CRC Information

We The People Book Cover

We The People: The Arapaho and Their History; The Ojibwe, and the Wampanoag
Rosinksy, Natalie M.
Jan 2005

Pages 48

Grades 5 – 8

 Rating:  Neutral - needs discussion if used in classes.

I reviewed three of the books within the Series We are the People; The Arapaho, The Wampanoag, and The Ojibwe .  A very impressive colorful layout is used through out the series.  The books start off with a seemingly shocking true tale of 1) the death of Metacom, of the Wampanoag 2) The Death March of the Ojibwe and 3) the Sand Creek Massacre of the Arapaho people.  Almost every page has colorful drawings or photographs to help illustrate the people and the culture.  One of the wonderful things the author has done is to give recognition to the tribal groups still in existence, and numbers of their current membership and their locations.  The books cover description of the name used to describe the people, for example Wampanoag  are a native people of the Northeast coast and their name “Wampanoag – refers to People of the Dawn  or people of the East.”   Chapters cover:  Food and shelter; Family life and culture; a Glossary; a Did you Know; a Time line; Important People; Want to know More section; and an Index.  The books could be a good series if teachers/readers know that they should discuss some of the bias that is embedded in the language of the book. 

In the Wampanoag book:

  1.   “Someone who had a lot of wampum was rich.”  This is a very Euro-centric idea.  American Indian Tribes were very communalistic and worked for the betterment of the whole group not individuals, so if you were “rich” you also supported or helped to feed the others in your village. The idea of wealth came with Europeans.  You were also considered “rich” if you were well respected, fair and generous.  
  2. p.26 & 27 talks of thanksgivings and Pilgrims and reinforces the “Thanksgiving” myth please see the National Geographic Society 1621: A New look at Thanksgiving for information on talking about thanks givings which in Native cultures is a daily occurrence not something that is saved up to do once a year.
  3. page 29. “English conolnists tricked other Wampanoag sachems into signing more treaties.” Please see American Indian Treaties by Francis Prucha
  4. page 31. The story by Mary Rowlandson, was this a fictional tale written to sell to European readers?  Could it have been written to reflect the attitudes of the time?   

    Marlette Grant-Jackson – ITEPP-CRC

More Resources

Wampanoag tribe of Gay Head

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe