This adventure book in the "Amazing Indian Children" series by Kenneth Thomasma is published by Grandview Publishing Co.
Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran is written for kids ages 9 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
In a mix of fiction and historical events, Shoshoni Indians Naya Nuki and Sacajawea are 11 years old when they're captured by an enemy tribe. Though Sacajawea feels an escape attempt is too dangerous, Naya Nuki makes careful plans and stealthily gathers supplies for the journey home. After Naya Nuki gains the trust of her captors, she flees. The book gives an account of her harrowing, month-long journey. She faces wild animals, human enemies, debilitating illness and hazardous weather. The tribe rejoices at her return, and she is later reunited with Sacajawea when the famous guide — along with explorers Lewis and Clark — visits the Shoshoni to buy horses.
Naya Nuki remembers that her mother always cared for her when she was ill. When Naya Nuki's mother lost one of her children as a baby, she grieved according to Shoshoni custom: She burned the crib, chopped off her own hair and cut her legs with sharp rocks until they bled. Her actions demonstrated to Naya Nuki the great love of a mother for her child.
Other Belief Systems
Naya Nuki and her tribe sought to please the spirits, including The Great Spirit. They performed a special dance prior to the hunt to please the spirits, and they attributed bad weather to the spirits' anger. Naya Nuki wouldn't take items she needed from a burial site for fear of angering the spirits.
Indian Paintbrush Book Award, 1986
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- When Naya Nuki prepared to run away from her captors, she stole items, such as a buffalo hide. Do you think her actions were justified in her situation?
- We may never face a dangerous journey like Naya Nuki's, but what can we do to demonstrate courage and strength in our own lives?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.