Powwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life

Overview


 Life is a circle, just like the seasons, from youth through old age. The circle of the year brings seasonal rituals: a winter of preparation followed by a summer of powwows.

Sharyl and Windy Downwind and their children travel from their home on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota to powwows all around the region. For the past year, their oldest daughter, Shian, has been honored as junior princess for Bug-o-nay-ge-shig School. At the Leech Lake Memorial Day gathering, Shian will hand over her crown to the...

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Overview


 Life is a circle, just like the seasons, from youth through old age. The circle of the year brings seasonal rituals: a winter of preparation followed by a summer of powwows.

Sharyl and Windy Downwind and their children travel from their home on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota to powwows all around the region. For the past year, their oldest daughter, Shian, has been honored as junior princess for Bug-o-nay-ge-shig School. At the Leech Lake Memorial Day gathering, Shian will hand over her crown to the next princess. Later that summer, the family attends the Red Lake Fourth of July powwow seeking healing and comfort. Windy is mourning his mother, who recently passed away, and also honoring her by dancing at the powwow. At ceremonies and in daily life, Windy and Sharyl celebrate Anishinaabe culture by teaching their children traditional skills, dance steps, and lifeways, all part of the circle of community and the seasons and life.

“Clear, informative photographs help clarify the text and leave readers with the sense that they have accompanied the Downwinds. An ideal choice for classroom units on contemporary Native American life.”
--Booklist

Award-winning poet, playwright, performance artist, and activist Marcie R. Rendon (White Earth) is the creator/producer for Raving Native Productions. Cheryl Walsh Bellville, a professional photographer for more than forty years, also writes and illustrates books for young readers.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Some Native Americans, according to Rendon (a member of the White Earth Anishinabe), travel the powwow circuit during the summer. These events give family and friends an opportunity to meet and celebrate the unbroken circle of life. Readers are invited to join the Downwind family, which includes a number of foster children, as they participate in two of these powwows. There is a lot of hard work and preparation leading up to these events, all clearly depicted in these candid full color photographs of people having a good time. The beliefs and strong family ties of the Anishinabe are admirable and worthy of emulation.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5This photo essay offers a glimpse into the life of an Anishinabe family as they spend a summer on the powwow trail. Throughout the year, the Anishinabe (also known as Ojibway or Chippewa) hold various feasts and ceremonies, and during the summer, some families attend as many as 12 powwows, enjoying the singing, dancing, and visiting with friends and relatives. Using the motif of the circle of life, the author compares events experienced by the Downwind family with the four seasons. She attempts to invoke an understanding of Indian ways by asking readers to compare their own family rituals (attending church, summering at a cabin, or participating in sports) with the Native tradition of the powwow. Unfortunately, the writing style is uneven, the voice jumping from second to first to third person. The photographs, while colorful, are dark and often without a clear focus. George Ancona's Powwow (Harcourt, 1993) offers more vibrant photos and a better overview of the subject, and Sandra King's Shannon: An Ojibway Dancer (Lerner, 1993) is a more accessible look at modern Indian life. Nevertheless, in areas with high demand, Rendon's title will serve as an additional purchase.Anna DeWind, Milwaukee Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873519106
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2013
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 643,839
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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