THE WIGWAM AND THE LONGHOUSE by Charlotte Yue
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THE WIGWAM AND THE LONGHOUSE

Age Range: 9 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An illustrated description of the land, history, and culture of American Indians of the Northeast woodlands, written by the author/illustrators of The Igloo (1988), The Pueblo (not reviewed), and other well-regarded nonfiction for older children. The native peoples of the northeastern parts of North America evolved a culture and way of life perfectly suited to their environment. Every aspect of their society, from agricultural practices to ceremonies, religion, politics, and their houses, reflected their culture’s emphasis on harmony, balance, and the responsibilities that all living things have towards one another. By describing with clarity, accuracy, and respect—but without sentimentality or fawning—every aspect of these people’s lives, the authors bring them to life and deepen the reader’s understanding of what was lost—and what survives. In both their illustrations and text, the Yues use telling details to give a strong sense of what life was like in an Iroquois or Algonquin village before the white men came. While they are respectful of their subjects’ beliefs, the authors do not shirk from describing those less exemplary aspects of Northeast Woodland Indian culture, particularly the role of war in their society and their cruelty towards enemies and prisoners. This balance extends most notably to the chapter on how the coming of the white man changed the lives of the native peoples (“The Clash of Cultures”). The authors describe how economic factors disrupted the native people’s lives, as did loss of land, introduction of disease, religious conversion, and displacement by white settlers. They also make clear that Native Americans did not passively accept the loss of their lands and disruption of their culture, but responded and adapted to change, creating ways to keep their culture alive today. A fine addition to an invaluable body of work by a proven team, and an essential purchase for school and public libraries. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-395-84169-0
Page count: 118pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2000




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