The Great Circle: A History of the First Nations

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9780618159413: The Great Circle: A History of the First Nations

The Lakota holy man Black Elk often used the image of a circle or hoop when he spoke of the history of his people, stating that “the power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.” This chronicle of the principal Indian tribes in North America echoes that vision.

Folklorist Neil Philip examines the shared experience of many of the First Nations, from their separate existences before whites arrived, to their years of struggle and heartbreak, to the present-day resurgence of their cultures. The attitudes of Native American leaders toward land, society, and spiritual matters are contrasted with those of their white contemporaries; photographs, personal testimony, eyewitness detail, and excerpts from speeches by leaders—including Native American chiefs and holy men, and white politicians and military officers—document the resulting cycles of misunderstanding and conflict based on differing world views.

Drawing on the records of both white Americans and First Nations peoples, Neil Philip has created a carefully researched, compact account of Native American history that focuses not only on past injustices but also on the positive outlook for the future. Source notes, bibliography, index.

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About the Author:

Neil Philip is a noted folklorist and anthologist who has written several books on Native American and multicultural themes for Clarion, including IN A SACRED MANNER I LIVE, which was named both a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He lives in England.

From School Library Journal:

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up–Philip's well-balanced account begins with the clash between worldviews. European settlers came to North America with a doctrine of possession and dominance, of people over nature, and more technological society over less, while First Nations cultures view the Earth as a great wheel, with all people and animals joined together, all nature part of the connecting web. How the connectional perspective lost out to that of domination and rapaciousness, and how Native American tribes are reclaiming their cultural heritage, is the subject of this sensitively written, beautifully crafted work. Seven chapters cover general Native American history as well as the histories, cultures, and religions of several tribes, including the Seminole, the Modoc, the Lakota, and the Shawnee. Primary sources are incorporated into the narrative and extensively documented. Period photographs and reproductions are well placed, and their lengthy captions add to the information in the text. The picture that emerges is clear and sobering, at once desperately sad and cautiously uplifting, as various tribes begin the task of reclaiming their cultures and their environments. This exemplary resource extends Paul Robert Walker's Remember Little Bighorn (National Geographic, 2006) and prepares readers for a more adult work, Hyemeyohsts Storm's Seven Arrows (Ballantine, 1978). An enriching and eye-opening must-purchase.–Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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