The Cree

The Cree

by Raymond Bial

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gwynne Spencer
Part of the "Lifeways Series 7," which also covers The Crow, The Delaware, and The Menominee. Following the series pattern, this book respectfully covers the traditions of Cree culture including origin stories, the relationship of the people to the land, their camps and villages, their daily life and its cycles in the longer time frame. Chapters cover dwellings, hunting, fishing, and gathering traditions, clothing and jewelry, handicrafts, and even a couple of traditional recipes (trout and pea soup). 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. Other illustrations from older sources (woodcuts, old photos) are also sprinkled throughout. As the author moves into the realm of modern Cree life, he discusses the Northwest Resistance of the Metis and language preservation (I like his phrase, "Cree, a language that is perhaps older than the pyramids of Egypt"). Bial admirably covers many facts in an engaging voice. His treatment of various controversies involving the appropriation of the Cree treaty-deeded land and fight for lands that were never given over, maintains a detachment and non-judgmental distance, but he 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 Cree still live this way. The change to present tense in the New Ways chapter emphasizes that the Cree still enjoy a vibrant if difficult life today. Additional material includes a timeline, shortbiographies of notable people, a glossary, a bibliography (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 is highly recommended. Even high schoolers will appreciate it. Reviewer: Gwynne Spencer

Product Details

Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
Publication date:
Lifeways Series
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 9.78(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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