Powwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life

by Marcie R. Rendon, Don Lessem, and Cheryl Walsh Bellville

"According to Native tradition, the circle of life is endless. It has no beginning.... read more

"According to Native tradition, the circle of life is endless. It has no beginning. There is no end." Marcie Rendon's text and Cheryl Walsh Belleville's many color photographs look at some of the ways in which one Anishinabe family celebrates the circle of life: by opening their arms and their hearts to welcome foster children into their family, by keeping close ties among the generations, by grieving together in the aftermath of a death. The Downwind family--parents, children, foster children--is profiled over the course of a summer, during which time they go on the powwow trail, attending two gatherings where they become part of a larger community, thus entering the circle of life in yet another way. At powwows, ceremonies and dances also mark the continuous cycle of connections and changes important in Anishinabe culture. The open, engaging narrative explains the importance of the rituals and traditions at the powwows by using comparisons that will resonate for many non- Native readers. The book also discusses how, by emphasizing the importance of family and community, the Downwinds are maintaining ties to traditional Anishinabe ways, ties that keep them strong in the wake of many challenges that Native peoples face in contemporary times. (Ages 7-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1996

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