Synopses & Reviews
This fascinating picture book biography tells the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born around 1839. Through her true story, readers will learn what it was like to be part of this Native American community that lived along the Missouri River in the Dakotas, a society that depended more on agriculture for food and survival than on hunting. Children will relate to Buffalo Bird Girland#8217;s routine of chores and playing with friends, and they will also be captivated by her lifestyle and the dangers that came with it.
Using as a resource the works of Gilbert L. Wilson, who met Buffalo Bird Woman and transcribed her lifeand#8217;s story in the early 20th century, award-winning author-illustrator S. D. Nelson has captured the spirit of Buffalo Bird Girl and her lost way of life. The book includes a historical timeline.
Praise for Buffalo Bird Girl
"The extraordinary illustration of this handsome volume begins with the endpaper maps and features acrylic paintings of the Hidatsa world reminiscent of traditional Plains Indian art. Pencil drawings and relevant, carefully labeled photographs round out the exquisite design. All the artwork both supports and adds to the text. An extensive authorand#8217;s note and timeline supplement this beautiful tribute."
and#151;Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This is a lovely and graceful introduction to a way of life that persists despite cultural obstacles and the march of time."
and#151;School Library Journal, starred review
"Nelson's quiet, respectful tone capably balances the factual details of daily life in the Hidatsa tribe with the obvious joy and nostalgia Buffalo Bird Girl feels toward her childhood."
and#151;The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"As a writer, storyteller, and traditional artist of the Sioux people, his perspective is genuine and effectively portrayed. This book would be enjoyable for anyone interested in history, but would also be an effective resource in the classroom to support the curriculum.and#8221;
and#151;Library Media Connection
"Nelson's acrylic paintings and bandw pencil drawings are intriguingly interlaced with the photographs, contrasting Native American figures in blunt profile with harvest colors and background textures that mimic dried spears of grass, leather skins, and basket weaves."
Cooperative Childrenand#8217;s Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2013 list - Biography and Autobiography
Gelett Burgess Award - Arts and Letters category
Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born about 1839, was an expert gardener. Following centuries-old methods, she and the women of her family raised huge crops of corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers on the rich bottomlands of the Missouri River in what is now North Dakota. When she was young, her fields were near Like-a-fishhook, the earth-lodge village that the Hidatsa shared with the Mandan and Arikara. When she grew older, the families of the three tribes moved to individual allotments on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
In Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden, first published in 1917, anthropologist Gilbert L. Wilson transcribed the words of this remarkable woman, whose advice today's gardeners can still follow. She describes a year of activities, from preparing and planting the fields through cultivating, harvesting, and storing foods. She gives recipes for cooking typical Hidatsa dishes. And she tells of the stories, songs, and ceremonies that were essential to a bountiful harvest.
A new introduction by anthropologist and ethnobotanist Jeffery R. Hanson describes the Hidatsa people's ecologically sound methods of gardening and Wilson's work with this traditional gardener.
Praise for Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden:
"A gem of a book useful for today's gardener." --Organic Gardener
"One of the best gardening books around." --City Pages
"Every gardener and agricultural scientist should find gems of practical wisdom in these pages, borne from an age-old tradition when sustainable agricultural practices . . . made the difference in sustaining life. Fascinating " --Foster's Botanical & Herb Review
"Historical photographs and diagrams of farming techniques, along with actual recipes and Hidatsa vegetable varieties, make this gem of a book useful for today'' gardener." --Organic Gardening
"This that I now tell is as I saw my mothers do: or did myself: when I was young. My mothers were industrious women: and our family had always good crops; and I will tell now how the women of my father's family cared for their fields: as I saw them: and helped them." --Buffalo Bird Woman
About the Author
S. D. Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakotas. He is the award-winning author and illustrator of numerous childrenand#8217;s books, including Black Elkand#8217;s Vision, Gift Horse, Coyote Christmas, and The Star People. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. Visit him online at www.sdnelson.net.