________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 17. . . .January 8, 2010.

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Haida. (Aboriginal Peoples of Canada).

Jennifer Nault.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-513-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-506-1 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Haida Indians-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**½/4

   
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Inuit. (Aboriginal Peoples of Canada).

Erinn Banting.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-517-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-510-8 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Inuit-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**½/4

   
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Ojibwa. (Aboriginal Peoples of Canada).

Michelle Lomberg.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-511-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-998-4 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Ojibwa Indians-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**½/4

   
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Sioux. (Aboriginal Peoples of Canada).

Anna Rebus.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-514-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-507-8 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Dakota Indians-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**½/4

   

 



excerpt:

The Haida made music with drums, rattles, and their voices. Drums were held in one hand. A stick was used to beat the drum. Rattles added a swishing sound to the music of the drums. They were meant to sound like salmon moving through water. The Haida often sang and danced to the sounds of drums and rattles. Their songs and dances told stories about Haida life and history. When dancing, the Haida wore masks that represented characters in the story. The Haida still perform these dances today. (From Haida.)



Part of the seven title “Aboriginal Peoples of Canada” series, these books provide very basic information about the featured Aboriginal groups. Each of the books has 10 chapters, beginning with a very brief history of the people and the geographical location in which they settled. Other topics include homes, clothing, food, tools, transportation, music and dance, and art. There is also a legend specific to the group as well as an activity for readers to try, using commonly found household items. A couple of related net links, some with video clips, are provided. Though the series has tremendous potential, there are several flaws: there are only a few short paragraphs in each chapter; some important information is omitted (for instance, in the title about the Inuit, only two examples of tools are given, the polar bear is not even mentioned, and the importance of the seal to the Inuit’s diet and lifestyle is barely acknowledged); and there is an inconsistency in the amount of information in different chapters, some being more detailed than others.

     The books are attractive in their layout. Text is printed in a simple font and is easy to comprehend. But the main strength of these titles is the visually appealing illustrations. They consist of drawings, paintings, diagrams and colour photographs that help to bring the featured culture to life and partially make up for the minimal information in the text. A table of contents and a very brief glossary and index are included.


     Known for their red cedar longhouses and their totem poles, the Haida live off the west coast of British Columbia. In Haida, readers will learn about the distinctive designs used in art, cedar bark clothing and spruce tree hats, as well as the importance of salmon to the Haida diet, and the two main tools that were used to catch the salmon. Children can make a Haida mask following the instructions provided.


     The Inuit were a migratory people, following animal herds for their main food source. Inuit describes the various articles of clothing, seasonal homes, foods, and the methods of transportation that helped the Inuit to survive in such a harsh environment. A recipe for bannock is included as the activity.


     There are three main groups of Ojibwa: the Plains, the Woodlands and the Northern. Ojibwa highlights their wigwams, their clothing, often decorated with porcupine needles, and their use of plants, such as wild rice, berries, maple trees (for syrup) and spruce trees (for tea), to supplement their diet of deer, moose and bison. Their birchbark canoes and snowshoes contributed greatly to the exploration of their surroundings. Readers will learn about birchbark art made by scratching designs and going over the marks with one’s teeth. The featured activity is birchbark biting on wax paper, although this activity is, perhaps, better suited to trying at home rather than at school. Though powwows are mentioned, there is no explanation of their significance.


     Finally, Sioux briefly discusses the importance of the bison, the decoration of deerskin clothing with objects found in nature, and the people’s use of horses, dogs and the travois for transportation. A Sioux creation story is the featured legend while the art activity is the making of a winter count on brown craft paper. This activity is meant to mimic the Sioux tradition of passing their history to future generations by means of a tanned piece of animal hide on which are painted pictures symbolizing important events. Generally, these titles have some good, but very basic, information and accompanying illustrations, but they would only be worthy of purchase as a supplement to a classroom or library collection, not as the main source of information.

Recommended with reservations.

Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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