Tomson Highway

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What cultural elements are integrated into Tomson Highway's Caribou Song, and what message does the author aim to convey to the audience?

Quick answer:

The cultural practices, traditions, beliefs, and values that are integrated into Tomson Highway’s Caribou Song relate to themes of hunting, mysticism, song, and dance.

Expert Answers

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To discuss the cultural practices, traditions, beliefs, and values integrated into Tomson Highway’s children's book Caribou Song, one might have to do some research into the Cree people. Remember, Joe and Cody are Cree. They’re members of an Indigenous tribe in Canada.

After finding out more about the Cree people, one should learn that art and music are important to them. The value of art and music is reflected in Cody’s fondness for dancing and Joe’s love of playing the accordion.

Additionally, Cree culture emphasizes ceremony and ritual. While there’s not an explicit ceremony or ritual in Highway's story, the dancing and the music allude to elements that would likely be a part of a ceremony or ritual.

Another key part of the values and practices of the Cree is the shaman. Cree are spiritual and mystical. They believe that certain people possess great, otherworldly powers, like shamans. Such mysticism is evinced in the rather magical encounter between the brothers and the caribou.

As for the caribou, they play a sizable role in Cree tradition. Hunting and trapping animals is practiced by the Cree. These animals include rabbit, moose, and caribou.

To highlight the uniqueness and individuality of the Cree, the author provides English text and Cree text. Perhaps this inclusion, along with the idiosyncratic story of the brothers, is meant to convey the message that the Cree are distinct people with their own culture and experiences.

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