Friday, July 26, 2019

Deadly Aim: The Civil War Story of Michigan's Anishinaabe Sharpshooters

Walker, Sally M. Deadly Aim: The Civil War Story of Michigan's Anishinaabe Sharpshooters
July 30 2019 by Henry Holt & Company

E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

The Civil War (which is covered in out 8th grade social studies curriculum) is a difficult period of history. Unlike WWII, there is not as much interest in it now, and when there was still interest, the types of books being written about it didn't include diverse populations. In some respects, the Civil War has the same black-and-white/right-and-wrong aspects that WWII does, but in others, things are remarkably gray. When it comes to populations such as Native American involvement, it's complicated and messy. Walker does an admirable job at outlining events and explaining why events unfurled in the way they did.

Certainly, this is very clear: Native populations were gravely mistreated at every step of the process. Walker worked with Repatriation Department for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Eyaawing Museum and Cultural Center, and the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways and did enormous amounts of research to get her facts, and presents them with sensitivity. I don't know enough about tribes of the Michigan area to say if she gets all the details correct.

This covers a large span of time and an incredible amount of individuals. We see what life was like before the Civil War, have an understanding of why some Native peoples got involved, and have a harrowing overview of the treatment of veterans after the war. Detailing what happened to individuals is always a good way to put a human face on what otherwise is a lot of bureaucratic statistics.

Deadly Aim is a great addition to middle school and high school libraries for research. Walker has several appendices with important documents, complete source notes, and an extensive bibliography. Readers who want to delve into details about the war will be glad of this for pleasure reading, but I got a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information!

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