Long Powwow Nights selected for First Nation Communities Read Program

Long Powwow Nights, written by David Bouchard and Pam Aleekuk and illustrated by Leonard Paul, has been selected for the First Nation Communities Read program as the book that First Nation communities and their libraries will celebrate during the 2010-2011 year. Published by Red Deer Press, Long Powwow Nights is also available in a French-Mi’kmaq edition, entitled Nuits de pow-wow (translated by Patsy Paul-Martin). Both editions include a CD with readings in both languages and music by Buffy Sainte-Marie.

In making the announcement on June 21, First Nation Communities Read program coordinator Patty Lawlor said, “We’re delighted that our announcement of Long Powwow Nights as the 2010 First Nation Communities Read title selection coincides with the launch of the summer powwow season across Canada. ”

Long Powwow Nights is both a son’s tribute to his mother and a paean to their experiences together on the powwow trail. It speaks of the preparation and anticipation leading up to a powwow, the mystical essence of powwow dances and songs, and the affirmation and joy experienced by those who immerse themselves in the powwow tradition.

A jury of First Nation librarians, with coordination support from Southern Ontario Library Service, made the 2010 First Nation Communities Read selection from titles submitted by publishers from across Canada. Jury members commended Long Powwow Nights for its accessible poetic text and refrain, stunning portrayal of powwow regalia, and emotional intergenerational appeal.

“As a long-time publisher of Aboriginal children’s and adult books, Red Deer Press is honoured that the 2010 First Nation Communities Read selection is one of our titles,” observed sales and marketing associate Cheryl Chen. “More than poetry, Long Powwow Nights is a bilingual gem celebrating life and spirituality. It raises awareness of Aboriginal culture, promotes literacy and the arts, and further garners respect for Aboriginal culture and traditions. The collaborators of Long Powwow Nights honour the powwow and make all readers and listeners proud of the customs that continue to shape young and old alike.”

The 2010 First Nation Communities Read program promotes Long Powwow Nights and other titles the jury endorsed as “Aboriginal Titles Recommended for Everyone.” All public libraries throughout Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia will receive the poster with encouragement to celebrate Long Powwow Nights and the other recommended titles through readings, programming and displays. For more information, visit the Southern Ontario Library Service’s website.

Books previously honoured by the First Nation Communities Read program are: Which Way Should I Go?, written by Sylvia Olsen with Ron Martin, illustrated by Kasia Charko; Ancient Thunder, written and illustrated by Leo Yerxa and published by Groundwood Books; As Long as the Rivers Flow, written by Larry Loyie with Constance Brissenden, illustrated by Heather D. Holmlund; SkySisters, written by Jan Bourdeau Waboose, illustrated by Brian Deines; Solomon’s Tree, inspired by Tsimpshian master carver Victor Reece, written by Andrea Spalding, illustrated by Janet Wilson; and Dragonfly Kites, written by Tomson Highway, illustrated by Brian Deines.