Dial. Jan. 2021. 160p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781984815378.
Gr 5 Up–A fictional retelling of the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy). Readers meet Okwaho, a young Onontaka boy who lives in the small village of Kanata. The book, written from Okwaho’s perspective, is set during an undefined, pre-contact time of war between tribal nations. The arrival of the Peacemaker is a familiar oral tradition, and the book paints a picture of how the Haudenosaunee was formed by the Peacemaker to create unity. While Bruchac emphasizes the importance of the Indigenous origin of names for locations, tribes, and characters, he unfortunately fails to explain their meanings and significance, which may confuse and hinder some readers. Despite Bruchac’s celebrated storytelling abilities on display here, the narrative sometimes meanders. References to how the Peacemaker story is still acknowledged and respected today by modern Haudenosaunee would have imparted a stronger sense of relevance for today’s audience. The author’s note and acknowledgements credit Haudenosaunee friends who shared their stories with him to help recreate this retelling.
VERDICT Purchase where Bruchac’s work is popular.

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