Daily Life (Native American Culture)

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9780866255349: Daily Life (Native American Culture)

Book by McCall, Barbara A.

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From School Library Journal:

Gr 4-7--Most of these books (Tribal Law, Spiritual Life, Arts and Crafts, and Child Rearing) focus on customs in the major cultural regions of the Plains, West, Southwest, and Eastern Woodlands, with examples from specific tribes. Daily Life talks about the gathering and farming of plants, hunting, fishing, homes, and clothing, while The European Invasion is organized by invading country (Spanish, English, Dutch, and French). As with most attempts to encompass such a vast diversity of cultures into such brief overviews, this series is only sporadically successful. The illustrations are often dated, and the captions often describe the ``Native Americans'' in the photographs or painting reproduction, rather than identifying the tribe or even the region. Two photographs of human remains--a burial site at an archaeological dig, and body parts around a bural scaffold--are particularly offensive. Coming as they do in Spiritual Life, they reveal a basic lack of respect and understanding of the very subject under dicussion. Generalizations, inaccuracies, misunderstandings, omissions and inconsistencies, and biased terminology are scattered throughout the books. Use of the past tense is pervasive. Efforts to inform readers that these are peoples who exist today and still carry on many of the activities being described are uneven from book to book. Even the glossaries contain inaccuracies. For example, a reservation is not, as stated in all five books, ``a tract of land that was set aside by the United States for a group of Native Americans,'' but the retention by individual tribes of a portion of their own lands. This seemingly minor but very fundamental difference is important in helping to convey the relationship between Native nations and the United States.

Lisa Mitten, University of Pittsburgh, PA

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Barbara A. McCall
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McCall, Barbara A.
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