Friday, 5 February 2010

First Nations/Aboriginal Fridays - People of the Buffalo: How the Plains Indians Lived by Maria Campbell

This  1975 children's book is a good introduction to the life of the various Indian tribes living in the short-grass areas and the prairie.  Ms. Campbell covers many aspects of daily life: respect for territory, music, beliefs, ceremonial smoking, housing, food, clothing etc.  She felt that the book had to include physical as well as spiritual needs to be complete:

"It was not possible for Indians to separate their life as people do today into different categories such as work, play, relgion and art.  To them, every part of life and all forms of life made up 'the whole'.  To ignore one part was to lessen, even destroy one's self."

The book is heavily illustrated with line drawings by Douglas Tait and Shannon Twofeathers.  Douglas also illustrated 'Mouse Woman and the Mischief Makers' by Christie Harris.

Native Wiki has a comprehensive biography of Maria Campbell.

I searched widely to try and find a biography for Shannon Two Feathers, but was unsucessful.  I am assuming that he is the same person that I found touted as a Legendary Aboriginal Musician who passed away in 1980 and was inducted into the Manitoba Aboriginal Music Hall of Fame, but can't confirm this.  If you have additional information on Shannon Two Feathers, leave a comment with details.  Thanks.

At the Spirit Wrestler Gallery I found pictures of grass baskets decorated with quills similar to the ones described in the book.

Teddy Rose has also posted a review at 'So Many Precious Books So Little Time'

6 comments:

Eric James Soltys said...

Hi Heather,

The Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture has scanned in old issues of "New Breed" magazine. The Aug/Sep 1979 issue includes a conversation with Shannon Two Feathers and Maria Campbell (pages 22-25).

Their website has lots of nice photos of contemporary and traditional artwork you might like as well. Beautiful bead and quillwork.

Cheryl Lage said...

What a fantastic review! LOVE that quote about the inability to separate aspects of lie...they're all interwoven. Will definitely check this book out!

Dorte H said...

This one sounds good, and the cover is absolutely wonderful!

bermudaonion said...

I love books like this - the illustrations look like they're fabulous.

Jenny Girl said...

Sounds like an intersting book. It's a shame there are not many more books like this. Thanks for the recommendation.

Teddy Rose said...

This looks lik a good one. I just put a hold on it from my library.