An AICL reader wrote me a question about Gary Paulsen.Sr. Tackett. I read a copy of the book on the internet archive. Here are my notes, grouped by chapter. Sometimes I write my reviews in italics under each chapter. This time you will find my thoughts on the book in the thoughts at the end of the chapter summaries.
But first, let's take a look at Gary Paulson. He was a prolific writer and is known forAxeand its continuation.It isAxeThe series is also known as Brian's Saga as the protagonist is a boy named Brian who alone survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness.AxeHe received the Newbery Medal in 1987.
I believe it was published by Funk & Wagnalls in 1969.Sr. TackettIt is Paulson's first book. It's also about survival.
Protagonist: Francis Alphonse Tucket, 14
Date: 13. June 1848
Location: Oregon Trail
Francis' family was part of a wagon train from their farm in Missouri. While in Kansas, they had been concerned about the Comanches, but in all of Kansas they "saw not a single feather, let alone an Indian" (p. 8).
Freight trains run along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. For his 14th birthday, Francis received a gun. He practiced outside behind the car, out of sight. He was captured by "six Pawnees and an elderly warrior" (p. 9) who were unpainted, which he believed meant a hunting party. He struggled and fell unconscious. He wakes up in his camp to the "ugliest old man" (p. 10) he's ever seen looking down on him. The wrinkled, toothless man smiled at him.
An old woman is the wife of an old warrior in a hunting party. When Francis woke up, she wrapped a rope around him and showed him each hut. The boy kicked him. He argues with the boys, he thinks it's not worth it, and then he smiles at the old woman. She untied the rope. He was attacked by three children. Parried fight with (p. 14):
"A short, stocky Indian with his hair tied in a ponytail. At the base of the braid was a feather that hung down. The man wore plain moccasins, not beaded moccasins, and carried a rifle in his left hand. This is Francis' rifle'
Francis argues with the men. The man pointed his gun at Francis' eyes, warned him not to be stupid or insult his elders, and walked away.
After three weeks in camp, Francis learned that the "brave one" with the gun was called Brad and was the leader of his squad. He's not the leader. His front door to the cabin was covered in scalps. One morning he led a group of more than 40 fighters out of the camp. When they came back, Francis saw a golden scalp and thought that the Pawnee had attacked the caravan with his family. Her suspicions were confirmed when Brad threw a china doll at her feet. This is your sister's doll. The council decided to move the city. They traveled for ten days and reached the southern tip of Montenegro. There Francis meets a white man who has come to town: Mr. Jason Grimes.
The "Indians" and children surround Grimes, whom Francis mistakes for a highlander. She wore tasseled loafers, plain loafers, and derbies with long feathers sticking out of the straps. The citizens are ready to celebrate. Wild dancing at night. Francis woke up that night with his hand over his mouth. It's Grimes with a plan for Francis' escape.
Francis left with a mare Grimes had groomed for him. He mounted the mare, lost her and went on. It was dark and he fell asleep.
Francis woke up to the smell of coffee. Grimes was there. He told Francis that he followed Brad and five or six others as they tried to find him based on the mare's tracks. Without a mare upriver, Francis, now known to Grimes as Mr. Targett, is safe. He learns that Grimes lost his arm after a fight with Braid.
Grimes taught Mr. Tucket how to use the rifle and be aware of his surroundings.
Francis asked Grimes why he was friends with Bowness after he lost his arm in a fight with Brad. Grimes says the Pawnee can't help them, nobody can. He then says that the Pawnee call themselves "the people" and that they "live with the land" or (p. 50):
“Teasing her cubs is inherently a mother bear's nature. Through my pigtails I lost my arm, which is the equivalent of a mother bear's arm. I can't put a pad on a bear, and I can." "He could be mad at Brad or hate the entire Pawnee tribe for a mistake."
The mistake was that Grimes couldn't stop Brad from cutting off his arm. Francis asked questions that made Grimes uncomfortable. Why did he trade furs for gunpowder and let the Pawnees use lead against the whites? Grimes said he was not a warmonger. He didn't want to kill the Pawnees or the whites. If you kill Brad, you won't come overland. The thirst for land is exactly what farmers like the Francis family want. He asks Grimes to keep him in the settlement. Grimes said the closest is the Standing Bear Sioux village.
They rode to a Sioux village where "the howling of the children was deafening" (p. 56). In the heart of the city, (p. 56)
“A small passage opened up through the crowd on the right, and an Indian hobbled in. He was small, bow-legged, and stocky, but he moved with such grace that Francis immediately thought of a cat. It must have been the standing bear…” thought Francis, not smiling.
Grimes talks to Lixiong in Sioux, and Lixiong tells him that Brad told Lixiong to keep an eye on Francis. This seems unusual to Grimes since the Pawnees and the Sioux are enemies, but it turns out that the mare Francis escaped from was Brad's personal horse. Because of this, Brad is willing to talk to the enemy in hopes of getting his mare back. Grimes talks to Standing Bear and apparently asks if Standing Bear can catch beavers on Standing Bear's land. He obtained permission and then arranged a wrestling match between Francis and a village boy. It starts with Standing Bear "sucking" the two boys in Sioux. Francis won the game. His prize is a horse and a piece of clothing.
Francis tries to ride a horse. He and Grimes leave town.
Francis put on her suede outfit and liked it. Francis and Grimes began antelope hunting with an old Native American trick in which Francis waved a white rag to arouse the antelope's curiosity. You want to see what it is. If they do, Francis will shoot a duiker. You grab one and eat twelve pounds before it gets dark.
They visited Spot Johnny. He has an Indian wife named Niaowu and two sons: Jared, John and Clarence. Niaowu is fluent in English. Spot tells Grimes that Braid is considering taking over the Pawnee Nation and collecting items like gunpowder for the Horde. Brad has also attacked trailers. Spot says Braid is stupid and wants to "push all white people out of Pawnee territory" (p. 91).
Grimes then questions Spot about Crows and he says (p. 92):
I walked their grounds for a week and saw nothing. I usually get shot at least once. "
Spot says they're on the hunt and he heard they've split up into small groups. "Too many Warchiefs" (p. 92) and they ambush and take what they can.
Francis and Grimes leave Johnny's apartment. They see a carriage, but Francis chooses to stay with Grimes.
They entered an area and Grimes carefully covered their tracks so "the best Kiowa tracker in the world" couldn't find them. They were on the edge of the raven's territory. They settle near beaver ponds.
Jim Bridger comes to visit and tells Francis and Grimes about a nearby Crow family.
Francis and Grimes caught 200 beavers, skinned them, and spread their pelts.
Two miles from camp, five crows "painted for war" (p. 129) shoot arrows at Francis. He ran back to the camp, pursued them and shot arrows with them. Grimes fired two shots, one of which wounded him as he fell off his horse. Grimes and Francis plan to get others.
Grimes and Francis meet two Native Americans (p. 136):
"Before them, less than ten feet away, rose two painted faces and bronze breasts. Two arrows were brought back, strings stretched. Two Indians roared from their throats.”
Francis wounded one; Grimes killed him. Another "Brave" escaped. Grimes and Francis began tying beaver skins to the horses and then drove off. Back in their camp, the ten "brave" ravens. The leader said that they would leave at dawn to find Grimes and Francis and help Laughing Pony (the one who got thrown off the horse).
Grimes and Francis get caught in a snowstorm but keep chasing the horses until Francis' mare trips. They stayed for the night.
The next morning they set out again, rested again, and then as they set out they saw smoke. Grimes thinks it's coming from Spot Johnny's camp, but there's too much smoke.
When they arrive at Spot Johnny's camp, everything is on fire and there are many bodies. Grimes says it was "Braid and his boys" (p. 154). Two miles away, Spot Johnny's trading post and wagon trains were also on fire. There were also 23 dead pawnbrokers. Grimes and Francis can't find Spot or his family outside, and Grimes is certain they are at the burnt trading post. There are peasants in the wagon. Grimes asks when they were attacked and says it's time for him "to do something about Braid" (p. 156). He asks the farmer to stay with Francis when he leaves, and if he doesn't come back, Francis gets his pony and fur, and the farmer will take Francis with him.
Francis stayed away from the peasants. Try to catch up with Grimes. He sees Grimes and Brad riding through the meadows and running towards each other, both "topless and armed with guns" (p. 163). They shot at each other and the "one-armed man" fell together. Pigtails are dead. Francis was surprised by Grimes' scalp and pigtail. He recognizes that Grimes, like the Indians, is "kind of an animal" (p. 165), while he (Francis) is not. He mounted his horse and set off for Oregon.
Although I'm glad to see PaulsonSr. TackettUnfortunately, the Aboriginal characters are portrayed as animals rather than humans. For example, in the second chapter, the Pawnee children howl. In the eighth chapter, Grimes describes the Pawnees as bears. In Chapter 9, Standing Bear (Sioux) moves like a cat. None of these functions are used for white characters.
Paulson's standing bear is a Sioux. A man named Luther Standing Bear/Ota Kte (Ota Kte was his Lakota name), born in the 1860s, wrote several books includingmy Sioux peopleThere is a ponka leader named Li Xiong. He was born in 1829 and died in 1908. He is known to have left the reservation without permission to bring his son's body home for burial.Books by Virginia Driving Hawk SneveAbout Him is on my list of children's books to review. I wonder if one of them was the inspiration for Paulson to use that name for this character. They're both important people and the character's name infuriates me.
I'm also curious about the Pawnee name: "Brad". It has a braid, and I guess that's why it's called a braid. It sounds silly to me. I looked up pictures/photos/illustrations of the Pawnees to see how they used their feathers. Paulson's braid features a feather pointing down at the end of her braid. It also looks silly and I haven't found any examples of feathers being used in this way. I'm not saying it's impossible, anything is possible, but when we have an outsider (Paulson) creating characters from a country (Pawnees) and a time span over 100 years ago, I think Paulson is in danger.
Battle. I can't find anyone in any tribe who supports wrestling, it doesn't look like what Paulsen describes. However, I found it in the Boy Scout Handbook! In the navigators marked “Native Americans” there is a lot of content that has nowhere to do with Aboriginal traditions. However, I would like to find proof. If so, please message me and let me know where he is! This fight reminded me of the "Indian Burn" from the American children's saga.
Scalping braids have done it. a lot. This is a cruel and barbaric act. In general, Paulson described the Aborigines as animals. The waxing performed by Braid fits the barbaric framework and the Pawnees are portrayed as less than human. At the end of the story, Francis decides to end his friendship with Grimes because Grimes is acting like a Pawnee and scalping Brad. We should think that Francisco has superior morals and chooses not to be like an animal. But. What we as readers should dismiss are Paulson's depictions of the aborigines. What it gives us is a limited narrative that leads the reader to believe that natives are inferior to whites and therefore it is okay to occupy native lands. And it also hides a lot of violence against indigenous peoples. There are also rewards for Aboriginal men, women and children. Bounty hunters raise money by displaying the scalps of Aboriginal men, women and children. Paulson gave us a white man with a scalp, but he's an exception in Paulson's story. It turned out to be deviant, but the truth is that the whites were very exploitative of the natives. Here is an excerptProclamation of 1755Indicate how much a person receives for “making scalps”:
For every male Penobscot over the age of 12, fifty pounds must be brought to Boston within the above period.
£25 for each Penobscot female captured and taken as above and for each male Indian captive under the age of 12 captured and taken as above.
For the scalp of an Indian under the age of twelve, as already mentioned, twenty pounds is killed and brought as proof of his death.
Paulson's point of view is the same as that of Francis, a 14-year-old white boy, but howCritic of his third book(Tackett's ride) said that Paulson is not developing a character. Use stereotypes. Such stereotypes are a serious problem when we as a society know so little about indigenous peoples, past and present. The reviewer pointed out this issue and said:
„However, the use of the social studies classroom requires careful and critical analysis by both teachers and students. "
I spent about an hour watching videos made by students/teachersSr. Tackett.I see no evidence of careful or critical analysis. While Paulson sometimes had his white characters use "man" or "males" to refer to the Pawnees, he mostly used "brave" or "warrior" to refer to males and "squaw" to refer to to relate to women. Upon careful or critical analysis, I would like teachers to see words like these because they create distance or barriers when it comes to seeing indigenous men and women as human beings like everyone else.
Sr. TackettDefinitely a very popular book, as you can see from its reprints. Here are some covers I found. The first looks like the original 1969 cover:
Here is much of what I found. In the online preview I saw a copy from 1995 and this cover is in the 25th edition.
This is the final cover in my opinion:
in oneInterviewPaulson said he learned a lot from reading a particular series. what you read to your childrenSr. Tackett“Learning” series on indigenous peoples? Regular AICL readers know that I criticize authors who use "Native American" instead of specific tribes, but it's just as problematic when authors use specific tribes and stereotype us. I do not recommendHerr Tuckert.