Beatrice Harrell Longwalker's Journey

ISBN 13: 9780803723801

Longwalker's Journey

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9780803723801: Longwalker's Journey
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Based on the author's family history, this moving story tells of ten-year-old Minko Ushi, whose father decides in 1831 to take his family ahead of the Choctaw tribe toward Indian Territory and braves many a hardship along the way.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Harrell tells the story of her great-greatgrandfather, who set out ahead of the other Choctaw to pave the way for their settlement in the new "Indian Territory." "Ten summers" old, Minko and the other Choctaw are evicted from their homelands in Mississippi, and forced to walk hundreds of miles to a newly established Indian Territory in Arkansas in 1831. Minko must also leave behind his beloved pony, Black Spot. After they encounter a brutal wagon leader, bitter winter weather and inadequate supplies, Minko and his father, Itilakna, go on ahead of their family and tribe to prepare their new home. Joined by the stubborn pony that would not stay behind, they bravely traverse the wilderness. The novel begins awkwardly, introducing important facts without integrating them into the flow of the story, and doesn't fill in the details as vividly or with the same immediacy as the first-person narration in Cornelia Cornelissen's recent story of the Trail of Tears, Soft Rain. However, Harrell smoothly introduces Choctaw beliefs and values, which surface in the father and son's treatment of animals, nature and even in their forgiveness of the wagon leader. The character of John Turner, a freedman who helps Minko and his father when they come to Little Rock, brings up a little-known thread of historic cooperation and assistance between Native Americans and escaped slaves. Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 8-11.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-6-In 1831, 10-year-old Minko Ushi's tribe is forced by the government to move from Mississippi to Indian Territory (OK). The young Choctaw must leave his pony behind, along with the rest of his family's possessions. Black Spot, however, is determined to follow the boy. Eventually, Minko's father decides that he and his son will finish the journey alone and take the pony with them. Hardships abound along the way, but the two persevere, find their new land, and build a cabin. When Minko's mother finally arrives, along with one surviving elderly relative, she describes the horrors of the ordeal. For the most part, the white characters do not transcend unfavorable stereotypes. The good folk are a bit too good and the bad a bit too bad. The plot develops in waves of narrowly averted disaster a bit too regular to be riveting. The Choctaw Trail of Tears was so full of inhumanity and suffering that the humor, compassion, and optimism evident in this novel seem almost discordant. However, by focusing on Minko's journey and keeping the most tragic details in the background, Harrell is able to provide a gentle introduction to a historical event that had few happy endings. The dignified portrayal of a strong family and their heritage, the humorous scenes centering on a stubborn pony, and the upbeat conclusion make this book worth reading.
Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780803723832: Longwalker's Journey: A Novel of the Choctaw Trail of Tears

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ISBN 10:  0803723830 ISBN 13:  9780803723832
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1999
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