August 11, 2016

Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People by S. D. Nelson

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 1:41 am by suebe2

Ssitting bullitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People
by S. D. Nelson
Abrams Books for Young Readers

Sitting Bull grew up among the Hunkpapa people, one of several bands that the whites later named the Sioux.  He grew up on buffalo hunts and counting coup but he also grew up at a time when whites were pushing their way into Sioux territory.  Once they arrived, they never left.  It was the beginning of the end for the Sioux way of life.

That said, this isn’t a depressing book.  Nelson has written a biography of Sitting Bull, the only Sioux to lead all seven Lakota tribes.  He fought against Custer and was even credited by some with killing the soldier although the Lakota believed that he committed suicide rather than be taken in battle.

Nelson wrote this biography as if Sitting Bull is speaking to the reader.  Thus it is written in first person and tells about the Lakota way of life both on the plains and on the reservations.  It tells of Sitting Bulls time with Buffalo Bill Cody, whom he respected greatly, and his death at the hands of tribal police.

The book is designed to look like a series of ledger drawings.  Native Americans often drew on the paper found in ledger books, bound books of blank pages that merchants used to keep track of what they had sold.  Colorful horses galloped across the pages of lined ledger pages and the art work has a very distinct look.  This book has that same look.  In addition to Nelson’s drawings are a number of historic photographs.

I grew up hearing stories about Native American leaders long before diversity was something that many people talked about.  In spite of this, there was plenty of information in this book that I didn’t know although I did recognize many of the photographs.

Although the book looks like a picture book it is text dense and suitable for readers grades 4 through 6.  This is a must for those interested in US history and should be in the classroom library.

–SueBE

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