78 § Lessons from Turtle Island
Fox Song is beautifully written and illustrated. Cultural traditions are read-
ily apparent in the teachings of the grandmother and the activities she shares
with Jamie. The love between grandmother and granddaughter transcends
culture and is something all children can understand and identify with.
Other children’s authors also deal sensitively with the
topic of death. One notable example is from Inuit author
Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak, Northern Lights: The Soccer
Trails. We meet a young Inuit girl, Kataujaq, and learn of
her close relationship with her mother. They travel on
sea ice in a canoe pulled by dogs, pick berries, and sing
traditional songs together. Kataujaq loves to collect
flowers and stones for her mother, who carefully saves
and preserves all of them. Then a sickness comes and
Kataujaq loses her mother. She is very sad. One night she
watches as her village plays soccer under the stars and
northern lights. Her grandmother tells her that the lights
are the souls of loved ones who have died, and they are playing soccer up in
the sky. As Kataujaq watches the aurora borealis, she feels close to her mother
and is comforted.
This book won the Ruth Schwartz Award from the Ontario Arts Council
and Canadian Booksellers Association. Children are entranced by the breath-
taking illustrations and surprised to learn that the Inuit, people they had
always called “Eskimos,” also play soccer, a familiar game to all of them.
1. Native American dance regalia in dramatic play
As previously indicated, traditional Native American dance regalia should
not be equated with a dance costume. The regalia of Native dancers repre-
sent a part of their personal identity and also their affiliation with a
particular Indian Nation. Since regalia are considered sacred, it is very
inappropriate to include it in a classroom dance area.