During this Thanksgiving season, have a discussion about the Native American’s perspective on the holiday. Having heard the author speak once at NCTE, Joseph Bruchac wishes to keep the Native American culture alive. He brings to light one Native American’s, Squanto’s, perspective through his first person narrative, Squanto’s Journety: The Story of the First Thanksgiving.
Joseph has an author’s note in the back, which gives some historical background to Squanto’s life. We often read about he Pilgrims’ side of the story but rarely the Native American view. Squanto was a vital piece to the Pilgrims’ success.
Squanto flashes back to how he was captrued, taken to Spain, and then returned six years later. The first-person narrative summaries the trials of making peace and being cautious with the Pilgrims through the eyes of Squanto. The vivid paintings by Greg Shed create a natural effect. I almost feel like I’m watching a movie through his creation.
Joseph Bruchac is a great story teller from the Wampanoag Native nation. Storytelling has been a part of his culture since the beginning, sharing heritage from one generation to the next. We need to remember to pass along our stories to our next generation. these stories honor the ones we love and teach our children lessons learned.
In the end of the book, the feat of the first Thanksgiving is celebrated. All are thankful for the great harvest and also for the friendship between the English and the Indians.
Joseph Bruchac ends through the words of Squanto, “I pray that there will be many more such days to give thanks together in the years that follow.“
Savorings for reading and in writing for Squanto’s Journey:
- First-person narrative
- Reflection – “Though much was changed, I knew that I at last had returned to the land of my home.”
- Character traits – Native Americans, Pilgrims, Englishmen
- Compare/contrast – to other books, between the ways of the Pilgrims and Native Americans