Heart of a Chief
Author Joseph Bruchac
Publisher Puffin 1998
Concepts/ Topics covered in book:
This book depicts Native Americans today facing a society that does not understand their culture. Set on an intentionally fictional reservation in New England, a boy enters the local middle school and deals with the normal fears of growing up as well as with the difficulties of living in two worlds. Provides wonderful images of strong, activist teachers and administrators. The main character successfully leads a drive to change the school mascot “the Indians” as well as fighting a proposed gambling casino on the reservation. A great follow up to Sign of the Beaver -same region and “tribe”.
4. Make a chart listing words the students think of when they hear the word Indian.
Think of some words that describe your heritage.
Put them in the names of teams/jokes/catch phrases. [like Slovaks, Popes, Jews]
- Discuss whether or not you agree with their use
Keep a running list of words that describe the native American characters in the book.
What gave the main character his inner strength?
What makes a good leader? How did the main character show signs of leadership?
Compare the original list of native American descriptor words with the descriptions of the characters in the book. Are any stereotypes revealed?
This title fits these anti-bias criteria
Criteria Criteria Y historically accurate received awards Y culturally accurate Y hero serves a just cause Y all groups show power & leadership Y author/illustrator are qualitative to write about this subject Y no stereotypes in language or pictures Y recent copyright
This book fits these categories
Category Category Ableism Sexism Ageism Y Develops self-worth: Shows positive role models Y Economic discrimination Y Addresses an issue Y Racial prejudice Y Illustrates activism
Classification Chapter Book
Acceptable grade levels Elementary/Middle School- 4h and up
About the Author
Joseph Bruchac is of Native American descent and has written numerous books for children and young adults.
Eagle Song by Joseph Bruchac
Warriors by Joseph Bruchac
Through Indian Eyes by Beverly Slapin and Doris Steele
Have students select a state on the US Mascot map and graph some of the data. Have students share their graphs.
Find a local school or tem that has an mascot that is disrespectful of native Ameicans and have students write letters to that group or to the local paper.