Joseph Bruchac, The Wind Eagle and Other Abenaki Stories
"An estimated reading level for this book is Grade 4. It could certainly be used for older students as well. The short story format, as well as the brief length of the book itself (34 pages) might make it an appealing choice for older below grade level readers.
The tales were used to instruct young children, as well as to entertain. They show beliefs of early Vermonters, and their ties to the land, water, etc. around them. They also demonstrate that history can be entertaining. I think it is worth pointing out that history passed down through cultures orally is valid and as worthy of respect and consideration as written accounts.
I think this book could be used to good advantage to compare and contrast the beliefs of the Abenaki with other cultures (Greek and Roman Myths, Iroquois Tales) perhaps via Venn diagrams. Telling the stories according to native traditions would enhance students’ communication skills. The brevity of each story, coupled with the orderly sequencing of events, also makes them good vehicles for teaching summarizing. The book would also be a good lead into their own writing to explain other phenomenon in nature."
"A collection of six Abenaki teaching tales passed down orally now appear in hard copy in simple and direct language. The creation stories centering around Gluskabi appeal to the imagination, and are excellent for both read-aloud and dramatization."
Colin Calloway, The Abenaki
"This book provides a respectful overview of Abenaki history including culture, arts, wars, etc., from pre-European contact to the present day. It summarized and confirmed information from the other selections in the group in a format and language more suitable for student use. I think this would be a good book for schools to have as a library and classroom reference source. It could easily be used as a source for a report or project, and portions of it could be read aloud by the teacher. It would also make a fine whole class text at the secondary level."
"Includes bibliography, glossary, and index, plus maps and photos. This is a nice research and reference tool for information on the culture, social customs, and artifacts."
Colin Calloway, Dawnland Encounters: Indians and Europeans in Northern New England
"Calloway uses a very interesting format in this book. He provides his commentary and explanations in small italic type with accounts of primary sources in a standard type face. The sophisticated vocabulary and lengthy sentences coupled with historical spelling make this a book for adults.
The heavy use of primary sources gave life to some of the information I learned from other books in the group--the concept of “noble savage” for example. The other thing that was striking was the serious consequences that resulted from faux pas made on both sides due to lack of cultural knowledge. I think that this would make a good teaching point.
One of the best uses of this book would be allowing the primary sources to breath life and emotion into the historical facts. How young a group this could be done with would depend on how easy the selected passages would be to explain to the students."
"Students and adults searching for details of the Abenaki people will find a wealth of unbiased information from ancient history to present times. References to primary sources, including diaries, describe peaceful and antagonistic encounters with Europeans during colonial times and a sense of how the Abenakis managed to survive to modern day."
William A. Haviland and Marjory W. Power, The Original Vermonters: Native Inhabitants, Past and Present
"This book has an instructional reading level of 11th grade. However, its heavily anthropological bent, specialized vocabulary, and scholarly tone make it far more suitable as a college textbook than any other purpose. I did learn a lot about the early history of Vermont from it. A few examples: the division of this era into periods (and their names, time spans, and characteristics), how and why significant archeological finds were muddled and/or destroyed along with information, and how information can be extracted from archeological findings.
This book is perhaps best used by the teacher to obtain or broader/deepen a knowledge base about this era. I found the beginning and latter portions of the book to be the most interesting. Teachers may wish to be selective about which portions they wish to read. Descriptions and itemizations of seemingly every article found at every site make for slow tedious going in some portions of the book."
"Primary sources based on archeological findings reveal how people lived in Vermont for at least ten thousand years before the Europeans arrived, and what has been their fate since. This second edition contains thirteen additional years of research by archeologists, for example vital new information on the origins of farming in Vermont."
C. Keith Wilbur, The New England Indians
"This book takes much of the information contained in the Haviland & Power book, summarizes it, and presents it in a simpler language. It also has numerous, highly detailed line drawings. The use of semi-manuscript type-face combined with poorly organized layouts of text blocks and illustrations combine to make this one of the least user-friendly books I have ever seen."