White Falcon. Elliott Arnold
Alfred A. Knopf, 1958; Awarded 1958.
Synopsis: John Tanner is a young boy when he is kidnapped from his Kentucky home by Ottawa Indians. He is still a boy when he is chosen by Chief Netnokwa to accompany her back to the Chippewa village of her childhood so she can die. After an arduous journey John still has many obstacles to overcome to become before he is fully accepted as a member of the tribe.
Themes: Overcoming hardships; Positive Values; Historical fiction
Discussion questions: Standard 3, Benchmark 3
1. John is adopted in both the Ottawa and Chippewa tribes and his adoptive parents treat him as a son. What other tribal members do not accept him? Who are his rivals in each tribe? Why do they hate John? How would you compare John's acceptance as a person of a different race to present-day situations?
2. What is the significance of John's name change to White Falcon? When does the ceremony occur? Why is he given the name White Falcon?
3. John develops a code of conduct for himself as he grows up that he follows all his life. What are these qualities? What are his feelings when he steals a pony from the Cree to replace his own stolen horse? How are these values reflected in his encounter with the Sioux on one of his trapping excursions?
1. On a map, mark the journeys in John's life from Kentucky to the Ottawa village on Lake Huron and from the Ottawa village to the Chippewa village on the Red River. What are the present day states he went through? Are any of the place names the same? Standard 1, Benchmark 5
2. Research the Hudson's Bay Company. When was it first established and when did it close? Where was it established? What European countries were involved in the fur trade? What animal pelts were traded? Standard 2, Benchmark 4
3. Set up a display to show how the Ottawa and the Chippewa tribes were alike and different in their clothes, houses, weapons, food and other things in from each life style. Standard 3, Benchmark 1