Nations of the Eastern Great Lakes


32 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 0-7787-0473-4
DDC j971.3004'97




Christine Linge MacDonald, a past director of the Toronto & District
Parent Co-operative Preschool Corporation, is an elementary-school
teacher in Whitby, Ontario,


In these new additions to Bobbie Kalman’s Native Nations series, the
reader meets Aboriginal peoples living on the Atlantic and the Pacific
oceans, and a third group associated with the huge freshwater mass in
the centre of the continent, the Great Lakes. In examining the Native
nations in these geographically diverse areas, the reader gleans a
deeper understanding of the land itself. Each group has developed over
the millennia its own unique method of utilizing every possible gift its
chosen land could offer. The variety of foods, apparels, shelters,
transport, weapons, décor, and tools displayed in these volumes is
staggering, and is very likely to inspire respect for the stalwart
ancestors who learned how to harness the land, yet never overwhelm it.

Life of the California Coast Nations looks at several coastal groups,
including the Ohlone, better known as the Costenos, the name given by
Spanish missionaries. Likewise the Gabrielino people got their name from
the San Gabriel mission, built on the territory of the Tongva bands.
Several pages describe the poor treatment these groups received at the
hands of the Spanish invaders, who also overhunted wildlife and
introduced alien plants into the ecosystem with disasterous results.
Happily, any reader distressed by the sad ending to the story of these
nations can review earlier pages, and relish the warmly coloured
drawings that reveal the details of their life in this resource-rich

Life in the Far North describes the life of the Inuit and the Inupiat,
including their traditions, homes, hunting and fishing, and history.

Life of the Powhatan takes us to the coastal plain of present-day
Virginia. Like the California volume, this one looks at the fine details
of hunting, cooking, crafting, clothing, games, and beliefs. Of special
interest is the true story of Pocahontas, a Powhatan whose tale is
well-known in its altered, Disney state. The accurate version, which
young readers deserve to know, is more interesting, although admittedly
a little sad.

In Nations of the Eastern Great Lakes, Canadian readers encounter
several familiar nations—Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, and
Cayuga—all of which belong to the Iroquoian language family. In
addition to examining the fundamentals of life, such as hunting and
trade, the authors closely examine the sophisticated government of these
nations. Some historians believe that Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin
Franklin studied these Native Confederacies before they wrote the U.S.

In all these volumes the reader’s attention is held by an impressive
variety of images, from modern photographs and illustrations to
beautiful paintings. Most volumes conclude with a list of websites
pertaining to these Nations as they exist today. All of the volumes are
highly recommended.


Kalman, Bobbie, and Rebecca Sjonger., “Nations of the Eastern Great Lakes,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 18, 2024,