Gifts to Give Native and Non-Native Children in Time for Christmas

Konnie LeMay
11/29/13

The Minnesota Historical Society Press (MHSP) has recently released three publications geared toward young people that would make wonderful holiday gift options.

The Creator’s Game: A Story of Baaga’adowe Lacrosse by Art Coulson with illustrations by Robert DesJarlait

The Creator’s Game tells the fictional tale of young Travis Skinaway who learns some tough lessons about teamwork when he starts playing lacrosse. His teammates have been playing for a long time and they don’t favor him as a new-comer. Plus, Travis just does not seem to have the skills for the game.

But when he begins to learn about the games’ history and how it relates to his (Ojibwe) people and his family, he improves.

The surprise ending brings a spiritual element into the mix and Travis learns about respect for the present and the past.

Any child can relate to the story of breaking ground with new friends and learning a new set of skills. The Ojibwe language glossary, at the end of the book, and the other informational pieces make this a great buy for an intermediate-level reader. ($6.95, softcover, ISBN: 978-0-87351-909-0)

MHSP has put together the Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Activity Kit, a fun package that teaches children about the Ojibwe traditions. It’s part art, part Native tradition and includes works from the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and contemporary bead artist Cheryl Minnema.

There are two separate sets, one for individuals, and one for students. The packet for individuals includes two shoulder bags to decorate using crayons, glitter and glue. The classroom set has 30 bags. Both sets have a 24-page guidebook describing Ojibwe traditions and artwork; plus, a DVD with step-by-step instructions and an interview with Minnema.

The price is $18.95 for individuals, ISBN: 978-0-87351-825-3; and $120 for the classroom set. Order directly from the Minnesota Historical Society at Education.MNHS.org.

Powwow Summer, originally released in 1996, is now available in a new soft-cover edition, published this year.

Writer Marcie Rendon and photographer Cheryl Walsh Bellville followed the Downwind family along their pow wow circuit during a year of transitions. One daughter was turning over her honor as “princess” at the Bug-o-nay-ge-shig School, while the father is mourning the recent passing of his mother.

The Downwind's also take in foster children and share how these relations help nurture everyone in the family. In telling this family’s story, Rendon shows how families support each other through celebration. The photos are touching, informative and amusing.

It’s also an introduction for non-Native adults who have wondered, “Would I be welcome at a pow wow?” ($7.95 softcover, ISBN: 9780-87351-910-6)

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