RAVEN'S CRY by Christie Harris
Kirkus Star


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This is outstandingly well written narrative history. It follows the last 100 years of the Haidas, a prosperous, highly cultured tribe which once dominated the western shores of Canada. Mrs. Harris starts their story in the late eighteenth century, showing enough of their matriarchal family structure, their legends, their livelihood and their devotion to excellence in the arts to make the reader suspect that North America had a tribe to compete with the Aztec and Mayan. At this point, the first fur trading schooner finds them with brutally dramatic results. The intrusion of Western civilization brought firewater, tuberculosis, and the loss of a rigidly structured courtesy. No children's book has ever conveyed so well without rationalizing what the fundamentalist missionary can do when tribal myth and rite are withdrawn and a narrow Christianity offered in its place. By following one family of chiefs through the generations to the 1870's, the author shows the decimation of their numbers and the destruction of their pride. The black and white illustrations are by the great-nephew of their last and greatest totem carver. These have the same power in form that the text achieves.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1966
Publisher: Atheneum