Thursday, December 26, 2019

Review of "Eagle Feather," by Clyde Robert Bulla

Review of

Eagle Feather, by Clyde Robert Bulla 

Five out of five stars

 I owned this book when I was in elementary school and must have read it ten times. The context is a Navajo boy named Eagle Feather that lives on the reservation with his family. They have a herd of sheep and goats and Eagle Feather tends to them, taking them out of the pen in the morning, herding them to the pasture for the day and then back to the pen for the evening. His family lives in a primitive Hogan and they are fairly isolated from all the other families.

 During a trip to the distant trading post with his father, Eagle Feather is exposed to the school for members of the tribe. It is so far from his home that it would be necessary for him to live at the school while classes are in session. At first, Eagle Feather expresses reluctance to go to school but then finds it interesting.

 When Eagle Feather damages the truck of his cousin Crook Nose, he must go live with him and watch over his sheep and goats in order to pay for the damage. It is not a happy experience, for Eagle Feather is not treated well and is also underfed. Things reach a climax when he is told that he cannot go to school when classes start.

 Originally published in 1962, this book is a reasonable representation of life on the Navajo reservation for an early adolescent boy in that time period. In my case, it was a story that was interesting and one of my first exposures to the area of multicultural studies.

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