The Light in the Forest
by Richter, Conrad. (Bantam , 1953 ISBN 0553268783) Novel. 117 pages. Grades 4+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
True Son, born John Butler in a little frontier town, was captured by the Lenni Lenape Indians when he was just four years old and adopted into the tribe by the great warrior Cuyloga who renamed him and reared his as his own. True Son grew up to think, feel, and fight like an Indian, to revere their god. Then the Indians made a treaty and agreed to return all white captives to their own people. By this time True Son had learned to dislike white men. The boy called True Son by his adopted Lenni Lenape Indian family and John by his natural mother and father, hates the white people who reclaim him. Who were his own people now?
Both this book and I Am Regina concern the return of Indian captives to their white families. The value system of the Native Americans and the white settlers are in conflict and he vows to remain an Indian no matter what his natural family does to him. The book recounts the savagery on both sides but it is with the Indian that the author and reader sympathize. Compare it to the feeling in such books as Drums Along the Mohawk or some of the movies produced in the forties and fifties. What factors made these changes in the way Native Americans are viewed historically?
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