ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN INDIAN HISTORY & CULTURE
Stories, Time Lines, Maps, and More
By: Cynthia O’Brien
Published: October 29, 2019
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books
This is the ultimate reference guide for all things American Indians. It’s obviously written for kids, but I learned so much from this book. From the over 160 tribes to the unique languages to the rich and colorful clothing and all the amazing photography, this book is a masterful resource.
I remember doing a project on the Hopi tribe when I was in school. I didn’t have a very large knowledge base regarding American Indians when I was growing up. But, I remember being fascinated with their farming and the different varieties of corn they grew. I also was amazed with their beautiful pottery and detailed baskets that were handmade. Today, reading about them, I’m proud of how they have stuck to their traditions and culture including celebrations and dances in the hopes of a good harvest.
There is an American Indian reservation just 30 minutes from our home and we meet up with them in school activities. I believe they are part of the Sac & Fox tribe which is one of the tribes talked about in the book.
My nephew teaches in a reservation school in Northern Minnesota and I believe they are part of the Ojibwe tribe which is a well-known tribe and one that William Kent Kruger writes about in his adult fiction books. These tribal members and their children find their family history, their culture, and pride in their land to be extremely important to their daily life. There was also highlight on the wilderness firefighters and how the US Forest Service works with the tribes on fire management, which my cousin’s husband does in Northern Minnesota.
Throughout the tribal histories, other bits of information like important animals to the tribes like coyotes, turkeys, rabbits, or frogs are featured. I was also fascinated with a lot of the descriptions of clothing like moccasins, or the homemade dolls made from corn husks. Of course, I must mention all the high-quality National Geographic photos on every single page including children, scenery, and American Indians engaging in activities like dancing, cooking, and playing.
This comprehensive encyclopedia is absolutely fascinating and one that should be in schools and libraries all over the US. I will be gifting my copy to my nephew’s school for his students.
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