This book for older young readers covers twelve topics relating to the experiences of Native Americans: Assimilation, Allotment, Indian New Deal, Termination, Relocation, Tribal Activism, Self-Determination, Indian Child Welfare and Education, Religious Freedom, Economic Development, Language Revival, and Sovereign Resurgence.
The author writes that she was motivated by the fact that “Most people do not know what happened to Native Nations and our citizens after treaty making stopped in 1871.” She wants to remedy that and show that “We are still here!”
Using colorful folk-art style illustrations by Frané Lessac, Sorell lays out the history of Native America by enumerating some of the assaults on tribal people and culture through the years, including forced relocation, forced assimilation, and broken treaties. Each section ends with “We are still here!”
It is a horrifying tale, of course, although Sorell doesn’t go into sordid details. Rather, the focus is a positive one on the perseverance and determination that enabled Native Nations to survive “disease, war, and federal rules meant to destroy us and our way of life.”
Back matter includes more details about each topic, an extensive timeline, glossary, sources, and an Author’s Note.
Evaluation: This is an excellent book. Nevertheless, I can’t see this book surviving the determination of some in American society to eliminate any negative facts about the country’s history from the curriculum, and that’s yet another insult to add to the shameful history revealed, however lightened up, in its pages.
Published by Charlesbridge, 2021
I love the message as well as the illustrations in the book.