Caribou Song/Atihko Nikamon

Book Summary: 

Story Summary: Joe and Cody live with their families in Manitoba, Canada away from cities or even villages. They live a traditional Cree lifestyle following the caribou (atihkwa), singing songs, dancing, and playing the accordion (kitoochigan).

Year: 
2014
Author: 
Tomson Highway
Illustrator: 
John Rombough
Publisher: 
Fifth House
Guiding Question: 

In this story, it seems as if the boys don’t attend a traditional school since they follow the caribou all year long. Many people believe that parents, not schools, are responsible to teach their children important things. What are the positive and negative things about each way of life (parents or schools as being primarily responsible to educate children?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85): 

Honesty- How does Joe and Cody’s lifestyle compare to yours? It seems as if they learn what's important to their way of life from their parents. Do you think they'll be well prepared for their lives?

Empathy- At the end of the story when the caribou herd rushes through the family’s camp, Mama is very sad. She probably thought that the boys had been crushed by caribou. If the family lived in a city or town, they probably wouldn’t have faced this danger. What are some dangers that children living in towns and cities face that these boys do not?

Advocacy and Action- The history of the interactions between the Cree people and the Canadian government is similar to the interactions between the native people in the U.S. and the U.S. government. Often the European people who came to inhabit both the U.S. and Canada well after the native people did, destroyed much of the native people’s lifestyles. One such custom that the Cree were not allowed to participate in was the potlatch. Read about it at this website: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/potlatch/

Do you think it was fair that the Cree were not allowed to hold potlatches? You’re your teacher’s help, decide how you can voice your opinion, and then do it.