CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 11 . . . . February 1, 2002
The lifestyles of North American indigenous peoples are featured in this four-volume series. In typical Kalman style, each book consists of 14 or 15 two-page chapters, plus an index and a glossary. Plenty of colour photographs, illustrations, maps and diagrams enhance the text.
Native Homes, the first title in the series, provides an overview of the different types of dwellings built by various groups across the continent. Climate and the availability of suitable building materials were the main determinants of the dwelling types. As well, there were often variations on a theme, one example being the tipi, which, depending on the location of its user group, could be covered with skins, grass or bark.
Both Life in a Longhouse Village and Life in a Plains Camp follow the same general pattern. These titles focus on family structure, marriage, the education of children, the division of labour and decision-making within the clan, and ceremonies and celebrations. The growing, preparation and cooking of food, building homes and making clothing and other useful items from natural materials are also featured. (In the title on the plains camp, the buffalo's importance is highlighted.)
Nations of the Plains focuses on the people's dependence on the buffalo and how the introduction of horses allowed the people to hunt the buffalo more easily and to relocate quickly should the need arise. A few paragraphs are devoted to each of several specific first nations groups. Finally, the book describes the changes, both positive and negative, brought about by the arrival of the fur traders and settlers and the building of the railroad.
Due to the nature of the subject matter, some information is bound to be repeated in each volume. Of the set, the "Life in..." titles contain more abundant, specific information that will be helpful to elementary students who are doing research.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.
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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.