Kirkus Reviews QR Code
AS LONG AS THE RIVERS FLOW by Paula Gunn Allen

AS LONG AS THE RIVERS FLOW

The Stories of Nine Native Americans

By Paula Gunn Allen (Author) , Patricia Clark Smith (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-590-47869-9
Publisher: Scholastic

 Allen and Smith eschew polemics to deliver a collection of biographies marked by integrity and balance. The title is taken from the language of many treaties between Native Americans and the US government; meant to mean ``forever,'' the phrase was honored more often in the government's breach than not. The book is inclusive, covering contemporary figures as well as historical ones: Subjects, from many tribes and of both sexes, were selected for their success in politics, the arts, and sports- -and, readers may sense, with the Iroquois wisdom firmly in mind that those ``doing the deciding should think about the seven generations in front of them and about the seven generations in back of them,'' since the achievements highlighted reflect and reaffirm traditional native values as well. While most readers will know of Louise Erdrich, Will Rogers, Geronimo, and Wilma Mankiller, few will recognize Weetamoo, the Pocasset warrior who served as sachem, or leader, of her tribe of the Algonquin nation during Pilgrim times. Also included are athlete Jim Thorpe; ballerina Maria Tallchief; Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell; and sculptor Michael Naranjo. For each, Allen and Smith provide a cultural mosaic into which that person's life fits. This distinguished book merits a place on every shelf, not just those built to meet multicultural needs. (index, b&w photos and illustrations, not seen, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-12)