Thursday, November 25, 2010

Book Review - Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Maid

My wife and I went to Auriesville, NY back in September and visited Ossernenon, the site of the Mohawk village where Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha spent much of her youth. There is a very nice gift shop on the site and we purchased several little mementos there, including this book, Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Maiden by Evelyn M. Brown. I read it aloud with my two older children and they both enjoyed it.

The book tells the story of Blessed Kateri in prose that will be an easy read for kids 10 and up. From what I know of Kateri's history, the story is very faithful to the actual facts, adding embellishments only as appropriate. I particularly appreciated that the author used many of the actual Indian words in the text, though they caused me severe tongue-twistedness on occasion. Here are some examples: Onsengongo (Kateri's uncle), Ononthio (Great Mountain, the name the Indians used for the French governor in Quebec), Kanawaki (another name for the Mohawk town), Ondessonk (Indian name for St. Isaac Jogues). This gave the text a great deal of authenticity. The author also worked a useful phonetic pronunciation of Kateri's Indian name into the text (Te-ka-kweeta) which is so often mangled by us pale-faces.

I highly recommend this book. It is excellent for reading with your kids and may give them an interest not only in this outstanding example of Christian piety, but also in the history of colonial and native America. For the original life of Blessed Kateri as written by her spiritual director, Fr. Cholenec, see Katherine Tekakwitha: Her Life.