Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Neekna and Chemai are two little girls growing up in the Okanagan Valley in the time before European contact. Through these two friends, we learn about the seasonal life patterns of the Okanagan First Peoples. The girls spend time with Great-Grandmother, who tells them about important ceremonies, and they gather plants with Neekna's grandmother. Grandmother explains how bitterroot came to be an important food source, and why the people give a special ceremony of thanks at its harvest. Grandmother also tells the story of how a woman was changed to a rock to watch over the Okanagan Valley. Neekna understands how important it is that she has received the knowledge passed down for generations, from great-grandmother to grandmother to mother.
About the authors
Jeannette Armstrong is an award-winning novelist, activist and poet born on the Okanagan Reserve. Known for her literary work, Armstrong has always sought to change deeply biased misconceptions about Indigenous people. Her novel Slash is considered by many people to be the first novel by a First Nations woman. In 2013 she was appointed a Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy to research, document, categorize and analyze Okanagan syilx oral literature in Nsyilxcn.
Barbara Marchand is a published author and editor and an illustrator of children's books and young adult books. Her credits include Kou-Skelowh/We are the People: A Trilogy of Okanagan Legends (new bilingual edition), We are the People: A Trilogy of Okanagan Legends, Kou-Skelowh/We Are the People: How Food Was Given and How Names Were Given & How Tu: A Trilogy of Okanagan Legends.
Other titles by Jeannette Armstrong
Okanagan Women’s Voices
Syilx and settler writing and relations, 1870s to 1960s
Dancing with the Cranes
River of Salmon Peoples
Native Poetry in Canada
A Contemporary Anthology
Whispering in Shadows
Gatherings, Volume VII - Standing Ground
Strength and Solidarity Amidst Dissolving Boundaries
The Native Creative Process
A Collaborative Discourse