April 5, 2017

The Game of Silence

In a time long forgotten, the tribe of Indians know as the Ojibwe roamed the woods and waters of midwest America. They were simple people in the means of their living - hunting, fishing, trading - but they were happy. The Ojibwe had only ever known their own island in the Great Lakes, and they never wanted to leave. There was a sort of rhythm and serenity to their daily lives, which kept them content. Little did they know that outside their homeland, the world itself was rapidly changing; no longer content with their current land and seeking to gain more territory, the white men had begun relocating many Indian tribes, sending them away from their homes and into the West. The Ojibwe are next. This is the story contained in the pages of the book The Game of Silence, by Louise Erdrich.

Omakayas loved to play the game of silence. After listening to Nokomis (Grandmother) sing the game of silence song, all the children were meant to remain completely quiet until an adult released them. The game was always great fun; the challenge of remaining absolutely quiet while trying not to laugh along with her favorite cousin was almost too much for Omakayas, but the thought of losing the game was always enough to keep her quiet. But tonight it was easy to be silent; the usually boring adult conversation was more than a little interesting. Fishtale had returned with sobering news; according to the white man's government, all Ojibwe would be moved off their island and sent to a faraway place. What!? Leave her home, her favorite place in the world? Omakayas couldn't believe what she was hearing; she wanted to jump up and demand an explanation, but if she did that she would lose the game of silence.

Another wonderful book by Louise Erdrich, and a wonderful sequel to The Birchbark House. Once again there are some very sad and somewhat disturbing chapters, as well as light spirit worship. Parents should use discretion when letting younger children read this.


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