cover image Voices of the People

Voices of the People

Joseph Bruchac. Reycraft, $18.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-4788-7515-4

Told via rhythmic narrative poems by Bruchac (who is Abenaki) and illustrated by 30 modern-day tribally enrolled artists, this moving nonfiction biography collection highlights 34 Indigenous Americans across time. The figures are presented chronologically, starting with the Peacemaker, a Wendat (Huron) chief circa 1000 CE, and ending with Chief Wilma Mankiller (1945–2010), the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief. Each poem is paired with artwork by a different contemporary Native artist, leading to visual surprises such as a photograph of a warrior dressed as Darth Vader (Darth Chief the Mascot Hunter by Rory Wakemup, from the Boise Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa) and an affecting pencil sketch of an Indigenous woman overlaying bank deposit records (First People, Second City by Chris Pappan, who is Kanza/Osage and Lakota). Collaborating with Native creators to elevate stories about prominent figures, Bruchac meaningfully combines the past and present in hopes that these stories may help “non-Native readers begin to gain a deeper understanding of who we were and who we still are,” as outlined in an introduction. Further information about the individuals featured and a poem about the author conclude. Ages 9–up. (Nov.)