit and William Bradford together in peace."
Liberty and Revere marvel at what just happened. Liberty wonders about trust, and Revere says Liberty watches too many movies, and that Bradford relied on God's grace to protect them in rough waters and was doing it now, too. Tommy and Freedom offer Somoset a plate of food. Before he takes it,
he reached out to touch the yellow feather in her hair.
She takes it off and offers it to him. He leans toward her and she clips it in his hair. Bradford and Standish wonder if it is safe for him to stay with them overnight. They ask Revere for advice and he tells them that they can't afford to offend Massasoit, and so they agree to let him stay the night. Tommy wonders if Somoset is trustworthy, and Revere tells him that, from everything he'd read, Somoset and Squanto became friends with William, that they realized they could help each other.

Revere, Tommy, Freedom and Liberty are hungry, so time travel to a 50s diner. As they eat, Freedom talks about how hard Pilgrim life was, and Revere tells them that many Pilgrims starved. They return to 1621.

The bell rings and they see five Indians approaching the settlement, led by Somoset, still wearing the yellow father. Squanto steps forward:
"I am Squanto," he said. "I used to live here in Patuxet Harbor. That was many years ago. I've been sent by Massasoit, the sachem and leader of this land. He permits me to come and speak with you. He will come soon. He is eager to meet you."
Bradford asks why his English is so good.
The ease in which Squanto spoke English was unnerving. It didn't seem natural. And yet he was a perfect gentleman as he stood there in his leather loincloth and bare chest.
He doesn't answer, instead talking about sharing of food, and friendship. Somoset gets ready to leave, but before he does, he looks around for Freedom and then gifs her a leather strap with a bear claw attached to it.


Samoset leaves, and Freedom asks Squanto why he and his people left Patuxet Harbor. He replies
"I have heard about the girl they call Freedom," said Squanto. "The girl with midnight hair who speaks perfect English."
She blushes, and, he tells her:
"Seven years ago, I was kidnapped and taken from Patuxet Harbor, never to see my family or loved ones again. I was put on a ship and sailed across the ocean to a new world called Spain. Eventually I sailed to England and learned to speak like you do. Finally I had the chance to travel back to my homeland. I was eager to see my family, my parents and brothers and sisters. But when I returned, there was nothing. Everyone was gone. I soon learned that the plague, a great sickness, had swept over Patuxet Harbor and killed my people."
He pauses, looking into the distance. Freedom and William express condolences. Squanto blinks and a tear rolls down his cheek. He tells them they are kind, and that many of their people died, too, and that the place has "great sorrow" for both Indian and Englishman. But together, he says, they will change that. He will show them how to plant corn.

Revere, Tommy, Freedom, and Liberty travel back to the school where, he thinks, Elizabeth is like Massasoit, that she is "the leader or sachem" of the school, and that students revered or feared her. She watched and waited for signs of weakness in her classmates, or any opportunity to send a message that she was in control of the school. Tommy approaches Revere with a letter that Bradford wanted him to give to Revere. It is an invitation to the "very first Thanksgiving! What an honor!"

Revere, Tommy, Freedom, and Liberty go the the first Thanksgiving. Freedom says "Look at all the Indians." Bradford introduces Revere to "the Indian king, Massasoit" who smiled "and spoke a language that was complete gibberish."

Squanto tells Revere he has a gift for Freedom, and asks permission to give it to her. Revere says it is fine, and that Squanto has been a good friend to Bradford. Bradford says they learned a lot from Squanto, and that
"We believe he's been sent from God as an instrument to help us grow and prosper."

"You are too kind, William," said Squanto. "God, as you say, rescued me from slavery in Spain. The Catholic friars, holy men, helped me escape. They risked their lives to free me so that I could return to my native land. I have much to be grateful for. And I choose to show my gratitude by serving my new friend and holy man, William Bradford."
Later, Revere hears loud shrieks and pounding drums
I turned to see Indians dancing around a fire ring, their faces streaked with paint. Both Indians and Pilgrims smiled as they watched the performing Pokanokets twirl and bend and wave their arms as they sang and chanted to the drums.
They stopped after a while and other Indians whooped and hollered for more. Revere finds Tommy and Freedom. She is wearing a
deerskin dress trimmed with fur and matching moccasins. She also wore a necklace of shimmering shells and two hawklike feathers in her hair.
She tells Revere that Squanto gave her the dress and that
"He said I should be proud of who I am and that I shouldn't care what people think of me. He knows a lot."
The book closes with a note from the author, where Limbaugh writes that Bradford, Standish, Brewster, Squanto, and Samoset were brave and courageous ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things.