Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner

Overview

Danny Blackgoat is a teenager in Navajo country when soldiers burn down his home, kill his sheep and capture his family. During the Long Walk of 1864, Danny is labeled a troublemaker and given the name Fire Eye. Refusing to accept captivity, he is sent to Fort Davis, Texas, a Civil War prisoner outpost. There he battles bullying fellow prisoners, rattlesnakes and abusive soldiers until he meets Jim Davis. Jim teaches Danny how to hold his anger and starts him on the road to literacy. In a stunning climax, Jim—who...

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Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner

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Overview

Danny Blackgoat is a teenager in Navajo country when soldiers burn down his home, kill his sheep and capture his family. During the Long Walk of 1864, Danny is labeled a troublemaker and given the name Fire Eye. Refusing to accept captivity, he is sent to Fort Davis, Texas, a Civil War prisoner outpost. There he battles bullying fellow prisoners, rattlesnakes and abusive soldiers until he meets Jim Davis. Jim teaches Danny how to hold his anger and starts him on the road to literacy. In a stunning climax, Jim—who builds coffins for the dead—aids Danny in a daring and dangerous escape. Set in troubled times, Danny Blackgoat is the story of one boy's hunger to be free and be Navajo.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Amy Cummins
Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner, a fast-paced historical novel, adds a memorable perspective to Native American literature for teens. Danny, a sixteen-year-old Navajo in New Mexico, endures months of imprisonment after soldiers in the Union army attack his community, burning homes, slaughtering animals, and imprisoning people, including Danny's family. Transported to work camps at military forts, captives struggle in harsh conditions. Mr. Dime, a bully and Confederate prisoner of war, hates Danny and tries to kill him with a gardening hoe and a rattlesnake in his bed. But another Confederate prisoner, Jim Davis, befriends Danny. They save each other's lives, and Davis, a coffin-maker, helps Danny enact a clever escape plan. Because this is a historical novel about a brutal situation, it includes intense scenes in which Navajo people get killed, wounded, starved, and treated with prejudice. As discussed in a short author's note at the end of the book, the Navajo Long Walk was part of the United States policy of removing Native Americans from their home territories to relocate to reservations. While Danny is not based on any single individual from history, this narrative vividly brings to life suffering among the ten thousand Navajo people captured and mistreated before the Bosque Redondo Treaty in 1868. Tingle, an enrolled Oklahoma Choctaw member, makes the past feel contemporary. This exciting novel will be enjoyed by readers interested in stories about hidden, unjustly imprisoned, or marginalized teens who seek to escape and get justice. Reviewer: Amy Cummins
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
From an award-winning Choctaw storyteller and writer, comes this brutal but moving novel for teens and middle readers. Based on a historic tale with special resonance for the author, whose great-grandfather was a survivor of the 1835 Trail of Tears, the story is set in 1864 when peaceable Navajos in Canyon de Chelly were forced to suffer a Long Walk of their own. Sixteen-year-old Danny and his family are suddenly captured, their sheep killed, and their hogan burned as Union soldiers carry out a cruel mission to remove the Navajos from their land. Marked as a troublemaker when he tries to escape, Danny is sent to a camp in Texas, where he is to labor alongside Confederate prisoners of war. Tingle portrays the vicious hatred of Indians by many white Americans of the time through the actions of the hateful soldiers, as well as the character of Mr. Dime, an obsessively prejudiced bully who is out to kill Danny. The boy (who understands no English) quickly perceives his danger, but must endure beatings and a near-fatal rattlesnake bite before he finds a protector in a compassionate fellow prisoner, Jim Davis, who saves his life and teaches him to read. Younger readers may find the brutality (though true to history) unbearable; young adults will find the language simple but powerful in its portrayal of a young man's persistence, courage, and faith in his Navajo heritage. After a bizarre escape plan, Davis sends Danny on his way with a stolen pony and the hope that the boy will survive to join his parents. For those who find Danny's story compelling, the tale continues in Tingle's, Danny Blackgoat, Rugged Road to Freedom. Both stories could lead to extensive research on nineteenth—century America's war against indigenous peoples and why many Navajo descendants today will never forget the Long Walk. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
Kirkus Reviews
The 1863 forced displacement of thousands of Navajo known as the Long Walk serves as milieu for this tale of a teenage survivor. Ripped abruptly by U.S. troops from his peaceful life in Canyon de Chelly, Danny endures verbal abuse, severe physical hardship, brutal beatings and even murder attempts on the trail with his Navajo neighbors. This continues after as well, at a Texas labor camp for Confederate Army prisoners. He never loses his spirit though and, with help from sympathetic whites, manages to escape at last--by sharing a coffin for a night and a day with a corpse. The nearly all-English dialogue makes it seem as if Danny understands more of what's going on than he should, since he doesn't speak that language. Nevertheless, Tingle, a Choctaw storyteller, spins a good yarn and, along with other respectful references to Navajo culture, ingeniously leverages its particular aversion to mention of or contact with the dead to magnify the terror of Danny's climactic challenge. Not an angry indictment, despite plenty of explicit brutality and prejudice, but a positive tribute to the fortitude of Danny and his Navajo community. (afterword) (Historical fiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781939053039
  • Publisher: 7th Generation
  • Publication date: 8/1/2013
  • Pages: 151
  • Sales rank: 601,964
  • Product dimensions: 4.50 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Tingle is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a frequent speaker at tribal events and the author of more than twelve books. Fueled by his own family’s survival and memories of the Trail of Tears, he became fascinated by the Navajo Long Walk, and Danny Blackgoat came to life.

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