SPOTTED FLOWER AND THE PONOKOMITA by K. Follis Cheatham

SPOTTED FLOWER AND THE PONOKOMITA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Billed as an ""allegorical tale of an occurrence that could have happened around the year 1736,"" this tells of Spotted Flower, fourteen-year-old member of the Blackfoot Indian Nation of northern Montana, who returns home late one evening to discover that her people are gone and their village is occupied by the Snake or Shoshoni, an enemy tribe. She is terrified to see the captors mounted upon Spirit Power (horses being unknown to the Blackfoot, who traveled by dog teams). Avoiding such impediments as a buffalo stampede, Spotted Flower tracks down her people. En route she nurses and befriends a wounded riderless horse, and becomes convinced that this ""ponokomita"" is not an evil spirit but could, in fact, be a boon to her tribe once her elders are relieved of their superstitions and suspicions. Alas, Kills-Alone, a psychotic Blackfoot Warrior, eventually kills the horse to gain its power--but not before Spotted Flower has taught her father to ride, engineered the rescue of some captured comrades, and been declared a heroine for acting-like-a-man. As the sun fades Cheatham implies a future of family rides with handsome Sits-on-the-mountain, the brave who had come to her aid. Complicated? Simpleminded too.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1977
Publisher: Westminster