Children's Literature - Gwynne SpencerPart of the "Lifeways," series which also covers the Apache, Arapaho, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Choctaw, Chumash, Comanche, Cree, Crow, Delaware, and sixteen other tribes, this book follows the series pattern and covers the traditions of Menominee culture including origin stories, the relationship of the people to the land and forests, their camps and villages, their daily life, and its cycles in the longer time frame. Chapters cover dwellings, hunting, fishing and gathering, gardening traditions, clothing and jewelry, handicrafts, and even a couple of traditional recipes (wild rice and venison stew). Discussion of beliefs, rituals, and ceremonies, including games and gambling, has Bial's unmistakable stamp of his fascination with lifeways. Throughout the book, Bial's gift of photographing objects that speak for their makers is well utilized. As the author moves into the realm of modern Menominee life, the book covers the battle over logging rights and the tribe's official "termination" in 1961, when the tribe became a corporation and was plunged into irretrievable poverty. Bial admirably covers a lot of factual territory in a readable and engaging way. His treatment of various controversies involving the government's poor management of tribal land articulates the controversies in detail. Throughout the book, he uses the past tense when speaking of the old lifeways, knowing that the reader might otherwise assume the tribal members still live this way. The change to present tense in the New Ways chapter emphasizes that the Menominee still are with us. Brief mention is made of the tribe's being the first to open a casino, the first tribally owned medical clinic, and one of theearliest tribal colleges. Additional material includes a timeline, short biographies of notable people, a glossary, a bibliography (including both adult and children's books), contact information for various organizations and tribal agencies, websites, and an index. This is an absolutely terrific book in an absolutely wonderful series and highly recommended. Reviewer: Gwynne Spencer
School Library JournalGr 5-9-These well-written and well-organized titles focus on traditional life and give a brief glimpse into present-day tribal government and people. Archival black-and-white and full-color modern photos, reproductions, and maps give the books an appealing appearance. Sharing traditional tribal stories like "The Disappearance of Mother Corn" (Delaware) and "The Origin of the Clans" (Menominee) not only shows that oral histories are important and valid, but also gives tribal children something that they will recognize and appreciate. By giving a balanced view of contact and conflict between the tribes and colonists, readers can see different viewpoints in American history. The resource section includes biographical sketches of notable ancestors and addresses of tribal organizations. Verna Fowler's The Menominee (Raintree, 2000) is an excellent alternative for a slightly older audience.-Marlette Grant-Jackson, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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