When The Legends Die This is the story of the life an Ute family, and in particular the way of their people. The story starts off with the father of the family, George Black Bull running for his life from the sheriff and Blue Elk, one of the old Ute men.
He had shot a man named Frank No Deer, he had killed him for stealing his money three times that he owed to a sawmill in Pagosa where he had worked with many other of his people, that he had saved for a long period of time. So George, his wife Bessie and son decided to live in the mountains, where they would live the old way, singing songs for different occasions, fishing and hunting with arrow instead of guns, and making use of the wilderness and all of it’s resources. They built a cabin to live in, in a location where George would not be found and put in jail for his crime, they caught their meals, sewed their clothes and lived life and taught their son the way it had been lived by many generations of their people in the past, until one da! y George was crushed by an avalanche while hunting in a valley.Bessie new now that their son had become the man of the family, and would be responsible for many of the tasks that needed to be done in order to survive, it was also time for him to pick a name, he chose the name Bear’s Brother.
Every once and a while they went to the village to trade for items that they could not make, but after a short period of time Bessie became very ill and died. Bear’s Brother had learned the ways and was now capable of taking care of himself, he continued to live life the old way. One day he journeyed to town to trade items, he told what had happened to his parents and that he was living alone with a bear, but Blue Elk thought that he should not be living this way and that he should be in school and living the way of the present. Blue Elk followed Bear’s Brother to his cabin and they talked for many hours, Bear’s Brother re-taught Blue Elk the old ways and talked with Bear’s Brother f! or many hours, and finally convinced him to come to town with him and remind his people of these old ways. I personally like the setting of the wilderness in this book.I enjoy reading and learning the ways that native people lived their lives in the wilderness even if it is fiction and not fact.
The setting is very detailed, believable and has enough but not too much description. “She cried out once in horror, and the boy heard and came and stood beside her, watching, as the snow plume floated all the way down the slope and the thunder of the slide echoed into the silence,” is a phrase that I found particularly enjoyable and descriptive. I like the way that the author has not introduced too many characters at once and has limited the number of characters that are of relevance during certain periods of the book. I find it is very annoying when a book has many important characters all at one point or section of the book, instead Hal Borland introduces characters at various stages of the book, and now that Bear’s Brother’s parents have died I’m sure a few more characters will be introduced.
I like Blue Elks character because he’s mysterious and seems to show up every once and a while in the book, he seems to be everyone’s friend. For example, when Bear’s Brother’s bear is attacking dogs in the village, he shows up for no apparent reason. There’s not too much suspense in this book, but I think it’s mainly because there’s no need for suspense in this style of book. A not so obvious example of foreshadowing would be right after George fights Frank No Deer for stealing his money.
After he has fought he checks his pocket to see if his money is still there, and of course it’s gone.The author wouldn’t have written him checking his pocket in the first place, if the money wasn’t going to have been stolen. I think that this book sort of relates to what has happened at Ipperwash and the problems there. Even though it does not really have a direct link, just because it’s involving problems with native people and their culture, it is somewhat similar.