An unhappy “urban skin” from Los Angeles reclaims his Cheyenne heritage in the course of an adventurous summer with relatives on the reservation.
Saddled at home with a stepfather and at school with both a hostile principal and a bully who calls him “Tonto” and “redskin,” Daniel Wind is relieved to be sent off to a summer wilderness-survival camp in Montana run by his uncle. Though he is pleased to discover that the reservation has television and Internet access, he absorbs traditional values and culture from his grandfather as he makes friends, learns to ride and comes to appreciate the Big Sky Country’s beauties. Ultimately, he uses both digital and organizational skills to head up a rescue of buffalo (“Buffalo People,” as his grandfather calls them) slated for culling from the Yellowstone Park herd. That 200-mile bison drive passes in just a few paragraphs, though. Unfortunately, Robinson devotes more attention to spiritual homilies (“Our special gift is knowing that all things on this earth are related”), a simplistic explanation of white prejudice against Native Americans and the formal naming ceremony that Daniel earns with his “rite of passage.”
The agenda riding this unvarnished tale may leave young readers who aren’t Native Americans feeling like they’re on the outside looking in—not necessarily a bad thing, considering the vast quantity of books that do the opposite. (Fiction. 10-16)