Treasure Chest
Ghost Canoe
Ghost Canoe

National Geographic magazine, Vol. 180, No. 4, October 1991, has an excellent article about the way of life of the Makahs before Columbus. (begins on p. 38) It has drawings of whale hunting and even of people pulling planks from living cedar trees, as in my story. You'll want to follow this up with research into the modern Makah today.

Two great reference books would be: Cedar: Tree of Life to the Northwest Indians by Hilary Stewart and The Great Canoes by David Neel. Both are published by the University of Washington Press. The Great Canoes is filled with color photos of the contemporary canoe culture revival in the Northwest, and I think kids would love it.


Bullet To find more information about the Makahs go to this website.
Bullet Topics to explore: lighthouses, clipper ships, the old trading language called Chinook, or Chinook jargon, and of course, anything you can find on Native peoples of the Northwest Coast, both historical and information about the people today.
Bullet Fishing: Compare early fishing techniques with modern ones. Are some species of fish being fished to extinction? What's happening with the salmon today?
Bullet Whales: Research whales, especially the gray whales the Makahs were hunting in this story. How did they become endangered, what is their current status?
Bullet The big trees: What uses did native people make of the giant cedars and other trees of the coastal forests? Has the modern timber industry damaged the coastal environment of the Northwest? Can timber harvesting harm the salmon? How?
Bullet Clues: List all the clues Nathan found throughout the story that helped him solve the mystery of the missing survivor and what the man was looking for.
Resources and Ideas for Teaching Will's Novels
Bearstone and
The Big Wander
Changes in Latitudes
Crossing the Wire
Downriver and
River Thunder
Far North
Go Big or Go Home
Jackie's Wild Seattle
Jason's Gold and
Down the Yukon
Kokopelli's Flute
Leaving Protection
The Maze
Never Say Die
Take Me to the River
Wild Man Island
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