A STRANGE AND DISTANT SHORE by Brent Ashabranner

A STRANGE AND DISTANT SHORE

Age Range: 10 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

 In a work subtitled ``Indians of the Great Plains in Exile,'' Ashabranner (Our Beckoning Borders, p. 64, etc.) writes of the exile of 72 leaders and great warriors of the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains in 1873 to a grim, dank, old Spanish fort in St. Augustine, Florida. The fort was never intended for human habitation. The officer in charge, Captain Richard Pratt, who respected the Indians he met during his army career, had the prisoners' leg irons removed and allowed them to leave their underground cells and live in a large ground-level shed they constructed. Pratt brought in teachers, but the men were still exiles, desperately lonely for their people and their way of life. Many began to express their feelings in drawings that became a basis for later contemporary Native American painting and brought the artists recognition within the art world. After three years of imprisonment, the men were released and sent back to their families on reservations. As the full-color reproductions in the book attest, the legacy of the art remains; many of the thousand or so paintings that survived found homes in prestigious institutions and private collections. Ashabranner's work is a solid history that refutes many of the stereotypes of American Indians that prevailed a century ago and, sadly, linger today. A fine and important work. (b&w and full-color photos, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-525-65201-9
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1996




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