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THE FLIGHT OF RED BIRD by Doreen Rappaport

THE FLIGHT OF RED BIRD

The Life of Zitkala-Sa

By Doreen Rappaport

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8037-1438-6
Publisher: Dial

 In this moving work, Rappaport (Tinker vs. Des Moines, 1993, etc.) adroitly recreates the life of a Native American woman born in 1876 on the Yankton Reservation in South Dakota who was forced to give up her cultural heritage and become ``civilized''--the consequence of which was her lifelong activism. At the age of eight, Gertrude left her home to attend a boarding school in Indiana; if she did not, her mother's food rations would be cut. As an adult, Gertrude wrote articles for the Atlantic Monthly describing her humiliation at how the US government tried to destroy tribal unity and traditional life and culture, signing her articles ``Zitkala-Sa,'' or Red Bird. Her letters, journals, poetry, and memoirs track the ``pain of her assimilation and her difficult journey back.'' In order to help unite Indians into a political force, Zitkala-Sa became active in the National Council of American Indians. An introduction explains how Rappaport assembled the material for her ``autobiographical biography,'' and the changes she made, based on her research. No matter how the book is categorized, readers will relish Zitkala-Sa's upholding of the warrior tradition with the ``new weapons learned from her enemy--her pen, the English language, and her organizational persistence.'' (b&w photos, chronology, glossary, sources, further reading, bibliography) (Biography. 10+)