Dictionary of North American Indians
by Gilbert Legay
Older boys and girls will find fascinating information on the customs, the culture, and the history of Native Americans, with details on tribal domestic life, clothing, arts and crafts, weapons, agriculture, relationship with animals and nature, and much more. Presenting its details in an A-to-Z short-entry format with color illustrations on every page, this book offers brief, informative profiles of all major tribes, including the Iroquois, Algonquians, Muskogees, Sioux, Aztecs, Athapaskans, Dakotas, Osages, and many others. Here too are capsule biographies of memorable individuals, such as Comanche chief Quanah Parker, Sioux chief Sitting Bull, Spanish conquistador Francisco Coronado, U.S. General George Armstrong Custer, and others. In addition to color illustrations and photos, readers will find maps, an introductory overview of tribes from the Arctic to the present-day American southwest, and a brief chronology of related historical events from the 15th to the 19th century. Here is a fine reference book for school libraries and classrooms, as well as a wonderful addition to the home bookshelf.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up -The entries in this dictionary consist of either short paragraphs or bullet points, the color illustrations come alarmingly close to reinforcing stereotypes, and the volume is written in absolutes. An introductory section describing the migration from Asia of the peoples we now characterize as American Indians never suggests that this history has been intuited from archaeological discoveries and that it is what most experts now believe. The entries are similarly perplexing. For example, there are two for "snake." One refers to the reptile, and there is no hint as to why it is included here. The other begins as follows: "Nickname given to many tribes for reasons that we can imagine." Other entries, though brief, make more sense and are more neutral, although some of the accompanying illustrations may raise questions. (Why is a naked female Indian child pictured along with an adult male for the term "Secotan"?) There is nothing in the descriptions of tribes to confirm (or refute) the authenticity of the clothing worn by the Indians in those entries' illustrations. Not all of the pictures are captioned, so the tribe the figures depict is unclear. Even the excellent drawings of different types of housing (longhouse, tipi, etc.) are linked to groups and not identified by type in the caption or the text. This volume does not add anything positive to the body of knowledge about these peoples, and can be passed over.-Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City