Thursday, September 21, 2023

A Remarkable Headline

Typically, AICL looks at books for young people. Today, I (Jean) am inspired to do something a little different: a close reading of a headline about a book for young people. Its origin is Alaska's News Source, (KTUU/KYUS in Anchorage) September 17, 2023. Here's a screen shot, and the whole story is here. (To view the video, you have to wait a bit to skip an advertisement.)

Context: The woman holding the book in the photo is Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson. I met her when Debbie and I attended Loonsong Turtle Island in 2018. She's from the North Slope of what's currently known as Alaska. 

It's a remarkable headline for several reasons. Let's go piece by piece. And you should know that I'm learning as I go, and I hope someone will tell me if I get something wrong! The headline reads, 

Iñupiaq author and illustrator's book "Eagle Drums" sells out at book signing

1) Iñupiaq... That's not a word often seen in headlines where I am, in what's sometimes known as The Lower 48. Here's what the Alaska Native Language Center website says about it:

The name "Iñupiaq," meaning "real or genuine person" (inuk 'person' plus -piaq 'real, genuine'), is often spelled "Iñupiaq," particularly in the northern dialects. It can refer to a person of this group ("He is an Iñupiaq") and can also be used as an adjective ("She is an Iñupiaq woman"). The plural form of the noun is "Inupiat," referring to the people collectively ("the Inupiat of the North Slope").

So, the person who's the focus of the photo, the headline, and the story is from the homelands of the Inupiat -- an Iñupiaq woman. It's significant that the headline-writer didn't use a generic term like "Alaska Native." Eagle Drums is a specifically Iñupiaq book.

2) and illustrator's...  Not only did Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson get her story published -- she also made the art for it! That's not unheard-of in child lit circles, of course, but it's still a bit out of the ordinary. And the pool of Iñupiaq author-illustrators is small indeed. There's a chance she's the only one. 

Check out her art and info about her other publications on her website, which features the covers of two anthologies that include short stories she wrote.

3) ... book Eagle Drums ... This middle grade novel came out just this month (September 2023) from Macmillan, which has also published Turtle Mountain Ojibwe author Carole Lindstrom's We Are Water Protectors (illus. by Caldecott Medal winner Michaela Goade, Tlingit/Haida). Here's what the publisher says about Eagle Drums:

A magical realistic middle grade debut about the origin story of the Iñupiaq Messenger Feast, a Native Alaskan tradition.
As his family prepares for winter, a young, skilled hunter must travel up the mountain to collect obsidian for knapping—the same mountain where his two older brothers died. When he reaches the mountaintop, he is immediately confronted by a terrifying eagle god named Savik. Savik gives the boy a choice: follow me or die like your brothers. What comes next is a harrowing journey to the home of the eagle gods and unexpected lessons on the natural world, the past that shapes us, and the community that binds us.

4) ... sells out at book signing. Let's sit with that for a moment. When a book sells out at a signing event, it's because readers have shown up for it. That's evidence of a demand for the material. For far too long, we would hear that there just wasn't a market for Indigenous stories told by Indigenous people. Non-Indigenous writers were the ones who could tell --and sell -- stories about Native lives. But as the headline suggests, people were at this event, eager to buy a new book by an Indigenous (specifically Iñupiaq) author, and to have her sign it!

Much more could be said about the event, about Eagle Drums, and about Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson herself, but I came here to share a close look at that unusual headline. 

Here's what the book cover looks like. Take a close look at the art -- it tells readers just enough about the story to invite them in. And I think it's gorgeous!

We hope you'll get your own copy of Eagle Drums, read it, share it -- and if the book tour comes to your area, ask the author to sign it in person! 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Debbie--have you seen TREE IN THE TRAIL or PADDLE-TO-THE-SEA by Holling Clancy Holling?

Every once in awhile I get an email or comment asking if I've seen a book by Holling Clancy Holling. It might be Tree in the Trail (published in 1942) but more often, people ask about Paddle-to-the-Sea. It came out in 1941 and won a Caldecott Honor. 

Can a book with Native content, published 80+ years ago, be used in classrooms today?

This post is intended to help teachers (or anyone who is considering a book's Native content) make a decision about the book they're considering. 

First, what is your goal? I'm going to assume that you're trying to provide children with stories that accurately depict Native peoples. That means providing the name of a specific nation. That means a story that is tribally specific. If it is about an "Indian" or "American Indian" or "Native American" or "Indigenous" character, that story is not tribally specific and there's likely to be a hodgepodge of content that is not educational. An example of a hodgepodge is a story about an Indian who lives in a tipi and next to it, a totem pole. 

Second, who is the author? If you're trying to give students an authentic story, it is important to know if the author is of the particular Native Nation or community the story is about. If they are not and if they did not live there, what are their sources for creating the story? Sometimes you'll find that information in an author's note, but older books generally do not include that information. 

Let's use Paddle-to-the-Sea to answer these questions. 

Holling Clancy Holling wrote and illustrated Paddle-to-the-Sea. He is not Native. Now let's look at his book. 

Chapter 1 is "How Paddle-to-the-Sea Came To Be." The first sentence is "The Canadian wilderness was white with snow." The second paragraph begins with sounds. Here's the rest of that paragraph: 
'Geese! cried the Indian boy standing in the door of the cabin. 'They come back too soon. I must hurry to finish my Paddle Person!'
"the Indian" is all we're told about him. We are not told the name of his Tribal Nation or community. We do learn that the "Paddle Person" he is making is an Indian he's named Paddle-to-the-Sea. The carved Indian is placed in a foot-long birchbark canoe the Indian boy has made. It is then placed on a snow bank. When "Sun Spirit" shines on it, it will melt and be carried to a river, and then to the Great Lakes, on adventures the boy wold like to have. The rest of the book is about its travels. 

We're given a name for the sun: "Sun Spirit." With the word "Spirit" in there, it takes on something that sounds like it is part of a Native peoples' spiritual teachings, but is it? 

I see that there are curricular materials available. The book has appeal because of the Great Lakes. It provides teachers with a way to teach science. 

But should it be used that way when we know the Native content is not tribally specific? My answer to that question is no. What do you think? 

Friday, September 01, 2023

A Storywalk Featuring Nancy Cooper's BIINDIGEN! AMIK SAYS WELCOME

In the past few months, I've done several blog posts about Native people or their books or art being part of what the public sees when they're out and about. I'm delighted to do another of those posts today. 

As I scrolled through social media yesterday I saw this photo and did one of those "WAIT!" exclamations in my head. I recognized the book on the storywalk sign immediately. I wanted more information!

The book on the sign is Biindigen! Amik Says Welcome. Written by Nancy Cooper (member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation) and illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley (Ojibwe, member of Wasauksing First Nation)  here's the cover of the book on that sign:

Storywalks are one way of bringing visibility to books. This particular storywalk is in the City of Vaughan in Ontario, Canada at Sugarbush Heritage Park. The Vaughan Public Library has a blog post about the storywalks, and says this about Biindigen!:
This educational picture book follows Amik the beaver and her little sister Nishiime as they prepare to meet their cousins, while teaching young readers about beavers and their role in the Canadian environment.
I'd add that anyone who reads this book has the chance to learn some Native words. Regular readers of American Indians in Children's Literature know that I especially love seeing the word 'nation' in books for children. That's here, too, in the final pages. 

Visibility! It matters. If you do storywalks for your community, please add books by Native writers. If you need suggestions let me know! I'm glad to help.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

A Request Regarding Records of Native Students at Boarding Schools

Those of you who follow Native news know that Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, launched an investigation into boarding schools for Native children. It included finding out how many schools there were, what kind (some were mission schools run by churches), burial sites at the schools, and identification of children went to them. The first report came out in May of 2022. 

It is crucial that these investigations be done. 

It is also crucial that writers and educators be respectful regarding the findings of those investigations. More and more records are being released. Today, news media indicates that databases will be made available. The Washington Post says the digital archives will give "easier access to historians and families still searching for information about their loved ones." 

In the 1990s, I read a book by Ann Rinaldi. It was part of the Dear America series. Set at one of the schools, the ways she used actual names and stories she found in historical archives, was horrific. Utterly disgusting. It was painful to read. 

As more records are becoming available, I am making this request that non-Native writers refrain from mining the archives to create characters and stories. I understand that you may view yourself as an ally but you may inadvertently tread into areas that are far from healed. You may inflict further harm onto Native communities. Leave our stories alone. 

My grandmother (my dad's mother) went to one of the schools in the early 1900s. She told me some things when I was a kid but she didn't talk much about her time there. Did she keep painful things back? Do the records have details in them that she did not share with me? I don't know. My mother's father was Hopi. He also went to one of the schools and met the woman he'd eventually marry. I don't have any stories from them at all. He never talked about it and she died when my mother was a little girl. I do not want an Ann Rinaldi to dig into their records and use their names and information in the records to create a story. 

And so I make my request. Leave our stories alone.

I know--some of you are going to be thinking about First Amendment and freedom of speech and all those things that you think mean you can do anything you want. In fact, you can and many of you have already done such things. You may mock my request as naive. If that's you, not much anyone could say would help you be sensitive. But if you're one who wants to be respectful, I hope my request is helpful. 

I'm not speaking for every Native person. For certain I am asking you to leave stories about my own ancestors alone. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

It's Marcie Rendon!

Some time back I did a series of posts about Native illustrators whose work was being used in unusual ways -- like the city bus that features the work of Marlena Myles. 

Today on social media, I saw a photograph of a billboard. I paused and exclaimed "That's Marcie!" Here's what I saw: 

Photo credit: American Indian Community Housing Organization

Marcie is holding a copy of Sinister Graves which is the third book in her mystery series that feature a young woman named Cash Blackbear. 

The photo was shared on social media by the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) in Duluth Minnesota. They organization's post said:
"We can sing our hearts out, tell our stories, paint our visions." Quote by Marcie Rendon, White Earth Band of Ojibwe Nation tribal member and award winning author, poet, and screenplay writer. This billboard is now up on display next to AICHO's building in Duluth on 2nd Street for four weeks.

Miigwech, Marcie Rendon, for sharing your Indigenous stories that remind us who we are as a people, for advocating for women and issues that impact Indigenous peoples, and for all that you write!

To find more out about Marcie Rendon:

Miigwech to McKnight Foundation for funding this and AICHO's Cultural Arts themed billboards and helping AICHO to promote, uplift and showcase Indigenous authors and artists.

I met Marcie at least ten years ago and have been reading what she writes since then. Below I'll share covers of some of her books. Go to her site and you'll find more she's written. When I read what she writes, I feel the stories. What I mean is that I know Native people like the ones she has in her books. Their good moments and the not-good ones, too. There's an intangible quality in her stories that may be possible because of her good heart. 

Let's start here. Listen to Marcie in this video:

Now, some of her books! This is her non-fiction picture book, Powwow Summer with photographs by Cheryl Walsh Bellville. 

Read her short story, "Wonder and Worry," in this middle-grade anthology:

I adore her story "What's an Indian Woman to Do?" in When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through -- an anthology edited by Joy Harjo that should be in every English lit course in high schools across the country.

And here's the Cash Blackbear series. They're for adult readers but I wouldn't hesitate to share them with older teens. 

Look for and read her books. And if you're in Duluth, snap a photo of the billboard and share it on your social media accounts. And tag me if you can (I'm debreese on Twitter). 

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Highly Recommended: ROCK YOUR MOCS, written by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

Rock Your Mocs
Written by Laurel Goodluck
Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight
Published by Heartdrum
Published in 2023
Reviewer: Debbie Reese
Review Status: Highly Recommended

Several years ago on Native social media, I saw people talking about plans to wear their moccasins for "Rock Your Mocs" day. On that day, we took photos of our mocs and shared them joyously in a way that radiated an Indigenous solidarity vibe (I'm borrowing that phrase from page 12 of Cynthia Leitich Smith's new book, Harvest House.) I felt a tremendous lift, scrolling through my timelines and looking at the many different kinds of moccasins people were wearing. If you want to see what I mean, search #RockYourMocs on social media. 

A couple of years ago when I saw that Laurel Goodluck and Madelyn Goodnight were doing a picture book about Rock Your Mocs day, I was absolutely delighted! Turning that day into a picture book is brilliant! It is one way to show readers that Native peoples are people of tribal nations located across the continent, and that our names, languages, histories, stories, songs homes--and clothing--are unique.

Just look at that cover and you'll see another huge plus. Those are Native kids of the present day.  The art is gorgeous, the idea is brilliant and the opportunity to know us for who we are: outstanding! 

When you start reading you'll come across the names of twelve different tribal nations, which means that children of those nations have mirrors that reflect who they are. Books as mirrors is a metaphor put forth by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop in 1991 (read her article and you'll understand the metaphor). 

Those twelve? Colville, Hidatsa, Hopi-Tewa, Inupiaq, Little Shell Chippewa, Menominee, Navajo, Ojibwe, Osage, Seminole, Tuscarora, and Yurok. 

Goodluck's text is ebullient. Here's a look at the left-side of one page. "Indigenous Nations." " cities and towns..." and "We're stylin' today as we Rock Our Mocs!" All of that is terrific. And the decision to put "Rock Our Mocs" in a larger font size than the rest of the text works so well!

Here and there you'll see Native words. On one page, Ajuawak (he's the Ojibwe child) is standing at a chalkboard on which someone has written Ojibwe words for numbers from 1 to 10. I can see a teacher doing that for other Native languages. 

In the final pages -- which I strongly encourage you to read -- you'll find three helpful sections of background. First is a brief history of Rock Your Mocs Day and that it began in 2011 when Jessica "Jaylyn" Atsye of Laguna Pueblo suggested wearing mocs beyond days when we wear them for ceremonies or powwows. Second is information about moccasins, and third is a section titled Indigenous Children. There, you'll learn that Native children may be intertribal, or bi- or tri-cultural. I can use myself as an example. My mom is from Ohkay Owingeh. Her mother was from there and her father was Hopi. My dad is from Nambé Owingeh. His mother was from there and his father was white. In terms of tribal identity, I'm enrolled at Nambé, but I also have Ohkay Owingeh and Hopi relatives. Raised and enrolled at Nambé, my traditional moccasins and clothing are the kind worn at Nambé. 

I adore what I see in Rock Your Mocs and recommend you get copies for your classroom and school library and that you consider getting one for your home library, too. And gift copies to friends! 


Rez Ball 
Written by Byron Graves (Ojibwe)
Cover by Natasha Donovan (Métis)
Published by Heartdrum
Published in 2023
Reviewer: Debbie Reese
Review Status: Highly Recommended

Earlier this month I was in San Diego at the California Indian Ed for All 2023 Summit. I was invited to give a presentation about children's books. During that trip I was reading an advance copy of Rez Ball by Byron Graves. At the gathering during breaks or meals, I'd tell people 'Hey! I'm reading this new book, Rez Ball....' and I'd tell them a bit about what I'd been reading. Their faces lit up and I was glad to see them jotting down the title. For me, and them, and so many Native kids, basketball is the game!

The morning of my departure, I was so caught up by the book that I nearly missed my plane! 

I'm one of the Native kids who grew up on a reservation where playing basketball was the thing. In high school some of my cousins from Nambé played on the basketball team. Years later, I taught at a school for Native kids and can't tell you have many times I got hoarse, cheering for our teams (especially when we were making it to state championship games). Then came a years-long span of time when I wasn't watching games. But then last year we moved to California and I started following the NBA. 

When I was reading Rez Ball and came across references to Steph Curry, and LeBron, and Kevin Durant, I texted friends to tell them! I gotta say, there were many exclamation points in my texts. 


You can tell: I really like this book! Here's the synopsis:

These days, Tre Brun is happiest when he is playing basketball on the Red Lake Reservation high school team—even though he can’t help but be constantly gut-punched with memories of his big brother, Jaxon, who died in an accident.

When Jaxon's former teammates on the varsity team offer to take Tre under their wing, he sees this as his shot to represent his Ojibwe rez all the way to their first state championship. This is the first step toward his dream of playing in the NBA, no matter how much the odds are stacked against him.

But stepping into his brother’s shoes as a star player means that Tre can’t mess up. Not on the court, not at school, and not with his new friend, gamer Khiana, who he is definitely not falling in love with.

After decades of rez teams almost making it, Tre needs to take his team to state. Because if he can live up to Jaxon's dreams, their story isn’t over yet. 

Set on the Red Lake Reservation, Rez Ball is by a Native writer, and it is tribally specific through and through. Those are the two main things I look for as I read a book. In Rez Ball, there's families and cousins, and hanging out with them. Homes have Native art on the walls. Families serve Kool-Aid. Ojibwe words and rez-slang are mixed into their everyday speech. Kids read books by Native writers... It is way cool to see one reading Dawn Quigley's Apple in the Middle! And that passage about the Indigenous Baby Yoda shirt? Well, that was perfection! Across the country, Native people wrap baby Yoda with a warm embrace. Native people went all-out on social media, sharing memes and items they made.

In Rez Ball, there's teen parties where kids are drinking. And there's harsh realities, too. Native kids are profiled by security officers at shopping centers off-rez, and by police. And they deal with rivals who taunt them with anti-Indigenous slurs. 

Life of Native kids on reservations -- Byron Graves gives it to us straight. The joys and the tears... it is all here. As noted above, I highly recommend Rez Ball and I look forward to seeing what Byron Graves writes next! 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Dear Teachers: A Series of Open Letters about Scott O'Dell's Books. Open Letter #1 - Suns and Moons

August 20, 2023

Dear Teachers, 

You (or one of your colleagues) have written to me about Scott O'Dell's Thunder Rolling in the Mountains. Some of your schools have been using it for years and some of your schools use it because it is in the Wit and Wisdom curriculum. Those who have written to me sense that it is not a good choice. They're in Wisconsin. Oregon. California. Tennessee. Louisiana. Ohio. Alabama. New York. 

Because this is an Open Letter that may be shared with school administrators and others who don't know who I am, I'll start with some biographical introduction. I'm tribally enrolled at Nambé Owingeh, a sovereign Native Nation in the southwestern part of the US. I started my professional career as a school teacher in Albuquerque and later got a PhD in Education at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. My research and publications are focused on depictions of Native peoples in children's and young adult books. 

At Illinois I served as president of the Native student group where we focused on three goals: a Native American House that would support the needs of Native students, an American Indian Studies program that would hire Native professors and provide all students with courses on Native peoples, and for a change in the university's mascot (it was "Chief Illiniwek"). I received my doctorate in 2000 and held a post doctoral position from 2002-2004. In 2002, the Native House was founded. In 2005, the Board of Trustees approved the American Indian Studies Program. In 2007, the university got rid of the mascot. 

Some of you may be a bit confused because you've been thinking of us as "tribes." You were educated and socialized to think of us as tribes but, in fact, the tribes are hundreds of distinct nations of Native people. When Europeans came onto our homelands hundreds of years ago, they knew we were nations. And when the U.S. became a nation, its leaders knew we were nations, too. There's hundreds of treaties between various Native Nations and those who came onto our lands.

Who I am, what I know as a Native woman, and what I study shapes what you find in my book chapters, research and professional articles, and on my blog, American Indians in Children's Literature.  A few weeks ago, I did a "close read" of Thunder Rolling in the Mountains. When I do a close read, I write up notes as I read. I ask questions. If there are misrepresentations or bias or factual errors, I note them, and then I share the notes. Anybody can get a copy of the book, start reading, and look over my notes as they do. 

O'Dell's book was published in 1992 by Houghton Mifflin. You may have a copy with a different cover because it has been reissued many times since then. 

In textbooks and professional guides for those who teach, study, review or critique children's books, there are some common elements. In From Cover to Cover, Kathleen T. Horning writes that we should try to determine what sort of authority the author has. Generally it means that we should see if the author has training or expertise on the topic the book is about. 

Given my identity and area of study I also ask if the author is Native.

The cover of Thunder Rolling in the Mountains lists two authors: Scott O'Dell and Elizabeth Hall (she was O'Dell's wife). My guess is that most teachers recognize the name, "Scott O'Dell," because they probably read his books when they were in school. They may know he won awards for some of his books. 

But returning to the question: did he have training or expertise on Native peoples? Was he Native? 

Scott O'Dell was not Native and did not have a degree that might have given him the authority that Horning asked us to look for. At his website, he wrote that he went to three different colleges but I don't see any indication of what he studied at them, and he also doesn't say that he graduated from any of them. Author identity and expertise are a starting point. What the author creates is important, too. 

When I did my close read of Thunder Rolling in the Mountains, I saw O'Dell used "moons" and "suns" to signify passage of time. Because I've studied children's books about Native peoples for over 30 years I've seen other non-Native writers do it. I wondered if O'Dell did it in his other books.

He wrote several children's books about Native people of different tribal nations. Those nations include ones on the west coast, the southwest, and the northwest. They have very different histories, religions, songs, and stories. And, they spoke different languages. Let's look at four of them:
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins came out in 1960. It is set in the 1850s. O'Dell based it on a Native woman whose people lived on an island off the coast of California. In the mid 1830s, they were taken to the mainland. She remained (or was left) on the island, living alone until 1853 when she was also taken to the mainland. She and her people are called "Nicolenos" because their island was called "San Nicolas Island" by White people. I wonder what they called their island, and what they called themselves--in their language?
  • Sing Down the Moon came out in 1970. Set in the 1860s, it is about the Navajo people (some prefer to be called Diné which is their word for "the people") and their forced removal from Diné Bikéyah, or Dinétah (their homeland). Their removal is commonly called The Long Walk. 
  • Streams to the River, River to the Sea: A Novel of Sacagawea came out in 1986. As the title indicates, it is about Sacagawea as a member of Lewis and Clark's expedition in 1804. 
  • Thunder Rolling in the Mountains came out in 1992. It is set in the 1870s and is about Chief Joseph, a Nez Perce leader, and his people being forced off of their homelands. O'Dell tells us about it through the perspective of his daughter. 
O'Dell (a white male) wrote from the point of view of female characters of four different tribal nations who lived in the 1800s--a very different era. To do so, he had to imagine and create the thoughts, emotions, and dialog for characters (some of them were actual people) whose first language was not English and whose culture was different from his. Let's look at some of what he wrote.

In chapter one of Thunder Rolling in the Mountains, O'Dell has Sound of Running Feet (the main character) thinking:
I had not ridden the trail for many moons.

 And a few sentences later, another character says: 

"We told our mothers before we left to dig roots that we would be gone three suns."
In chapter one of Island of the Blue Dolphins, O'Dell has Karana (the main character) thinking this about her brother:
He was small for one who had lived so many suns and moons
In chapter 10 of Streams to the River, River to the Sea: A Novel of Sacagawea, O'Dell has Sacagawea saying (about Charbonneau), that
"He will be gone for many suns."
In chapter 20 of Sing Down the MoonO'Dell's main character, Bright Moon, is thinking:
Within the rising and waning of five moons my baby would be born.

In each of those sentences, all the words are English ones. O'Dell could have said day/days or night/nights instead of moons/suns. Why did he use "suns" and "moons" instead? 

I suspect it started with James Fenimore Cooper. A lot of the things Cooper came up with when he wrote The Last of the Mohicans in 1826 have been used by other writers. In chapter three, he has
"We said the country should be ours from the place where the water runs up no longer on this stream, to a river twenty sun's journey toward the summer."
Earlier in the chapter, we see this:
"Even your traditions make the case in my favor, Chingachgook," he said, speaking in the tongue which was known to all the natives who formerly inhabited the country between the Hudson and the Potomac, and of which we shall give a free translation for the benefit of the reader; endeavoring, at the same time, to preserve some of the peculiarities, both of the individual and of the language."
Peculiarities? What might those be? I think his use of "sun's" is one of those peculiarities. As I think about what Cooper meant, I realize it really doesn't matter. What matters is that others--like O'Dell--use it, too, as if Native people of four entirely different nations in entirely different locations and time periods, used it. 

What O'Dell did, I think, is a failure. Teachers who assign his books may inadvertently be encouraging kids to think that many Native people used sun/moon instead of night/day to mark time. That's not educational! 

I'm not criticizing teachers for using Thunder Rolling in the Mountain (or one of his other books) if it is part of what your school requires. I am, however, asking you to consider studying it, and talking with your fellow teachers and administrators about the book. And if you decide his books cannot be used in your classroom, I hope you'll write to your district's curriculum officer and to the entities (like the company that publishes the Wit and Wisdom curriculum) to ask them to stop using the book, and that your letter will explain why you think the book is mis-educating students. 

When I started this post, I titled it "Dear Teachers: An Open Letter about Scott O'Dell and Elizabeth Hall's THUNDER ROLLING IN THE MOUNTAINS, and I meant to be comprehensive, addressing most of the things I noted in my close read. But as I worked on it, I felt overwhelmed. I decided I didn't want to overwhelm you. Instead, I decided to present my research as a series, titled "Dear Teachers: A Series of Open Letters about Scott O'Dell's Books. Open Letter #1 - Suns and Moons." I welcome your comments and if you prefer to write to me directly, you can find my email address in the contact link. I will not share what you say without your permission. 

I think my second letter in the series will be about quotes. O'Dell has characters speaking certain words and phrases that real people said, and that are findable in books and other historical records. 

That's all--for now,

Monday, July 24, 2023

Highly Recommended: Christine Day's WE STILL BELONG

We Still Belong
Written by Christine Day (Upper Skagit)
Cover art by Madelyn Goodnight (Chickasaw)
Published in 2023
Publisher: Heartdrum
Reviewer: Debbie Reese
Review Status: Highly Recommended

Publisher's synopsis:
Wesley is proud of the poem she wrote for Indigenous Peoples’ Day—but the reaction from a teacher makes her wonder if expressing herself is important enough. And due to the specific tribal laws of her family’s Nation, Wesley is unable to enroll in the Upper Skagit tribe and is left feeling “not Native enough.” Through the course of the novel, with the help of her family and friends, she comes to embrace her own place within the Native community.


What I particularly like about Christine Day's books is that she includes things that I know kids know about. For example, young people are way into video games and gamer culture. More about that later.

Early on in her book, we learn that Wesley and her mom are living with Wesley's grandpa, aunt and uncle and their baby. Across Indian Country, you'll find Native homes where more than one generation is living together. Generally speaking, white families in the US don't live that way but Native ones often do. Whether it is just the way it was from day one or if it is because someone is in need of help, you'll often find more than one generation living together.

Ok--I said "later" about gamer culture but I'm jumping to it right now. It is morning. Wesley and her mom are awake before the rest of the family. Wesley asks if she can watch TV. I was with her, there. "Watch TV." I know what that is, but then Wesley turns the TV on to her favorite streaming channel app and a short list of channels she subscribes to. Here's that passage:
[T]hree gamers are online, including my favorite streamer, gemmakitty01, whose stream title makes me gasp: 
Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day! 24-Hour Live Charity Stream! Come Watch Me Game and Chat with Native American Guest Stars!
Wesley gasps and her mom comes over. She knows who Gemma is, too! They wonder if Gemma is Native. They sit together and talk about what Gemma usually offers, but this stream is different--and they are psyched! Native guests! Wesley's Grandpa and Uncle wake up and see her and her mom at the TV. Her uncle says they actually played video games instead of watching others play. Her Grandpa says they played them at the arcade. Then Grandpa says: 
"These young people today, with all their options, all their devices." 
I bet that particular passage will resonate with lots of kids--Native, or not! One generation kind of sneering at a younger one... I'm certainly familiar with it. I remember having a similar conversation with my dad when car sound systems went from the kind with two round knobs to those with way more to them! Actually, I'm probably a generation older than Wesley's grandpa! Anyway, I love this story! 

This is a bit of a spoiler: about halfway through the story (the school day is over and Wesley is home), her Grandpa gets home and urgently asks her to put the show back on. She's not sure what he's talking about. He says:
"Gemma, the pink kitty girl, the Klamath gamer girl, that's the one."
Turns out, Grandpa was watching after Wesley had gone to school and learned that Gemma is Klamath. There's banter between the two, and lots of joy, too, as they watch for awhile. 

That gamer part of the story is a delight and I think kids will like it a lot. It is fresh and new, and hot. 

As the book title suggests, there's a lot more going on than that. Belonging in this story has to do with being able to be enrolled or a citizen of a tribal nation. Wesley's mom and grandfather are, but she isn't. I'm not going to say more about that. Instead, I'm going to ask you to get the book and before you read it, flip to the Author's Note. There, Christine Day provides you with the background information you need to understand what Wesley is talking about. It is a growing conversation across Indian Country and I think it vital everybody learn about it, whether you are Native or not. 

I have many passages highlighted in my copy of We Still Belong. Activism is there and it, too, rings so true for Native kids. I highly recommend it! 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Laura's dog, Jack, goes to the "Happy Hunting Grounds"

This is a quick post due to lack of a stable Internet connection.

On Thursday, June 8 of this year (2023), I wrote about the "Wilder" postcast that Glynnis MacNicol and Emily Marinoff are doing for iHeartPodcasts. 

Right now I'm listening to episode 5, titled This American Life. There's discussion about things that actually happened and things that did not. In this episode, I paused when I heard "Happy Hunting Ground." 

In By the Shores of Silver Lake, the family dog, Jack, dies. Pa tells Laura (location 293 of my e-copy):
"Don't cry, Laura," Pa said. "He has gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds."
"Truly, Pa?" Laura managed to ask.
"Good dogs have their reward, Laura," Pa told her.
Perhaps in the Happy Hunting Grounds, Jack was running gaily in the wind over some high prairie, as he used to run on the beautiful wild prairies of Indian Territory.
Laura clearly knows what Happy Hunting Grounds means. My guess is most AICL readers know "Happy Hunting Grounds" is supposed to mean heaven according to...   Hesitating here, as you see, because this is one of those phrases that gets attributed to Native peoples, but is it something a Native person said? Does a Native Nation have the idea of an after life that when translated, becomes happy hunting grounds? 

I asked similar questions about the phrase in 2006 when I came across it in Lois Lenski's Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison. The entry at Wikipedia says the phrase first appeared in 1823 in The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper. It also says that Washington Irving (author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) used it. I found it in Astoria, which came out in 1836: 
The same provident care for the deceased that prevails among the hunting tribes of the prairies is observable among the piscatory tribes of the rivers and sea-coast. Among the former, the favorite horse of the hunter is buried with him in the same funereal mound, and his bow and arrows are laid by his side, that he may be perfectly equipped for the “happy hunting grounds” of the land of spirits. 
I'm gonna hit 'publish' on this draft so it goes online. Later today I'll finish listening to the the Wilder podcast. If they take up the phrase, I'll definitely be back to add to this post. And when I have stable internet connections, I'll do some more research. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Debbie Reese Featured on Banner at City Lights Books

A few weeks ago I received an email from staff at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. They were creating new banners for their storefront. For this set they wanted to address book banning and asked if they could include an image of me, and an image of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, for Young People (Jean Mendoza and I adapted the original by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz), and a quote from an interview of me in the Southern Poverty Law Center's magazine (Spring 2022), Learning for Justice

Of course, I said yes. It is important that a Native voice be included (thank you, City Lights!). The banners went up earlier this week. Here's a photo of all of them, and below is a closer look at mine. 

The City Lights social media accounts include this paragraph:
Join us in working to stop the wave of censorship being pushed by reactionary forces across the United States. Stand strong with your librarians who are under direct attack, fight back and raise your voice at your local school board meetings and be sure to support the authors and bookstores who continue to provide an inclusive, truthful cultural lexicon for all.
City Lights also includes quotes from all the people on the banners. I'm copying them here:
Allen Ginsberg: “They censor words, not the things they denote.”
Toni Morrison: “Fear of unmonitored writing is justified because truth is trouble.”
Debbie Reese: “They are taking away mirrors for kids who so desperately need to see themselves in books.”
Luis Rodriguez: “Censorship is against reality. Those who ban books underestimate readers.”
Maia Kobabe: “Certain parts of the country may be fixated on censoring me, but I will not be censoring myself.”
In the interview with SPLC (where my quote is from), I talked about the importance of books written by Native people, for children who are Native.

Since then I have been thinking that current efforts to remove our voices from the shelves are another version of killing the Indian. I'm working on an article about it. In short, some of you know that the federal government established boarding schools for Native children in the 1800s to 'kill the Indian in him and save the man.' The federal schools were preceded by mission schools that sought to eradicate our religions. Many of them were funded by the federal government. Then in the 1900s, there were nationwide efforts to take Native children from their families and tribal nations, placing them in white homes. That, too, is characterized as an effort to kill the Indian. 

These are all genocidal actions taking place on Native homelands. 

Please work with us, as City Lights asks, to stop censorship by reactionary forces. Support teachers and librarians in your area when they are attacked for using books by Native writers. When you're at your library, ask for books by Native writers. Wherever you are, you are on lands that are, or were, homelands of Native peoples. Who are they? What do you know about them? Are there any books by writers of those tribal nations? The strongest words in the City Lights paragraph above are "raise your voice." Please do. Raise Your Voice. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023


Over the last few years I've had several questions from parents and teachers about Scott O'Dell's Thunder Rolling in the Mountains. Today (June 20th, 2023) I am going to start reading it and making notes as I do. 

Update on Thursday June 29th at 8:30 AM: I've now read up to chapter ten and strongly recommend it not be used in classrooms. I think the curriculum companies that include it should revisit their decision to include it. It does not educate students. 

I think it originally came out from Houghton Mifflin in 1992. O'Dell is listed as the first author. The second author is Elizabeth Hall. He died in 1989. He was married to Hall. The "Foreword" is by Hall. She writes that
A few years earlier we had followed the trail taken in 1877 by Chief Joseph and his valiant band [...]. From that trip, from the recollections of Nez Perce and U.S. Army personnel, from the writings of historians, and from Scott's instructions and musings about the story, I have completed the manuscript as Scott had asked me to do. Most of the characters are based on actual Nez Perce, and most of their words and deeds are drawn from recollections of survivors."
She writes that these sources are essential to the book:
  • Two eyewitness accounts compiled by Lucullus V. McWhorter: Yellow Wolf: His Own Story (the recollections of Chief Joseph's nephew) and Hear Me, My Chiefs! (based on eyewitness accounts of both sides)
  • Chief Joseph's Own Story told on his trip to Washington DC in 1897
She writes that these books were helpful:
  • Merrill Beal's "I Will Fight No More Forever": Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce War
  • Helen Addison Howard's Saga of Chief Joseph
  • Arthur Josephy Jr.'s The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest
I'm glad that she includes her sources. But, questions I pose as I read that info:
  • Who is Lucullus V. McWhorter? It sounds like he spoke with a Nez Perce person. When did that happen? Did the Nez Perce person speak English? Did McWhorter speak Nimipuutimt (the language the Nez Perce people speak). If the answer to those questions is no, there was likely a translator. 
  • Hall says they used Chief Joseph's Own Story as a key source. The subtitle for that source is "Told by him on his trip to Washington, D.C., in 1897*". The footnote for the asterisk says "Chief Joseph's story is presented here not as a matter of historic record or as evidence in the controversy over the facts in connection with the treaty of 1855, but to give an impression of the man." Who wrote that footnote? When I look for information about that account and footnote, what will I find? (Also noting here that the second paragraph of his account says his name is "In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat (Thunder-traveling-over-the-mountains)." Very close to the O'dell/Hall book title, isn't it? 
The copyright page in the book has this summary:
In the late nineteenth century, a young Nez Perce girl relates how her people were driven off their land by the U.S. Army and forced to retreat north until their eventual surrender.
Questions I pose as I read the summary:
  • How does O'Dell (a white man born in 1898) know what a Nez Perce girl of a different gender, era (1800s), and language thinks, feels, and says? 
Now, my notes on chapter one (summary in plain font; my thoughts in italics):
  • O'Dell/Hall use "we" and "I" for their characters. We are meant to read the book as if the characters the authors create are Native and giving us an insider point of view.   
  • O'Dell/Hall use "for many moons" and "three suns" and "six snows ago." I see those references to the passing of time in books written by writers that are not Native. It may sound Native, but is it? 
  • The primary character in this chapter is 14-year-old "Sound of Running Feet." She's in the lead of a group of seven that are on an outing to dig roots. She has a rifle that belonged to her grandfather "Old Joseph." As he lay dying, he gifted it to her, to become hers when she became a woman at the age of 14. That happened three months prior to the outing. They see a cabin with smoke rising from the chimney. When another character asks Sound of Running Feet what it is, he says "White people. [...] Indians do not build cabins." Would a Nez Perce person of that time period use the word "Indians"? They might say that Native peoples don't build cabins because they are not aware of those that do build permanent structures. 
  • Sound of Running Feet learned (quickly) how to use the rifle. Her father doesn't like it but she thinks it would "be bad to speak against the gift now that Old Joseph was dead. He could come back and make trouble." With that, O'Dell/Hall are telling us something about how Nez Perce people feel about death and gifts. What is their source for that? 
  • At the cabin they see a man and woman in the stream. She has a copper pan that the man fills with dirt brought to him by a "boy of our people." They are panning for gold. 
  • The man speaks to them. The Nez Perce boy translates, telling them that the man wants to know how they are. Sound of Running Feet does not answer that question. Instead she asks why the white man has built a cabin on land that doesn't belong to him. At first glance it seems cool to ask the question about the land. This is definitely a character who is familiar with fights for land. 
  • Sound of Running Feet knows that the boy had gone to a mission school at Lapwai, that his name is Storm Cloud, and that he was mixed up in a murder. He tells the white man what Sound of Running Feet asked about the land. and he replies that the Nez Perce own too much land, that they can't use it all, and that they're greedy. He says his name is Jason Upright and that they better not send Nez Perce warriors to talk to him. The group leaves without replying but at a distance, Sound of Running Feet shoots at and blows a hole in the pan the man and woman are using. They went on home. I'm intrigued. Does the boy's past at the mission school mean he's working for the white man as punishment? What was the murder? Obviously the bit about Nez Perce being greedy is ridiculous. 
[Pausing to hit 'publish' on my notes thus far. These are rough notes. There's likely typos and lack of clarity. I'll be back to add more notes later, when I read chapter 2. I invite your thoughts to what I'm sharing.]


Back on Sunday, June 25th to add notes. I did a quick re-read of chapter one and am noting a paragraph in there that I did not note above. It occurs just after the group sees the cabin and the white people there. Sound of Running Feet remembers hearing "our chieftains" talking about white people. They (the white people) had only set foot on land that belonged to people in the tribe who "called themselves Christians, those who had sold their land to the Big Father..." I don't recall "Big Father" in other works. Generally, writers use "Great Father" to refer to the president of the U.S.  "Great Father" is seen in books like Peter Pan. Sometime I want to trace down the first use of that phrase. That these Nez Perce individuals who became Christians were able to sell their land tells us that the Nez Perce had gone through allotment. Allotment of their land began in 1889. 

More on "Great Father." Immediately following the dedication in a book called The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians" written by Francis Paul Prucha, there's a set of quotes that have that term. The oldest one is "When your Great Father and his chiefs see those things, they will know that you have opened your ears to your Great Father's voice, and have come to hear his good Councils. It is attributed to Lewis and Clark, in presenting American flags and medals to Oto chiefs in 1804. 

My notes and comments (in italics) on chapter two:
  • In the opening paragraphs, Sound of Running Feet tells her father about the white people they saw at the cabin. He tells her more are on the way. In her narrative, she tells us that he talks to her because he has no sons and that unlike other girls in the village. In Island of the Blue Dolphins, O'Dell created a female character that is "unlike" others. He's doing it here, too, as if he's championing feminism. But does that work? It does for white culture but does it for Native cultures? 
  • She replies, angrily, and uses "Here we stand." and that they will "stand and fight." Both of those are similar to remarks widely attributed to Chief Joseph, delivered by him on Oct 5, 1877: "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." Why is O'Dell using them here, as dialog for Sound of Running Feet? 
  • The text says that her father, Joseph, is son of Old Joseph, who was an "honored Chieftain of the Ne-mee-poo. He was their chieftain because he could see far away into the land of the suns and moons that had not yet risen." She thinks he was a kind and gentle man who was "too kind" with the whites and "was not a warrior." O'Dell seems to be asking the reader to think of her as tough, tougher than her grandfather. Why didn't she refer to him as her grandfather? 
  • "The sun was dying." That sentence is used to indicate sundown. Did the Nez Perce think the sun was dying? Did O'Dell use that directly from a source or is it his construction?
  • There are several real people in this chapter. One is U.S. General Howard; the others are Nez Perce men. O'Dell has them all speaking to each other. Is there evidence that they said those words? Here's what O'Dell has Two Moons saying to his son, Swan Necklace: "Listen, idler of all the hills and valleys and meadows in this realm of the living," he said, "Listen to me." "Death stalks the Land of the Wandering Waters." When I do a search on that last sentence, the only return is to O'Dell's book. 
Back on June 26: 

My notes and comments (in italics) on chapter three:
  • When General Howard went to Chief Joseph to tell him to leave Wallowa, Chief Joseph tells him that when he was "ten snows" he climbed a mountain, made a bed on a stone, and had no water or food. He "put a pebble in my nose and a pebble in each ear to keep me awake." After "five suns" his "guardian spirit" appeared and gave him his name, "Thunder Rolling in the Mountains." That name, he says, binds him forever to the land. O'Dell is describing what he wants us to read as a Nez Perce ritual. What is his source for it? 
  • Howard doesn't care about how Chief Joseph feels about the land. They have to leave "before thirty suns come and go." Another Nez Perce man (Too-hul-hul-sote) tells Howard that "the Spirit Chief" made everything and asks who is "this man" who tells them they have to leave.  Chief Joseph asks for more time because the Snake River is flooding and they would die crossing it. Howard says he will send soldiers with guns to drive them out, and Chief Joseph says they will go. Sound of Running Feet knows some of the Nez Perce men will not go and thinks she agrees with them. 
My Notes and comments (in italics) on chapter four:
  • Chief Joseph speaks to his people, telling them they must leave. In part, he says "Some among us, the young warriors, will say to you, 'Do not leave. Do not flee like old women. Fight. We shall live here in peace.'" That line -- 'do not flee like old women' -- bothers me. O'Dell wants us to think old women are cowards. What is his source for that characterization? 
  • Chief Joseph tells them they are outgunned and outnumbered and have to leave in "ten suns." He tells them to make bundles of things they value. Sound of Running Feet looks at Springtime (her mother), who is pregnant. 
  • Sound of Running Feet goes to Swan Necklace (the two are supposed to get married; the passage includes details on who gave what to whom). "You have heard Chief Joseph speak. Where do you stand?" He is a painter. His father, Two Moons, does not think that is a worthwhile occupation. He belittles him. During the visit from Howard, Two Moons made Swan Necklace hold the horses of two of the younger warriors (Red Moccasin Tops and Wah-lit-its). His father thinks it there is a war to be fought and it is not good for them to be married until after the war. Sound of Running Feet gives Swan Necklace her rifle and bullets. A lot of historical fiction has scenes where a marriage is planned. One family has to give the other items like horses and blankets. What is the source for that? 
Back on Wednesday, June 28, to add more notes:

My Notes and comments (in italics) on chapter five: 
  • In the second paragraph, Sound of Running Feet gives a physical description of Ollokot: "He was very tall and had his hair cut in a roach that stuck up and made him look like a giant." Earlier in the book she talks about her father's braids. Physical descriptions like these are awkward. Or perhaps what I mean is that outsiders (like Scott O'Dell) who are writing as if they are insiders focus on things that they think matter. But, do they matter to the insiders? And are they accurate? The mostly-available photographs of these two men show them in a certain way but did they look that way all the time? It strikes me as a rather exotifying and reductionist move from O'Dell.  
  • In this chapter, Too-hul-hul-sote is angry about being made to leave their land. He shouts "Our Great Spirit Chief made the world," he said. "He put me here on this piece of earth. This earth is my mother. You tell me to live like the white man and plow the land. Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's bosom? You tell me to cut the grass and make hay. But dare I cut off my mother's hair?" There's a couple more sentences after that. As I started reading that passage, I thought that it sounds a bit (or a lot) like an as-told-to construction or interpretation of something a Native person said that a white person embellished. I did a quick search and was quite surprised to find "Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's bosom" as something said by someone else entirely. I see it attributed to Wovoka (who was Paiute) and to Smohalla (who was Wanapum). I kept looking and found the following two quotes in Josephy's book, The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest. Josephy is one of O'Dell and Hall's sources (as noted above)! These two quotes open Joseph's book:
"The earth is part of my body . . . I belong to the land out of which I came. The Earth is my mother." --TOOHOOLHOOLZOTE, THE NEZ PERCE 

"You ask me to plow the ground! Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's bosom Then when I die she will not take me to her bosom to rest. You ask me to dig for stone! Shall I dig under her skin for her bones? Then when I die I cannot enter her body to be born again. You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it, and be rich like white men! But how dare I cut off my mother's hair?" --SMOHALLA, NORTHWEST INDIAN RELIGIOUS TEACHER

 There's a lot to dig into but at this moment I think a teacher would be doing a tremendous disservice as an educator, if she uses Thunder Rolling in the Mountains! To me, it looks like O'Dell and/or Hall erred completely in taking that "Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's bosom" and attributing it to Too-hul-hul-sote. 

Back on Thursday, June 29th (at 8:30 AM) with more notes:

I read chapter six but am not noting any passages in it. Here, then, is chapter seven:
  • Chief Joseph and his group are leaving their homeland but are also having fights with soldiers. They're leaving White Bird Canyon and thirty-four white soldiers, dead. Sound of Running Feet makes "a doll for my baby sister with a piece of a soldier's shirt." and "My small cousin had a pair of soldier's heavy boots and asked me to cut off their tops and make a purse out of them." That sounds to me like trophy-taking associated with soldiers--not children.
  • As they ride, White Feather, a girl one year older than Sound of Running Feet asks her if she is pleased. "The warriors have won and your father has lost." Sound of Running Feet replies that she is pleased and that if the soldiers follow, "we will beat them again." When Swan Necklace tells her about soldiers dropping their guns and running for their lives, she claps her hands with joy. This defiance and joy are rubbing me the wrong way.   
In chapter nine, Sound of Running Feet thinks that if the war is over, she'll be able to marry Swan Necklace. As they ride she takes care of the children in the group, and tells them stories about Coyote, "the trickster with magic powers." Her story is about how Coyote created the tribes. Hmmm... a creation story. Will I find that in a source? 

On to chapter ten:
  • Chief Joseph and his group have had several fights with soldiers. Many of the soldiers have been killed. Swan Necklace and Sound of Running Feet are talking about the battles. Then, we read this:
"Children made ugly masks of the dead soldiers with eyes hanging down on their cheeks and pieces of ear cut off. They dug holes and buried the masks deep and laughed and hummed secret songs that they made up." Pretty grotesque, isn't it? Did that happen?! How the heck does a teacher work with that passage?! How does it impact Native kids? How does it impact non-Native kids? 


Thursday, June 29, 4:12 PM -- my final set of notes:

I'm not making detailed notes by chapter at this point. I'm tired of the recurring not-Native phrases and oddities like the constance references to Canada as "the Old Lady's country." I did a quick search on that and all hits go to O'Dell and teaching materials about the book. Another redundant phrase is "fight no more" or a variant of it. O'Dell made a real person -- Chief Joseph's daughter -- into the main character in his book. She looks down on her father throughout the book. Did she, in fact, feel that way about her father? From what I've found so far, there's no support for creating her with that disposition. 

In chapter 19 is the "Hear me, my chiefs" speech that is widely attributed to Chief Joseph. Just before it appears, O'Dell writes that Chief Joseph walks to his pony and gets his rifle. General Howard reaches for it, but Chief Joseph pulled it back and said he was not surrendering to Howard. Instead, he was surrendering to Colonel Miles because "This is the man that ran me down." The last sentences of the speech are:
"Hear me, my chiefs," he called. "I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."
Then, O'Dell writes, warriors stepped forward and laid their rifles on the ground in front of the generals, and women and children came forward and stood with the men. Sound of Running Feet, however, "could not join them." A small group slipped away for "the Old Lady's country" and she's decided to go with them. Swan Necklace is among them. Most of the remaining chapters are about battles and deaths and trying to get away from soldiers to what they think is safety in Sitting Bull's camp. In the final chapters, Sound of Running feet is married off to an Assiniboine man but runs away. She imagines killing him with her rifle but doesn't. In an afterword, O'Dell and Hall say that she made her way to Sitting Bull's camp and stayed there for a year before returning to Lapwai where she took the name Sarah and married George Moses, a Nimipu man (Nimipu is the name the Nez Perce use for themselves). She never saw her father again. He and the group that was with him were taken to Oklahoma and later returned to Lapwai if they agreed to become Christians. Chief Joseph refused and was taken to eastern Washington, to the Colville Reservation where he died in 1904.


Those are my notes. I'll study them and in some instances, do some research to verify what O'Dell and Hall wrote in their book. Then, I'll do a more formal review. I think it may take the form of an open letter to educators, including the individuals at Great Minds Ed, who produce the Wit and Wisdom curriculum. Thunder Rolling in the Mountains is part of their curriculum.