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Cameron, Anne.

Madiera Park (B.C.), Harbour Publishing, c1986. 160pp, paper, $8.95, ISBN 0-920080-89-8. CIP

Grades 7 and up
Reviewed by Sharon A. McLennan McCue

Volume 15 Number 3
1987 May

Anne Cameron's newest collection of myths from the native people of the northwest coast is a welcome addition to the growing body of native content books. In style, it is close to her two previous books of myths, How Raven Freed the Moon* and How the Loon Lost Her Voice.* All of her books have that unmistakable, narrative style. Easy to read, it flows whether you are reading to yourself or others, so it is universal, suitable for elementary school students as well as adults.

The stories are concerned with humankind and its relationship with its environment. This relationship is not always easy to understand. Stories were a way of passing on a world view. Anne Cameron was fortunate enough to have heard these stories when she was a child. We are fortunate that she chooses to share them with us. In fact, the book's foreword, in which Cameron discusses how she first heard the stories, is as interesting and readable as the stories themselves.

The stories often concern admirable character traits and how the strength of these will allow the possessor to triumph in the end. In one strongly feminist story, a young woman cultivates hi herself all of those characteristics that young men find most repulsive in women. She does this so no young man will want to marry her and thus she can remain the independent head of her household. This tactic is carried so tar that she eventually grows a beard that makes her repulsive to the men who would dominate her and is, at the same time, a symbol of her ability to take control of her life.

While some of these myths have an obvious feminist bent, this theme is secondary to their being well-written recountings of legends that have, until now, been passed on orally. Dzelarhons is highly recommended for any library with a native content collection, but it could be as easily used hi the classroom, filling the imaginations of students, both native and non-native, with an endless source of possibilities.

Sharon A. McLennan McCue, Cree School Board, Chisasibi, James Bay, Que.

*Reviewed vol. XIV/3 May 1986 p.130.

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