Phil Konstantin's Reviews of "The Seventh Generation, Native Students Speak About Finding the Good Path."




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"The Seventh Generation, Native Students Speak About Finding the Good Path."


I wrote this review in September 2003.



This month I am going to review the book "The Seventh Generation, Native Students Speak About Finding the Good Path."

Gina Boltz, Director of Native Village Publications, recommended this book to me. I have enjoyed reading through it. Primarily, it is a textbook for middle and high school students. One of the most common complaints I have heard from teachers with American Indian or First Nations students is finding material the students can relate to. (Since we are discussing instructional material, I will regress for a moment. Yes, you can end a sentence in a preposition. Richard Lederer and Charles Herrington Elster, two expects in grammar and language usage, say this is an old myth, which continues to be propagated by many teachers.) This book talks with over 100 "native" students to see how they have handled trying times in their lives. These stories are then used to promote discussions among the students.

The Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) have an ancient prophecy. Seven prophets came among them and told of their future. The seventh prophet, or the seventh fire, told them of a future when a young generation would return them greatness after a period of loss, tragedy and alienation. Some people feel that this "seventh generation" has been born, and is now walking the earth. It is from this that the book gets its title.

From the book's press release: "Candid interviews with 120 American Indian, Alaska Native, and First Nations youth across North America bring their trials and triumphs to life in a new book published by the EPIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools. "The Seventh Generation: Native Students Speak About Finding the Good Path" is written especially for today's Native middle and high school students, but its insights into the day-to-day experiences of Native youth make it a valuable resource for practicing teachers, teachers in training, social workers, and others who work with youth."

The authors had two goals: "help educational and spiritual leaders understand what Indigenous youth think about their schooling and their communities;" and, "to provide Native youth with a 'mirror' through which they could examine their own lives."

The book won the 2003 Skipping Stones Honor Awards. here is their comments about the book: Educational, Entertaining & Exceptional! Contact: Arun Toke, editor; e-mail: Edi-@SkippingStones.org; tel. (541) 342-4956. Their selection committee was comprised of over 20 reviewers: editors, librarians, parents, students and teachers. Reviews of the Tenth Annual Skipping Stones Award winners appear in the summer issue (Vol. 15, no. 3).

I mentioned that Gina Boltz recommended the book to me. Here is her review of the book as it appears on Amazon.com. "I am currently re-reading "The Seventh Generation, Native Students Speak About Finding the Good Path" by Amy Bergstrom, Linda Miller Cleary, and Thomas D. Peacock. Written as a textbook for Native students in j.h and h.s, Seventh Generation goes far beyond these perimeters and offers educators a fascinating exploration into the lives of Native American youth and their attitudes/approaches towards life and education. Seventh Generation also suggests educational ideas and methods to help Native students meet success. My favorite thing about Seventh Generation?...It's written by both students and educators who share mutual respect for their cultures and each other. Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village Publications"

I highly recommend this book for educators to use as a resource, even if it does not become your official text. It will provide you with lots of ideas to spark discussions. For non-teachers, it can provide you with a look into a part of todays American Indian youth.

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