Reviewed by Alexis Blendel
This is my last year of Florida Virtual School. Soon I will take a trip with my cousin to the Glades to visit the Big Cypress Reservation. My mother is originally from Hollywood, but I want to see the Glades again. It is a sacred place for Seminole people. It is an ecosystem where both alligators and crocodiles live. During many wars, the Everglades hid us from our enemies who were too scared to go there.
The history of my people in Florida is more complicated than I was taught by white teachers in school. They still have the conqueror’s hive mind. They are obsessed by the purity of what they call the original tribes of Florida. That’s a misunderstanding and a way to criticize our land rights and income. We are descendants of the Creek people. We lived for thousands of years as hundreds of tribes with the same linguistic family—Maskókî. Our families were free blacks and fugitive slaves. We are survivors of Spanish Missions. It is only the name Seminole that came later. Continue reading.
She Sang Promise by Jan Godown Annino
Published by National Geographic Books on 2010
Genres: American Indians, First Nations, Metis, Inuit
Reading Level: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
Review Source: American Indians in Children's Literature
Buy at Powell's Books
Publisher's Synopsis: She Sang Promise is the compelling and inspiring story of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, one of modern America's first female elected tribal leader. With its lyrical, poetic text, and rich, vibrant illustration, this is a book to charm and amaze young readers.
Betty Mae Tiger Jumper was born in 1923, the daughter of a Seminole woman and a white man. She grew up in the Everglades under dark clouds of distrust among her tribe who could not accept her at first. As a child of a mixed marriage, she walked the line as a constant outsider. Growing up poor and isolated, she only discovered the joys of reading and writing at age 14. An iron will and sheer determination lead her to success, and she returned to her people as a qualified nurse. When her husband was too sick to go to his alligator wrestling tourist job, gutsy Betty Mae climbed right into the alligator pit! Storyteller, journalist, and community activist, Betty Mae Jumper was a voice for her people--ultimately becoming the first female elected Seminole tribal leader.
Lisa Desimini's stunning folk-style artwork brings this gripping tale and the lush Everglades setting to life. The book has been vetted by the Seminole Indian Museum.
National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources. Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information.