Another book from the …If You series, …If you Lived with the Sioux Indians answers questions about the Sioux style of life between the years 1800 and 1850. As with all of the books in this series, The Sioux Indians is informative, easy to read, and has lots of interesting illustrations.
Here are a few of the Q&A.
Would you stay close to your tipi? You wouldn’t have to. You would be free to wander anywhere in the village.
You might visit the tipi of your second mother and father. When a Sioux baby was born, his parents chose another set of parents to help care for him. The second mother and father might be the baby’s grandparents. Or they might be friends of the family.
The second father would be chosen because he had some special skill to teach the boy. He might be an excellent hunter or a warrior or a medicine man.
The second mother was expected to be gentle and loving and to help teach the girl.
You would spend as much time with your second parents as you would with your own mother and father. [pg. 17]
Did Sioux children go to school? There were no special schools for children. Learning time was all the time. You learned as you played. You learned as you helped your parents with all the work.
The best hunters and warriors were chosen to teach the boys. Boys learned how to make arrows and how to shoot them. They learned how to hunt, how to ride their horses without a saddle, and how to steal horses from enemies.
By the time a boy was five, he was a good rider. And at seven, he could take care of the family horses.
Contests were held to see how much the boys had learned. The boys who did the best were picked to ride out with the scouts or to run errands for the warriors in a battle. [pg. 26]
What would your very first lesson be? You would learn your very first lesson in the very first hour of your life. Newborn babies learned how not to cry out loud.
As soon as you made a crying sound, your mother would gently pinch your nose and put her hand over your mouth. Every time you began to cry, she did this. Soon you would learn not to cry out loud.
Why was this lesson so important? Suppose you hurt yourself when you were out on a buffalo hunt. If you cried out loud, the buffalo would run away, the hunt would be spoiled, and the tribe would have no meat.
Suppose you cried out loud when our tribe was hiding from the enemy. Your loud cry would give away the tribe’s hiding place. [pg. 29]
What were good manners? If a stranger came to your tipi, you would great him with a word or two. Then the two of you would sit quietly and not say another word for a long time. It was good manners to be quiet.
You would never, never show how you felt in front of a stranger. Even if you were angry or sad, your face would not show it.
If someone in your tribe died, people did show sorrow. They cut their own skin until it bled. They cried and sobbed in public. But it was bad manners to ever again say the name of the dead person.
It was bad manners for a boy to laugh and joke with his sisters or his mother. But there were other people in your family you were supposed to laugh and joke with. It would be bad manners if you didn’t.
It was good manners for a Sioux to share everything he had with everyone. Any stranger was invited to share the family’s pipe and food. He could even share their clothing if he needed it.” [pg. 57]
Ms. McGovern discussed the Sioux religion as part of their civilization. Earth gods, medicine men, spirit visions, and initiatory ceremonies are mentioned in several different Q&As.
Conclusion. I have found the If You series by Scholastic to be very educational and the pictures pleasantly interesting.