A Braid of Lives: Native American Childhood

Overview

This moving collection of first-person narratives celebrates the individuality and variety of the Native American experience. Men and women representing many Native American groups speak about childhood and growing up?games and rites of passage, education and learning, tradition and change. This companion volume to Neil Philip?s acclaimed IN A SACRED MANNER I LIVE is touching and dramatic, easily accessible to young readers, who will identify with its celebration of universal childhood experiences. Introduction, ...

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Overview

This moving collection of first-person narratives celebrates the individuality and variety of the Native American experience. Men and women representing many Native American groups speak about childhood and growing up—games and rites of passage, education and learning, tradition and change. This companion volume to Neil Philip’s acclaimed IN A SACRED MANNER I LIVE is touching and dramatic, easily accessible to young readers, who will identify with its celebration of universal childhood experiences. Introduction, indexes of speakers/writers and Indian nations, suggestions for further reading, source notes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an excellent choice for curriculum support and brief read-aloud material" Booklist, ALA

"Tinted period photos, from Edward S. Curtis, Charles A. Eastman and others, reinforce the stately tone." Publishers Weekly

Author of In a Sacred Manner I Live: Native American Wisdom, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults 1998, Philip states in his introduction to this collection that "one constant in the varied cultures of the Indian nations is love of children." Combining period photographs with the authentic reminiscences of Native Americans, among them Charles Eastman and Black Elk, Philip seeks to portray a wide range of childhood experiences. Native people speak of their favorite childhood pastimes, their desire to emulate their elders , the joys and terrors of their early lives, and their connections with nature and the supernatural. Some speak haltingly, almost incoherently; others speak elegantly with the widsom of age.
Some of the material is likely to seem tiresome to teens, who, regardless of their heritage or their respect for their elders, are unlikely to be impressed by stories of how much harder things were in the old days. Nevertheless Philip has collected several sprightly and fascinating stories. A tale told by an anonymous teller relates how Apache parents recruited elderly strangers to terrify their children when they misbehaved, and Mourning Dove reminisces about her desire to outride and outrun the boys. Equally enjoyable is Lame Deer's description of how, at age nine, he decided to pierce his little sister's ears and thereby lost his favorite pony. Particularly heart wrenching is Zitkala-Sa's story of her first days in the white man's school. This book should appeal to young adults with a strong interest in traditional Native American culture.
VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

A large selection of first-person accounts of growing up Native American in the nineteenth and early-twentienth centuries gives an intimate view of tribal life and culture, including three entries on the Carlisle School.
Horn Book Guide

Children's Literature
This fascinating book contains narratives of Native Americans, sharing their stories about growing up in traditional Indian communities. These compelling first-person accounts celebrate all aspects of childhood—from games and pranks to dreams and visions—as well as the individuality and variety of the Native American experience. Gathered from many sources, these stories provide insight into more than twenty Indian nations including—Apache, Chippewa, Crow, Hopi, Menomini, Navajo, Sioux, and Zuñi. This companion book to Philip's In a Sacred Manner I Live (1997) offers honest, passionate descriptions of life in mid-to-late-nineteenth century America. In addition to touching stories, this resource also contains black-and-white photographs, an index of speakers/writers and Indian nations, suggestions for further reading, and sources. This is a wonderful volume for students who are interested in learning more about the childhood experiences of Native Americans. 2000, Clarion Books, $20.00. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Debra Briatico
VOYA
Author of In a Sacred Manner I Live: Native American Wisdom (Houghton Mifflin, 1997), an ALA Best Book for Young Adults in 1998, Philip states in his introduction to this collection that "one constant in the varied cultures of the Indian nations is love of children." Combining period photographs with the authentic reminiscences of Native Americans, among them Charles Eastman and Black Elk, Philip seeks to portray a wide range of childhood experiences. Native people speak of their favorite childhood pastimes, their desire to emulate their elders, the joys and terrors of their early lives, and their connections with nature and the supernatural. Some speak haltingly, almost incoherently; others speak elegantly and with the wisdom of age. Some of the material is likely to seem tiresome to teens, who, regardless of their heritage or their respect for their elders, are unlikely to be impressed by stories of how much harder things were in the old days. Nevertheless Philip has collected several sprightly and fascinating stories. A tale told by an anonymous teller relates how Apache parents recruited elderly strangers to terrify their children when they misbehaved, and Mourning Dove reminisces about her desire to outride and outrun the boys. Equally enjoyable is Lame Deer's description of how, at age nine, he decided to pierce his little sister's ears and thereby lost his favorite pony. Particularly heart wrenching is Zitkala-Sa's story of her first days in the white man's school. This book should appeal to young adults with a strong interest in traditional Native American culture. Index. Photos. Source Notes. Further Reading. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only byoccasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Clarion, 96p, Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Michael Levy SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-This enigmatic book presents the remembrances of 33 individuals from 22 different American Indian nations, ranging from anonymous men and women to such well-known figures as Black Elk and Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins. Though the accounts were collected from 30 texts published since the late 1800s, most of them were originally dictated to historians or ethnographers, so the tone is conversational and readable. The black-and-white historical photos were well selected to illuminate the topics discussed or at least the nation of the speaker, and a few portray the speakers themselves. The enigma is the intended audience. Without accompanying background information, these personal stories could only be used as a supplementary resource for students writing reports, but it is unlikely that even middle or high school students would seek out such material. There is no topical index to the stories; there is an index of speakers and another of the Indian nations represented, both of which would facilitate research focusing on specific people or tribes. In the hands of the right teacher, this could be an excellent source for read-aloud material to augment a study unit.-Sean George, St. Charles Parish Library, Luling, LA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Internet Book Watch
A Braid Of Lives is a beautiful collection of photographs and poignant reminiscences of a series of Native American children of various ethnicities. From the terrifying to the mystical, each fragment captures an incomprehensible moment of life, vivid, stark or whimsical; sometimes all three. Part of Black Elk's vision is here, as well as a Paiute woman's memory of being buried alive as a child to avoid death at the hands of her 'white brothers.' All black and white photographs are exquisite in choice and composition, and each relates to the accompanying text, though it may not be the author quoted. At the end of the book is a list of speakers and writers, an index of Indian nations represented, picture sources, and suggestions for further reading. All of the narratives relate childhood experiences or memories. This is a book with a sacred feel about it, stunning quietly with its directness. It is suitable for adolescent readers as well as adults, and should lead the audience to want to learn more about Native Americans.
—Internet Book Watch
Kirkus Reviews
Native American voices spanning a hundred years present a collective sense of childhood and a scope of individual experience. Similar in format to Philip's Earth Always Endures: Native American Poems (1996) and In a Sacred Manner I Live: Native American Wisdom (1997), this collection speaks more closely to a young audience in its subject matter. From the words of Charles A. Eastman and Sarah Winnemuca to the more contemporary voices of Louis Two Ravens Irwin and James Sewid, the narratives describe aspects of childhood life in many tribes. Subjects range from playing house and playing war to having hair cut at a boarding school and being buried alive in order to hide from white men. Like the previous collections, this is illustrated with archival photographs, printed in duotone, that are evocative, but overly romantic in tone. The fact that the experiences were recorded, in word or picture, almost entirely in the late19th and early20th centuries gives an overall sense of distance and of "TheIndianofthePast" to this collection, although readers may find the narratives themselves immediate. Philip gives both English and actual names of people and tribes after each selection, as well as sources for all pictures and texts at the end of the volume. A bibliography of further reading and indexes of speakers, writers, and Indian nations enhance the collection. Wonderful words in a museumquality package, readers may find their way slowly to this book, but they should find the trip worthwhile. (introduction, indexes, further reading, source notes) (Nonfiction. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395645284
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.86 (w) x 10.41 (h) x 0.54 (d)

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