This fascinating picture book biography tells the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman—a Hidatsa Indian born around 1839. Through her true story, readers learn what it was like to be part of this Native American community, which lived along the Missouri River in the Dakotas, a society that depended on agriculture for food and survival rather than hunting. Using original artwork and archival photographs, award-winning author/illustrator S. D. Nelson has captured the spirit of Buffalo Bird Girl and her lost way of life. The book includes a bibliography and an index, as well as an author’s note and timeline of events.
Awards and praise for Buffalo Bird Girl
Gelett Burgess Award
CCBC Choices Book, Biography
? Kirkus starred review
? SLJ starred review
Blending archival material with original prose and artwork, Nelson (Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story) crafts a first-person biography of Waheenee-wea (Buffalo Bird Woman), a member of the Hidatsa tribe that flourished near the Missouri River on the Great Plains. Photographs of the Hidatsa people tending to crops, preparing food, and dressed in traditional attire bring their daily activities and traditions into vivid relief. Nelson's acrylic paintings and b&w pencil drawings are intriguingly interlaced with the photographs, contrasting Native American figures in blunt profile with harvest colors and background textures that mimic dried spears of grass, leather skins, and basket weaves. Quotations from Buffalo Bird Woman's writings (which she recorded in collaboration with an anthropologist in 1906) appear throughout, including a lament over the loss of land and customs after her people were relocated to a reservation: "I am an old woman now. The buffaloes and black-tail deer are gone, and our Indian ways are almost gone. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I ever lived them." A memorable account of perseverance. Ages 6 10.