Voices of the people

Joseph Bruchac, 1942-

Book - 2022

"Through poems that capture the essence of each person's life, acclaimed Native American writer Joseph Bruchac introduces readers to famous indigenous leaders from The Peacemaker in 1000 A.D. to modern day dancer Maria Tallchief and Cherokee chief Wilma Mankiller. Each poem is illustrated by a modern-day tribally enrolled artist."--

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  • Introduction
  • About the art
  • 1. The Peacemaker
  • 2. Jikonsahseh
  • 3. Malintzin / La Malinche
  • 4. Pocahontas
  • 5. Tisquantum
  • 6. Po'pay
  • 7. Kateri Tekakwitha
  • 8. Pontiac / Obwandiyag
  • 9. Samson Occum
  • 10. Ganio-Dai-Yo / Handsome Lake
  • 11. Nancy Ward / Nanyehi
  • 12. Sacajawea
  • 13. Sequoyah
  • 14. Ely Parker Donehogawa
  • 15. Geronmio / Goyathlay
  • 16. Standing Bear / Ma-Chu-Na-Zhe
  • 17. Sitting Bull / Ttanka Iyotake
  • 18. Crazy Horse / Tashunka Witco
  • 19. Buffalo Calf Road Woman
  • 20. Quanah Parker
  • 21. Chief Joseph / In-Mut-Too-Yah-Lat-Lat
  • 22. Lozen
  • 23. Sarah Winnemucca / Thocmetony
  • 24. Wovoka
  • 25. Charles Alexander Eastman / Ohiyesa
  • 26. Susan La Flesche
  • 27. Elizabeth Burton "Lyda" Conley
  • 28. Gertrude Simmons / Zitkala-Sa
  • 29. Jim Thorpe
  • 30. Gladys Tantaquidgeon
  • 31. Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich
  • 32. Maria Tallchief
  • 33. Chester Nez
  • 34. Wilma Mankiller
Review by Horn Book Review

âeoeThose you are about to meet are real people, not stereotypes. They are women and men who truly were, through their words and their deeds, voices of the people.âe Bruchacâe(tm)s (Abenaki) biographical poems provide chronological introductions to thirty-four notable Native Americans, from the Peacemaker, a Wendat (Huron) leader who united five warring nations around 1000 C.E., to twentieth-century activist Wilma Mankiller, who was the Cherokee Nationâe(tm)s first woman head chief. What stand out most, however, are the accompanying reproductions of artwork by different contemporary Native artists working in a variety of media. Bruchac explains his selection process: some artists were paired with biographical subjects from the same tribe; other artistsâe(tm) work âeoeconnects to the subject of the biography in an important way.âe An appended âeoeMore about the Voicesâe section provides short ­paragraphs of information about the people highlighted, and Bruchac includes a poem about his own life. Intended, per the authorâe(tm)s note, to educate non-Native readers and to further inspire Native ones, this ambitious undertaking should encourage all people to learn more about the biographical subjects and to seek out work by the featured artists. Nicholl Denice MontgomeryMarch/April 2023 p.87 (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Biographical profiles of 34 Indigenous Americans, rendered as poems, are illustrated by nearly 30 enrolled tribal artists. Bruchac's introduction dispels stubborn stereotypes about Native people, disputing that their time was "back then, not in the present--or the future." By presenting profiles chronologically, from The Peacemaker (circa 1000 C.E.) to Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010), he elegantly unspools a more nuanced Native history. Free verse, arranged in stanzas with short lines and simple language, renders complex historical figures relatable for their courage, perseverance, and passion. While some of the subjects--Pocahontas, Geronimo, Jim Thorpe, and others--are covered in student curricula, Bruchac provides unique details and a fresh approach. He refutes the tired trope of a "romance" between preteen Pocahontas and John Smith, explaining that a White observer misinterpreted Smith's ritual adoption by the Powhatan Nation as violence, mistaking the girl's ceremonial role as intercession. Warriors, including women, defended their lands against Spanish, British, and American invaders. Po'Pay (circa1630-1688) helped unify the Pueblo villages against the Spanish colonizers, effectively repelling them for 12 years. Others bridged tribal and mainstream cultures through law, medicine, activism, religion, and art. Throughout, Bruchac meticulously details how the successive colonizers' brutality, deceit, and coercion scarred both individual members and tribal communities. The stellar art, representing varied media and styles, reifies tribal reverence and often uses humor, irony, and pop-cultural references to skewer stereotypes. A brilliant integration of Indigenous American art and history. (biographical thumbnails, author's note) (Historical poetry. 10-14) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.