Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Review: Moho Wat: Sheepeater Boy Attempts a Rescue

Moho Wat: Sheepeater Boy Attempts a Rescue, Kenneth Thomasma, illustrations by Jack Brouwer, Grandview Publishing Company, Jackson, WY, 1994.  With this book I am introduced to a new author.  This author writes children's books, based on Indian stories.  Many of these stories are passed down verbally.  This story is very old, in the 1700s.  It tells the story of the Shoshone Indians who were living in Yellowstone at the time.  The were known as the Sheepeater people.  This is a fascinating story about a boy, and is father.  Moho Wat discovers a sheep in a hot spring of Yellowstone.  The hot water has changed the ram's horn, making it into a material which would be very good for a bow.  That is what they do, they fashion a bow for his father and one for himself.  They now have bows superior to that of those around them.
However, just as things are going well, tragedy strikes.  A mountain lion gets Moho Wat, as he comes to close to her den.  It grabs his hand, and although his father saves him with the new bow, he does not save his hand.  It is indeed a tragedy to not have a hand, and at first Moho Wat reacts this way, his life is done.  However he begins to see that there are ways to overcome this.  He learns to shoot his bow with his feet.  He is convinced he can provide for a wife.
At the religious ceremony, held at the sacred medicine wheel, in the big Horn Mountains, far from their native, a young woman is kidnapped.  Moho Wat had seen her, and was stricken by her beauty.  He goes after her to rescue her.  This effort is very complicated.  He follows them many miles.  He finally develops a plan, and it works.  However he is now pursued.  They make their escape, and at one point a flash flood would have taken Moho Wat except for the girl hangs from a tree branch and saves him.  She is injured in the rescue, but heals quickly.  How surprised the family of both individual is when they finally arrive home.  
Aside from the story, the cultural information provided about the Sheepeater people is incredible.  They were a mountain people, who rarely traveled to the valley.  Their method of hunting as a team, the grieving for a brother, and other details of family life were insightful.  The are now mixed with the Shoshone of Fort Hall.
My only complaint about this book is the pictures make the couple look too Caucasion rather than Indian.  I really enjoyed the story.

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