Despite the odds, Jackson Sundown, a Nez Perce youth, became a champion rider.
In 1877 the United States Army attacked 17-year-old Jackson’s encampment, ending the Nez Perce’s famed attempt to avoid relocation from their homeland. He escaped and fled to Canada; meanwhile, the tribal leader, Chief Joseph, had no choice but to surrender, forcing the remaining Nez Perce to move to Indian Territory. Years later, Jackson returned from Canada and worked on ranches in Idaho training horses. When he was 49, he began entering rodeo competitions. He rode both horses and bulls and earned a reputation as a showman. At the age of 53, Jackson won the 1916 Pendleton Round-Up World Championship for bronco riding. Well after his death in 1923, Jackson was admitted to the Pendleton Roundup Hall of Fame, and in 1976 he was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the only Native American to be included. Following a brief overview of the last days of Nez Perce independence, Fisher’s biography focuses on Jackson’s career. In this straightforward account, the racism Sundown faced is touched on but not explored; the use of the term “costume” instead of the more respectful word “regalia” is a serious oversight. Cotton’s colorful and lively illustrations capture the spirit of the rodeo.
An unremarkable introduction to a remarkable man. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)