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Bierhorst, John ed.; Curtis, Edward S., photog. The Girl Who Married a Ghost. New York, NY: Macmillan Child Group; 1984. 113 pages. (Four Winds Press, 1978) (elementary/secondary).

This collection contains of nine of the 350 tales collected by photographer Edward S. Curtis (1868--1952). These tales represent sacred origin stories, ghost stories, trickster tales, and non-sacred campfire tales. The book is organized by geographic area---Plains, Northwest Coast, and California---each with a short introduction. The book is illustrated with Curtis' photographs. Curtis has received criticism for "staging" his subjects, creating culturally inaccurate portraits. Bierhorst has edited these tales into simple, easy prose. e/s/legend/Plains/Northwest Coast/California.

Burland, Cottie; Wood, Marion, revised by. North American Indian Mythology. rev. 1965 ed. New York, NY: Peter Bedrick Books; 1985. 144 pages. (The Library of the World's Myths and Legends). (secondary).

This is a profusely illustrated survey of American Indian mythology. The introduction discusses the origins of North American Indians with brief descriptions of traditional culture of the various geographic areas. Other sections relate traditional stories from the Inuit, Navajo, Cree, Pueblos, and peoples of the Northwest Coast, the Plains, and the Southeast. The final section briefly discusses the impact of European contact on traditional cultures. Not a useful source for information on the continuing influence of oral history and traditional literature on the lives of contemporary Indian people. Includes a list of "Chief Gods and Spirits of North America," a reading list, and an index. Illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs and illustrations including those of false-face masks and sand paintings---items that are sacred to their respective cultures---and it is often considered disrespectful to publish images of this type of material culture.

Connolly, James E., comp; Adams, Andrea, illus. Why the Possum's Tail is Bare and Other North American Indian Nature Tales. Owings Mills, MD: Stemmer House; 1985. 64 pages. (upper elementary) *.

Sources are cited for these thirteen animal legends collected from eight tribes. The introduction provides a brief overview of the lifeways of the eight tribes represented, and each story is preceded by a paragraph discussing some of the characteristics of the animals and supernatural beings in the tales. The language of the stories is simple and accessible for young readers. Includes appealing, realistic drawings.

Dixon, Ann; Watts, James. How Raven Brought Light to People. New York, NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1992. 30 pages. (elementary).

This beautifully illustrated Northwest Coast (no tribe indicated) legend tells the story of Raven, who brings light to the world by releasing the sun, moon, and stars from the boxes in which a great chief has been storing them. The simple story is complemented by full-page, full-color acrylic and watercolor paintings.

Griffin, Trenholme Ed.; Chodos-Irvine, Margaret, illus. Ah Mo: Indian Legends from the Northwest. Surry, B.C., Canada: Hancock House; 1990. 64 pages. (elementary).

This collection of legends, each two to four pages in length, from the Twana, Suquamish, Snohomish, and other Northwest Coast tribes in Washington State is illustrated with simple black-and-white line drawings. Includes an introduction, suggested reading list, list of museums with significant collections of Northwest Coast material, as well as information on the man who originally collected and compiled the legends---Judge Arthur E. Griffin.

Levitt, Paul M.; Guralnick, Elissa S.; Roche, Carolynn, illus. The Stolen Appaloosa and Other Indian Stories. Longmont, CO: Bookmakers Guild, Inc.; 1988. 96 pages. (upper elementary).

The authors have embellished five legends from the Northwest Coast, based on a collection of notes, compiled by anthropologist Franz Boas. Illustrated with beautiful watercolors.

Monroe, Jean Guard; Williamson, Ray A.; Carlson, Susan Johnston, illus. First Houses: Native American Homes and Sacred Structures. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 147 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

This is a collection of legends associated with American Indian houses and sacred structures from the temperate zone of North America. Stories about the Plains tipi, Iroquois longhouse, Navajo hogan, and a variety of other house types show how the designs for these ancient dwellings set the pattern for homes of today. Most of the stories were collected directly from Indian storytellers and were originally published in scholarly books and journals, "reduced to lifeless prose." The authors have presented the stories here "in a form that we hope conveys more of the liveliness of the original telling."

Monroe, Jean Guard; Williamson, Ray A.; Sturat, Edgar, illus. They Dance in the Sky: Native American Star Myths. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin; 1987. 118 pages. (upper elementary/secondary) *.

This book is a well documented presentation of American Indian star stories. The first two chapters compare various legends about the Pleiades and the Big Dipper. The rest of the book is arranged by tribe or region---Southwest, Pawnee, Plains, California, Northwest Coast, and Southeast. An introductory paragraph to each story provides a brief outline of the tribe's history. Where available, explanations are suggested as to how events described in the stories might relate to the seasonal movement of the stars. A bibliography provides sources (generally scholarly papers) for each story presented. The preface notes that legends reinforce behavioral standards for the people. It also explains that the stories are meant to be read aloud, since a certain quality is lost when an oral text is set down in print. Illustrated with black-and-white drawings, the book includes an index and a glossary with a pronunciation guide.

Shetterly, Susan Hand; Shetterly, Robert, illus. Raven's Light, A Myth from the People of the Northwest Coast. New York, NY: Atheneum; 1991. 28 pages. (lower elementary).

The story of how Raven brought daylight to the world is recreated from the myths of the Tlingit, Haida, Kwakuitl, and Tsimshian. Explanatory notes would be a welcome addition to this somewhat confusing narrative. Full-color illustrations.


Allen, D. Indians of the Northwest Coast. Seattle, WA: Hancock House Publishers Inc.; 1977. 32 pages. (elementary).

This book contains color photographs and brief descriptions of the land, people, traditional houses, ceremonies, design, totem poles, and material culture of the Northwest Coast. This is followed by brief (one-page) sections on the Salish, Nootka, Kwakiutl, Bella Coola, Haida, Tsimshian, and Tlingit. The focus is completely on traditional culture, with little reference to contemporary life.

Allen, D. Totem Poles of the Northwest. Seattle, WA: Hancock House Publishers Inc.; 1977. 32 pages. (elementary).

Full-color photographs and brief text describe the designs and various meanings of totem, memorial, mortuary, and house poles. Included are brief descriptions of the poles, by tribe.

Ashwell, Reg; Thorton, J. M., illus. Indian Tribes of the Northwest. North Vancouver, B.C.: Hancock House; 1989, 1977, 64 pages. (secondary).

This book consists of one- and two-page descriptions of traditional lifeways and cultures of American Indian groups in British Columbia. Illustrated with archival photographs and line drawings.

Bains, Rae; Guzzi, George, illus. Indians of the West. Mahwah, NJ: Troll Associates; 1985. 30 pages. (lower elementary) ?.

This is a brief overview of the pre-Contact lifeways of the Indians of the Northwest Coast, Southwest, California, and of the inland Paiute, Bannock, and Ute peoples. The book focuses on housing, subsistence, the potlatch, and Southwest and California Indian religions. The effort to cover so much material in such a limited book results in broad generalizations with little attempt to explain underlying structure. For instance, Northwest Coast Indians are characterized as "wasteful," without context or explanation of the importance of the potlatch as a means of redistributing wealth within the society. The book declares, "Strangely, all the California Indians lived off the rich land without making any effort to develop it into farms," but does not explain why the Indians of that area had no need to farm in order to flourish. No information on contemporary Indian culture is given.

Bancroft-Hunt, Norman; Forman, Werner, photog. People of the Totem: The Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Norman, OK: P. Bedrick Books; 1989, University of Oklahoma Press 1979. 128 pages. (secondary) *.

This is a clearly written history of Northwest Coast Indians. The introduction briefly describes traditional life, then examines the complex interaction between Euroamericans and Indians during the 19th century, and the effects of contact on all aspects of Indian culture. The period from 1930 to the present is described as a time of population growth and renewed confidence, government attempts to improve relationships with Indian communities, and a return to tribal traditions. Includes chapters on Northwest Coast societies, the potlatch, the supernatural, legend, and cosmology, and dance and ceremony. Illustrated with color photographs, the book contains a bibliography and an index.

Baylor, Byrd; Ingram, Jerry (Choctaw), illus. They Put on Masks. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons; 1974. 47 pages. (lower elementary).

This book beautifully describes the forms and functions of masks among the Eskimo, Northwest Coast cultures, Iroquois, Navajo, Apache, Hopi, Zuni, and Yaqui. The book evokes the powerful feelings associated with masks and provides much descriptive information. It is important to note that many American Indians find depicting masks and using them for classroom activities offensive.

Beckman, Stephen Dow. The Indians of Western Oregon: This Land Was Theirs. Coos Bay, OR: Arago Books; 1977. 203 pages. (secondary) *.

This is an excellent, detailed history of the Chinook and lesser-known Indian groups of Western Oregon. The book includes origin stories; a clearly presented introduction to the science of archaeology; a discussion of the peopling of America; post-Contact decline; loss of land; and, for some groups, loss of legal status as American Indians. While the book focuses on groups in Oregon, it addresses general issues relating to American Indian history. Includes extensive notes, annotated bibliography, glossary, and index.

Beyer, Don. The Totem Pole Indians of the Northwest. New York, NY: Franklin Watts; 1989. 64 pages. (upper elementary).

An informative book that discusses pre-Contact culture of Northwest Coast Indians, with only three pages on post-Contact life. The first chapter briefly describes an archaeological excavation of a 500-year-old Makah village. Illustrated with photographs of artifacts.

Boiteau, Denise; Stansfield, David. Early Peoples: A History of Canada. Markham, Ontario, Canada: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd.; 1988. 64 pages. (upper elementary) *.

Based on the first three programs of the Canadian television series, "Origins," which explores the history of the peoples of Canada up to 1885, this book is divided into three chapters: "A New World"; "The First Nations"; and "Lost Civilizations." Each chapter includes several units that begin with questions to consider and end with creative research activities and discussion questions. This book clearly explains the differences between evolution and creation, and asserts that these theories do not oppose one another.

Brandt, Keith; Guzzi, George, illus. Indian Festivals. Mahwah, NJ: Troll Associates; 1985. 30 pages. (lower elementary) ?.

The book briefly describes the festivals held by American Indians in the Eastern Woodlands (Iroquois, Algonquian), Southeast (Muskogee), Plains, Southwest (Pueblo), California, and Northwest Coast regions. The book uses the word "braves" and includes generalizations and stereotypes Native peoples. For example, "The Indians who lived in California did not hunt or farm. They lived entirely on acorns that were gathered from trees. But while their lives were easy and peaceful, their festivals were almost totally concerned with death."

Brown, Vinson. Native Americans of the Pacific Coast. Published as Peoples of the Sea by MacMillan (1977) ed. Happy Camp, CA: Naturegraph Publishers; 1985. 272 pages. (secondary).

The book describes lifeways (social organization, economy, religion) of selected tribes from the four culture areas along the Pacific Coast (Arctic, Subarctic, Northwest Coast, and California) during the period 1500--1700. Nine of the eighteen descriptions are followed by fictional stories intended to illustrate the spirit and essence of the people. The author runs a risk inherent to fictionalizing about past societies---that of attributing thoughts and actions to the characters that may be alien or unlikely for people in that society. In one story, a young Kwakuitl girl questions the violence of one of her tribe's rituals. This pairing of fictional opinion with fact might lead the reader to feel that all aspects of the story are culturally accurate. Unfortunately, this combination of lists of facts with fictional stories fails to coalesce into a comprehensible introduction to the many cultures described. Lengthy appendices list Pacific Coast languages, material culture, and religious and social elements of each group. Includes a useful bibliography.

Buan, Carolyn M.; Lewis, Richard, eds. The First Oregonians: An Illustrated Collection of Essays on Traditional Lifeways, Federal-Indian Relations, and the State's Native People Today. Portland, OR: Oregon Council for the Humanities; 1991. 127 pages. (secondary) *.

This overview of the nine federally recognized tribal groups in Oregon presents information on traditional lifeways, languages, Euroamerican contact, federal-Indian relations, misconceptions about Indians, and Oregon Indians today. The final section includes essays describing projects undertaken by tribes to help recover their people's heritage. An excellent resource, illustrated with archival and contemporary photographs.

Cochran, George (Cherokee); Cochran, George, illus. Indian Portraits of the Pacific Northwest: Thirty of the Principal Tribes. Reprint from 1959 ed. Portland, OR: Binford & Mort Publishing; 1991. 64 pages. (elementary) ?.

This simple reference contains brief descriptions of thirty Pacific Northwest tribes. The short paragraphs on each tribe focus entirely on traditional rather than on contemporary life. Following the tribe's name in each section is a short highlighted phrase, presumably included as a quick description of each culture group. These phrases offer only broad generalizations, for example: "Made their living from the sea" and "Measured wealth in woodpecker scalps." Stereotypes abound throughout the text. The Rogue River Indians are characterized as "...a warlike people, proud and haughty, but treacherous," and the Quillayute are described as being involved in "petty warfare [that] was constant between them until the United States gained control." Full-page black-and-white portraits represent each group.

Garrod, Stan; Acorn Technical Art, illus. Indians of the Northwest Coast. Don Mills, Ontario: Fitzhenry and Whiteside; 1980. 64 pages. (Man in his World Series). (upper elementary).

This informative workbook on Northwest Coast cultures and their geographical surroundings include information on area geography and topography, art, fishing, community history, European contact, and contemporary history. Many questions and activities are given for teaching purposes. Includes black-and-white and one-color illustrations, diagrams, maps, and charts, and archival and contemporary black-and-white photographs.

Hofsinde, Robert (Gray-Wolf); Gray-Wolf, illus. Indian Costumes. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company; 1968. 94 pages. (upper elementary).

This simple reference on the traditional dress of various American Indian tribes makes distinctions between clothing used for everyday purposes, warfare, and ceremonial occasions. Includes detailed black-and-white illustrations. While the author uses the word "costume," more appropriate would be the terms "clothing," "dress," and "regalia." Stereotypical Indian dress is a popular "costume" for Halloween and western movies.

Jones, Jayne Clark. The American Indian in America. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Company; 1973; Vol. I. 104 pages. (The In America Series). (secondary).

This is comprehensive overview of the history and lifeways of American Indians from pre-Contact to the late 1800s. A detailed introduction explains the term "prehistory" and what is known of paleo-Indians from research and archaeological findings on the North American continent. Subsequent sections describe subsistence areas, including the Arctic, the Northwest Coast, and the Great Plains. The book's final section describes conflicts between Indians and white settlers during the colonial period. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs, drawings, and maps. Includes index and additional information on tribes and language families.

Mathers, Sharon; Skinner, Linda; Tafoya, Terry; Fernandes, Roger, illus. The Mamook Book: Activities for Learning about the Northwest Coast Indians. Seattle, WA: The United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (Daybreak Press); 1979. 38 pages. (lower elementary).

This activity book tells the story of Native people living in the Pacific Northwest Coast area. The informative text helps dispel stereotypes. Includes suggested readings and films as well as places to visit.

McConkey, Lois; Tait, Doug illus. Sea and Cedar: How the Northwest Coast Indians Lived. Vancouver, Canada: Camden House Press; 1991. 32 pages. (How They Lived in Canada). Douglas and McIntyre, 1990 (reprint of 1973), 30 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

The cultures of the Northwest Coast are discussed from the perspective of the important resources they receive from the sea and the cedar tree. The focus is on traditional subsistence and material culture: housing, canoes, tools, food. While the potlatch, religious beliefs, and art are covered, social organization and contemporary life are not. A well presented and well explained reference. Includes good black-and-white illustrations of material culture, though the introductory map is confusing, as it offers no reference points.

McNutt, Nan; Osawa, Yasu and Jackson, Nathan, illus. The Bentwood Box: An Activity Book. Petersburg, AL: Nan McNutt; 1984. 33 pages. (elementary).

Recommended for ages nine through fourteen by the author, this activity book first describes how bentwood boxes are traditionally made and then leads the reader through various activities to understand the shapes that make up Northwest Coast designs. The colorful and attractive cover of the book is used for making the bentwood box. Includes adult teaching guides with activities and references for further reading.

Morgan, Lael ed.; Morgan, Lael, photog. Alaska's Native People. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Geographic Society; 1979. 302 pages. (Volume 6, #3) (upper elementary/secondary).

This lavishly illustrated book from the Alaska Geographic Society "attempts to explain, in a few words, a few maps, and a lot of pictures, just who and where are the many vastly differing `Native peoples' of Alaska." Organized into sections on the Inupiat; the Yup'ik; the Aleut; the Koniag, Chugach, and Eyak; the Athabascan; the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian, the book also includes a section on urban Natives. The book gives useful background information and encourages the reader to seek more information on contemporary Alaskan Natives. Beautifully illustrated with many full-page color photographs of the Alaskan land and people, giving a good sense of contemporary life in the Arctic. Includes "Important Dates in Native History," a separate wall map on "Alaska's Native Peoples," and an extensive bibliography.

Muckle, Robert J. The First Nations. Vancouver, B.C.: UBC Press, 1998. 146 pages. (secondary).

This readable, general introduction to the native peoples of British Columbia describes who the First Nations are, what archaeological records reveal about their past, their traditional lifeways (religion and mythology, healing practices, language, etc.), and how outside influences and events (the fur trade, gold rush, residential schools) have brought about culture change and modernization. The book is well illustrated with black and white photographs and maps. Appendices list the First Nations and major ethnic groups as well as provide excerpts of significant political issues. The book also contains a glossary and selected bibliography.

Payne, Elizabeth; Davis, Jack, illus. Meet the North American Indians. New York, NY: Random House; 1965. 85 pages. (Step Up Books). (lower elementary) ?.

This reprint of a 1965 publication describes in simple prose for young readers the peopling of America and the pre-Contact lifeways of representative tribes of the Northwest Coast, Southwest, Southeast, Plains, and Northeast. Post-Contact and modern life are not covered. The book abounds in generalizations, stereotypes, and condescension. Examples include: "The Creek would fight anyone for no reason at all. The Creek just loved to fight"; "The Creek played [lacrosse] fiercely. Arms and legs were broken. Heads were just split open. This was just part of the fun to the Creek"; "Makah rain hats were pointed at the top. Maybe this was because the heads of the Makah were pointed at the top, too!" Black, white, and orange illustrations are similarly stereotypical and tend to focus on the unusual and bizarre.

Shemie, Bonnie; Shemie, Bonnie, illus. Houses of Wood: Native Dwellings of the Northwest Coast. Plattsburgh, NY: Tundra Books; 1992. 24 pages. (elementary/secondary) *.

Beginning with the felling of trees, the author describes how the village houses of the Northwest Coast were built; the various house styles, some fronted with totem poles, others with murals; and how the interiors were used. The text and illustrations reveal more than just the architecture---they also provide some understanding of everyday life.

Siberell, Anne; Siberell, Anne, illus. Whale in the Sky. New York, NY: Dutton Child Books; 1985. 32 pages. (lower elementary).

This is a story about Thunderbird and Whale and how a Northwest Coast carver translates the story into a totem pole. Stylized color illustrations show the various characters of the story. What gives this book its special quality is the final illustration of the totem pole, making clear for young readers how the story of Thunderbird and Whale is expressed on the totem pole. A final page shows the tools used in carving and tells how colors are made.

Watson, Jane Werner; Howell, Troy, illus. The First Americans: Tribes of North America. New York, NY: Pantheon Books; 1980. 42 pages. (I Am Reading Book).(lower elementary).

This brief overview describes the lifeways of the people who lived on the Plains and in the Eastern Woodlands, Arctic, Northwest Coast, and Southwest. In an effort to cover so many different culture areas, the author oversimplifies, and delineations between culture areas are unclear. Descriptions of male activities predominate. Includes black-and-white illustrations.


Kesey, Ken; Waldman, Neil, illus. The Sea Lion: A Story of the Sea Cliff People. New York, NY: Viking; 1991. 48 pages. (elementary) ?.

In this story, the fictional Sea Cliff people are saved by one of their own spurned slaves. The author states that the themes for this story are taken from the oral traditions of Northwest Coast. The themes, however, are more "New Age" than traditional in character in this confusing narrative. Includes beautiful, full-color illustrations.

Lund, Annabel; Kelley, Mark, photog. Heartbeat: World Eskimo Indian Olympics. Juneau, AK: Fairweather Press; 1986. 120 pages. (secondary) *.

The World Eskimo Indian Olympics (WEIO) are competitions and demonstrations of Alaska Native music, dances, and games that have been held annually for over thirty years. In this unique festival, six Alaska Native groups are represented as they demonstrate and compete in traditional activities such as seal skinning, the blanket toss, the high kick, kayak races, and dances. This book documents the 1985 games---focusing on many individuals involved in organizing and participating in the games---and includes descriptions of each of the sporting events and dances. Much information on contemporary Alaska Indians and Eskimos is included in descriptions of people and places involved. Many black-and-white photographs of participants evoke the atmosphere of the games.

Parsons, Elsie Clews, ed.; La Farge, C. Grant, illus. North American Indian Life: Customs and Traditions of 23 Tribes. Reprint of B.W. Huebsch Inc. 1922 ed. New York, NY: Dover Publications Inc.; 1992. 419 pages. (secondary).

Reprinted from the original 1922 edition, this book includes twenty-seven fictional narratives, written by anthropologists, about various North and Central American Indian cultures. The editor attempts to provide a more realistic view of American Indians than was currently available from popular literature; the resulting collection is uneven. Most of the stories present the culture from the inside; two that are drawn directly from American Indian sources are particularly successful. Others may leave the reader more confused than informed. Some of the attitudes and concepts are outmoded. The introduction, by A.L. Kroeber, refers to the cultures described in this collection as representing "a ladder of culture of advancement," and speaks of an anthropologist and "his Indians." Notes on the various tribes give 1922 statistics, and accompanying bibliographies have not been updated.

Passey, Helen K. Speak to the Rain. New York, NY: Atheneum; 1989. 167 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

Two sisters, seventeen-year-old Janna and nine-year-old Karen, move to Washington State with their alcoholic father after their mother dies in an automobile accident. Karen is soon drawn to mysterious sounds and visions emanating from a lake near their house. With the help of a friend and a school math teacher, who has an extracurricular interest in "Northwest Indian groups," Janna discovers that the voices calling her young sister are spirits of Indian villagers (no tribe indicated), who were drowned in a flood many years before. The spirits are unable to cross over to the village of the "salmon people" without the help of their shaman, who was also drowned. Janna's teacher requests the help of a museum preservation society and a present-day shaman to help free the spirits and lead them to the salmon village. Awkwardly written, with no references provided for the Indian material in the story, this book is an example of stereotypically presenting American Indians as the source of mystical events experienced by the white characters.


Rafe, Martin; Shannon, David, illus. The Boy Who Lived with the Seals. New York, NY: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1993. 30 pages. (lower elementary).

This story "is based on a very short story told by the Chinook people of the Northwest Coast" and describes a boy who mysteriously disappears while playing by a river. He is discovered years later living with seals. Includes attractive full-color, full-page illustrations.


Trafzer, Clifford E. (Wyandot). Chinook. New York, NY: Chelsea House Publishers; 1990. 111 pages. (Frank W. Porter III, Gen. Ed. North American Indians). (upper elementary/secondary).

This book describes the Chinook, who traditionally inhabited what is now northwestern Oregon and southeastern Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River. The pre-Contact lifeways of the Chinook are explained followed by an examination of the effects of contact with European and, later, with American pioneers. Although smallpox and other European-introduced diseases devastated the population and changed Chinook life forever, their culture survived to deal with critical 20th-century issues such as land claims and the revitalization of culture and community. Includes a color photo essay titled "Crafts of the Columbia," a glossary, a bibliography, and "Chinook-at-a-Glance." Illustrated with archival and black-and-white photographs and maps.


Beck, Mary Giraudo; Oliver, Marvin (Native), illus. Shamans and Kushtakas: North Coast Tales of the Supernatural. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Northwest Books; 1991. 127 pages. (secondary) *.

A well written collection of stories from the Tlingit and Haida of the Northwest Coast, based on the conflict between the characters of the shaman and the kushtaka, representing good and evil, respectively. The shaman struggles to protect his people from the kushtaka, an evil spirit who is half human and half land otter. A clearly written introduction discusses the complexity of the stories and their roles in dramatizing the values and traditions of Northwest Coast society. Sources of the stories are not cited. Includes traditional style Northwest Coast black-and-white illustrations.

Reid, Bill (Haida); Bringhurst, Robert; Reid, Bill, illus. The Raven Steals the Light. Vancouver, Canada: Douglas & McIntyre; 1984. 91 pages. (secondary).

This collection of traditional Haida legends represents "a collaboration between one of the finest living artists in North America and one of Canada's finest poets." The legends tell of the origins of the Haida people, and recount the adventures of Raven and various human and animal figures common to Haida legend. Each tale is accompanied by a detailed black-and-white illustration representative of traditional Northwest Coast imagery.

Reid, Martine J.; Conkle, Nancy, illus. Myths & Legends of the Haida Indians of the Northwest: The Children of the Raven. Santa Barbara, CA: Bellerophon Books; 1990. 47 pages. (elementary).

This is a selection of Haida stories about Raven as a culture hero and trickster, and Bear Mother and Father and Nanasimgat, characters involved with marriage alliances and access to wealth. Includes black-and-white illustrations of objects from museum and private collections that can be colored and, in some cases, cut out and made into totem poles.


Hall, Frances Cushing; Hall, Frances Cushing, illus. Indian Life in the Willamette Valley. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon Museum of Natural History; 1981. 30 pages. (upper elementary).

A sketchy account of the Kalapuya of the Willamette Valley, Oregon, "as it might well have been at the beginning of the 19th century." This brief monograph includes basic facts about selected aspects of traditional life, such as clothing, homes, gathering and preparing wild foods, hunting, making canoes, and burial practices. Illustrated with simple black-and-white drawings. Short bibliography included.


Fikes, Jay Courtney; Nix, Nelleke, illus. Step Inside the Sacred Circle: Aboriginal American Animal Allegories. Bristol, IN: Wyndham Hall Press; 1989. 54 pages. (secondary)

This collection of seven American Indian animal stories demonstrates values that humans can learn from the animals, such as bravery, compassion, and cooperation. Sources are cited, and each story is accompanied by extensive explanatory notes. The introduction states that the collection is intended to strengthen our ties to the natural world and increase our spiritual insight. Includes black-and-white illustrations.


McNutt, Nan. The Button Blanket: An Activity Book, Ages 5-9. Petersburg, AK: The Workshop; 1986. 41 pages. (elementary).

The first thirteen pages of this activity book relate the story of Ann, a young Kwakiutl girl, who is going to attend a potlatch, where she will participate in her first dance and wear a new button blanket. The blanket is made by her grandmother, with the help of Ann and her mother, and its crest is designed by Ann's uncle. The following pages provide instructions and patterns for making basic shapes in Northwest Coast art, the designs for the blanket crest, and the blanket itself, using the front and back covers of the book. An adult teaching guide is included.

Neel, David (Kwakiutl). Our Chiefs and Elders: Words and Photographs of Native Leaders. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press; 1992. 191 pages. (secondary) *.

This is a unique collection of beautiful photographic portraits of Kwakiutl elders in British Columbia that "break through the stereotypes that have dominated portraits of aboriginal people in North America." Each elder is photographed both in traditional dress and in everyday clothing and surroundings, showing the people "as they are---with their lives in two worlds, two cultures...." In a series of conversations, the elders talk about their lives and histories, and well as contemporary issues. The text remains "as unedited as possible," in order to let the people speak for themselves. The introduction contains useful information on the history of American Indian photography and stereotypes. Bibliography included.

Walens, Stanley. The Kwakiutl. New York, NY: Chelsea House Publishers; 1992. 119 pages. (Frank W. Porter III, Gen. Ed. Indians of North America). (upper elementary/secondary).

The Kwakiutl traditionally lived in isolated villages along the northern and eastern coasts of Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland of British Columbia. Each village was politically autonomous and together they comprised the Kwakiutl Nation. The book describes the traditional lifeways of the Kwakiutl, and the impact of the fur trade, missionaries, and Canadian legislation that included the anti-potlatch law. In addition, the book explains the Indian political action of the 1960s that demanded recognition of Native rights, and the cultural revitalization programs that exist today. A special insert section of color photographs is titled "Objects of Power and Beauty." Illustrated with black-and-white archival photographs and a map; includes a bibliography, "Kwakiutl-at-a-Glance," glossary, and index.


Craven, Margaret. I Heard the Owl Call My Name. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday & Company, Inc.; 1973. 166 pages. (secondary).

In the 1960s, young, terminally ill priest Mark Brian is sent to a remote Kwakiutl parish in British Columbia. Sensitive and respectful, he shares in the peoples' hardships and sorrows and earns their trust. He learns that the Indians are..."none of the things one has been led to believe. They are not simple, or emotional, they are not primitive." He learns, too, that "there was no one truth [of the Indian]. He had learned a little of the truth of one tribe in one village...." The Kwakiutl are consistently referred to as "the Indians." The characters are somewhat romanticized, but this is as true for the whites as for the Kwakiutl.


Coehlene, Terri; Reasoner, Charles, illus. Clamshell Boy: A Makah Legend. Mahwah, NJ: Watermill Press; 1990. 47 pages. (Native American Legends). (lower elementary).

The book is a retelling of the Makah legend of Clamshell Boy, who killed the wicked giantess Basket Woman and brought the custom of the potlatch to the people of the Northwest Coast. Full-color illustrations incorporate Northwest Coast design motifs. A ten-page information section---illustrated with map and archival photographs and black-and-white drawings---covers environment, subsistence, potlatch, slavery, and community life. This section refers to traditional life only; there is no mention of the Makah today. A table of dates and a glossary are included.

Matson, Emerson N. Legends of the Great Chiefs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1974. 125 pages. (upper elementary).

This is a collection of twenty-two stories most as remembered by tribal elders from the Makah, Nisqually, Nez Perce, Oglala Sioux, Snohomish, and Swinomish. Additional sources include pioneers' diaries, museums, old manuscripts, and previously published materials. An historical introduction to each section describes significant individuals and events of the tribe. Maps show present-day Plains and Washington State reservations and traditional tribal lands. A short preface describes some characteristics of American Indian legends.


Wheeler, M. J.; Houston, James, illus. First Came the Indians. New York: Atheneum; 1983. 26 pages. (lower elementary).

This book contains simplistic and short descriptions of the Creek, Iroquois, Ojibwa, Sioux, Makah, and Hopi. In the two-page section titled "Indians Now," the author emphasizes that American Indians live much like other Americans in rural and urban areas, are employed in a variety of occupations, and hold on to many of their traditions. Includes black-and-red illustrations.


Matson, Emerson N. Legends of the Great Chiefs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1974. 125 pages. (upper elementary)

See annotation under Makah Traditional Stories.


Morss, Willard; Millard, Carolyn, illus. Stolen Princess: A Northwest Indian Legend. Bainbridge Island, WA: Janet Morss Herren; 1980. 44 pages. (upper elementary). ?.

This is a Quileute story told to the author in 1919 by a young Quileute boy. The author's editorial comments mar the boy's retelling of the legend with condescending remarks such as, "The Princess and her people had never understood how to review the problems and factors affecting their daily lives in a systematic, rational way. They made decisions from habit and instinctive urgings from their subconscious." The introduction reduces the extant history of the Native populations of the Olympic peninsula to "only a folklore of legends handed down verbally from one generation to the other, a few carved totems and scattered artifacts to make up their meager history."


Sharpe, Susan. Spirit Quest. New York, NY: Bradbury Press; 1991. 122 pages. (upper elementary).

Eleven-year-old Aaron Singer spends part of his summer vacation on the Quileute Indian Reservation in Washington, where he becomes friends with Robert, a Quileutte boy. At the encouragement of his family, who no longer incorporate many of their traditions into daily life, Robert attends tribal school to learn Quileute language and culture. At Aaron's urging, the boys go together on their version of a "spirit quest," where Aaron finds and saves a trapped eagle. Though he admires and respects Robert's culture, Aaron wistfully realizes that he can never be a part of it the way Robert is. Aaron's initially romantic view is replaced by deeper understanding.


Ringstad, Muriel; Croly, Donald, illus. Eye of the Changer: A Northwest Indian Tale. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Northwest Publishing Company; 1984. 79 pages. (upper elementary).

This is a retelling of a Salish legend about Wahnu, a twelve- year-old Salish boy who is blind and wishes to find his spirit helper to help him make canoes, earn a family name, and become a leader of his people. Becoming an accomplished canoe-maker and receiving his ancestral name, he still feels inferior because of his blindness. It is only after learning that it is more important to see with his heart than his eyes that he receives the gift of sight. The book includes a bibliography and useful background information on the Salish of Puget Sound. No specific source is cited for the legend's origin. Illustrated with black-and-white drawings.


Porter, Frank W. III. Coast Salish Peoples. New York, NY: Chelsea House; 1989. 95 pages. (Frank W. Porter III, Gen. Ed. Indians of North America). (secondary).

This book covers the history of the thirty-plus major Salish groups in what is now the state of Washington, including former lifeways, broken treaties, loss of land, and today's ongoing struggle for fishing rights and federal recognition for landless groups. Included is a commentary on turn-of-the-century photographer Edward S. Curtis' romanticized portrayals of Salish peoples, noting that the clothing and activities depicted were outdated even then. Curtis' aim was to record these obsolete aspects of Native American life in order to preserve them. The main text of the book is well written and facts are clearly presented. Includes a glossary, bibliography, index, and "Coast Salish-At-A-Glance. "


Matson, Emerson N. Legends of the Great Chiefs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1974. 125 pages. (upper elementary)

See annotation under Makah Traditional Stories.


Montgomery, Elizabeth Rider; Hoover, Russ, illus. Chief Seattle: Great Statesman. Champaign, IL: Garrard Publishing Co.; 1966. 80 pages. (lower elementary).

In this biography of Chief Seattle for young readers, some of the writing is trite. Young Seattle says: "White men are good...I like white men." Later he states, "We must learn white man's ways. Then we can live together in peace."


Chief Seattle; Evans, Eleanor Dale and Dickhoff, David, illus. How Can One Sell the Air? The Manifesto of an Indian Chief. English version of 1980 Dutch (Ekologische Uitgeverij Amsterdam & Aktie Strohalm) ed. Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company; 1988. 34 pages. (secondary).

The postscript to this version of "Chief Seattle's speech" claims that the text is edited from the original speech. In fact, it owes more to the 1970s film script, which has received widespread distribution. A final section titled "What Seattle Couldn't Know" describes the speech as "one of the few remaining fragments of the Indian philosophy of life, because Indians couldn't write." This statement completely discounts aspects of Native philosophy and history that have survived through the oral tradition. Illustrated with black-and-white line drawings.

Jeffers, Susan; Jeffers, Susan, illus. Brother Eagle, Sister Sky. New York, NY: Dial Books (Division of Penguin); 1991. 26 pages. (lower elementary).

This is an attractive book with an appealing message. It is purportedly based on an 1855 speech, in which Chief Seattle regrets that whites do not share the American Indian caretaker approach to Nature. The text owes more to a 1970s filmscript, however, written to reflect modern-day ecological concerns. The original 1855 speech was delivered through an interpreter. A journalist made notes, but only published his version of the speech ten years later. Since the original notes have been lost, it is impossible to judge how closely the text presented here reflects the original. The illustrations are attractive, but unfortunately, reflect Plains material culture, not Squamish.


Matson, Emerson N. Legends of the Great Chiefs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1974. 125 pages. (upper elementary)

See annotation under Makah Traditional Stories.


Beck, Mary Giraudo; Oliver, Marvin (Native), illus. Shamans and Kushtakas: North Coast Tales of the Supernatural. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Northwest Books; 1991. 127 pages. (secondary) *

See annotation listed under Haida Traditional Stories.

Harris, Lorle K.; Mandel, Dorothy, illus. Tlingit Tales: Potlatch and Totem Pole. Happy Camp, CA: Naturegraph Publishers; 1985. 45 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

A brief introduction to this collection of seven legends indicates that they were told to the author's son by Robert Zuboff, head of the Tlingit Beaver Clan at Angoon, Admiralty Island. In addition to teaching culturally accepted behavior, legends explained natural occurrences, landmarks, place names, clan crests, or how well-known medicine men secured their power. Examples of most of these types are included in this well-written book. Includes black-and-white illustrations.

Powell, Mary ed.; Reade, Deborah, illus. Wolf Tales: Native American Children's Stories. Santa Fe, NM: Ancient City Press; 1992. 38 pages. (elementary).

These short stories from the Cherokee, Omaha, Seneca, Pawnee, Tlingit, Sioux, and Tsimshian describe the special attributes and power of the wolf and its interaction with other animals, including humans. Following each story is information, adapted for young children, on the historical and contemporary location of the tribe. Sources are provided for each of the stories. Illustrated with black-and-white and monotone drawings.


Osinski, Alice. The Tlingit. Chicago, IL: Childrens Press; 1990. 45 pages. (A New True Book). (lower elementary).

This overview of traditional and contemporary Tlingit lifeways covers salmon fishing, village life, totem poles, weaving, potlatch, religion, and storytelling, indicating how these have survived into modern times. The final chapter on contemporary life stresses how the old ways are combined with the new. Illustrated with modern and archival photographs. Includes a glossary and an index.


Bryson, Jamie S. The War Canoe. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Northwest Books; 1990. 180 pages. (secondary).

The story of Mickey Church, a Tlingit boy living in the small town of Wrangell, Alaska. Mickey is inspired by a new teacher who instructs his class in Native and local history. One day Mickey envisions a Tlingit war canoe and paddlers. After researching Native history, he and his friends build a Tlingit war canoe like the one he has seen in his vision. Through this process, Mickey learns the importance of traditional techniques, and the significance of his people's history.


Murphy, Claire; Pasco, Duane, illus. The Prince and the Salmon People. New York, NY: Rizzoli; 1993. 48 pages. (elementary).

This retelling of a Tsimshian legend is adapted from the recordings made by anthropologist Franz Boas in the early 20th century. The author obtained additional information "through extensive research about the Tsimshian people---their stories, rituals and traditional way of life---through personal interviews with scholars and Tsimshian elders." In a story about the interdependence between humans and animals, a young prince goes to live under the water among the Salmon People. Illustrated with finely detailed black-and-white drawings. Color photographs of traditional Northwest Coast objects, with explanatory text, are included.

Powell, Mary, ed.; Reade, Deborah, illus. Wolf Tales: Native American Children's Stories. Santa Fe, NM: Ancient City Press; 1992. 38 pages.

See annotation listed under Tlingit Traditional Stories.

Toye, William; Cleaver, Elizabeth, illus. The Loon's Necklace. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 1990, 1977. 24 pages. (elementary).

This retelling of a Tsimshian legend describes how Loon receives his necklace from an old man whom he has cured of blindness. Paper collages and linocuts illustrate this appealing story.


Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane; Migdale, Lawrence, photog. Totem Pole. New York, NY: Holiday House; 1990. 30 pages. (lower elementary) *.

A Tsimshian boy narrates how his father, a noted woodcarver, creates a totem pole for a local tribe. The reader learns how the father chooses the tree and the designs for the totem. The meaning of the symbols and how the pole is carved, painted, and raised are explained in simple, direct prose. Color photographs complement the text. Includes a glossary, an index, and a Tsimshian tale.


Strong, Thomas Nelson. Cathlamet on the Columbia: Recollections of the Indian People and Short Stories of Early Pioneer Days in the Valley of the Lower Columbia River. Portland, OR: Binford Metropolitan; 1981. 119 pages. (secondary) ?.

This book describes the culture of the Wahkiakum living in Cathlamet, a village on the Columbia River, during the 19th century. The Wahkiakum were visited by Lewis and Clark during their explorations of the Pacific Northwest. The book is based on a variety of sources, mainly recollections and impressions from the author's childhood, supplemented by stories overheard from French and Hudson Bay traders and exploring parties. Published in 1906, the book is a prime example of the racism toward American Indians inherent in the 19th century. Almost every page contains an offensive characterization of the people, and they are constantly objectified. Women are described as "short, squatty creatures, with a tendency to grow fat and wrinkled when they could get enough food to grow fat on...." The children are described as "odd-looking creatures." The interior of a cedar house is described as looking like "a witches' cave" pervaded with "the smell, the awful smell of the Indian lodge." Every custom not understood is looked at as weird, meaningless, and an example of irrationality. In discussing traditional medicine and the Natives' attitude about death: "One of the most pathetic characteristics of all Indians on the Pacific Coast was their submission to what seemed the inevitable." On their hunting and fishing practices, the book describes " mere love of slaughter [the Indian children] would frequent the streams and maim and kill the salmon coming up to spawn." This book could be used as an example of the worst kinds of stereotyping about Indians.

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