The Red Sash (PB)

SKU: 9781773069821

Jean E. Pendziwol
Grade Levels:
Four, Five, Six
Métis, Ojibwe
Book Type:
House of Anansi Press
Copyright Date:

Sale price$14.99


The Red Sash is a picture book about the role of Indigenous Peoples in the fur trade. The story is told from the point of view of a young Métis boy whose father is a voyageur and his mother is Ojibwe. Their wigwam is located in a village across the river from Fort William along the shore of Lake Superior. While the family maintains their Native lifestyle, father's role takes him far away to the Red River and beyond but soon the time for rendezvous arrives. This means that father will be returning to the family. All family members prepare for the feast in the Great Hall of Fort William. After their chores are finished, the children go to a nearby island to hunt for rabbits. While the children are hunting they see a brigade of voyageurs in large canoes approaching the fort. A storm arrives quickly and the boy is stranded away from his family. As he scrambles for cover, he notices one canoe with a gentleman in a beaver hat. This canoe is in trouble. The boy goes to the shore to assist the canoe as the rowers make for the safety of the island. The loaded birchbark canoe is damaged and the boy offers to carry the gentleman to the fort in his family's canoe. With his brother and sister, the boy helps the fine gentleman into the canoe and off they row for the fort. As the children and their passenger arrive at the wharf they see all the voyageurs and their fur-laden canoes. Even the boy's father is home for rendezvous. Their father has brought special gifts for everyone. The boy receives a bright red woven sash that distinguishes voyageurs. That evening at the great feast there is dancing and singing. Everyone enjoys the homecoming. At the end of the story a Métis boy wearing a red sash is pictured dancing with the others. The illustrations capture the calmness of the Native camp, the wildness of the storm and the joy of a family. Throughout the story, the author adds French and Ojibwe terms and provides historical background of Fort William and the voyageurs who work for the North West Company. While the text does not indicate Ojibwe background, the colourful images of the family's wigwam, the baby's tikinaagan, and the clothing of mother and sister are clearly authentic. A map of Fort William and the surrounding lake are shown inside the front and back covers. This is a positive depiction of the role of Ojibwe and Métis in the Canadian fur trade. Reading Level: 5.5; Guided Reading Level: O

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