Psalm for a Winter Twilight

Author: LaForce, Beatrice

Subjects: Communication; American History; Prejudice; 23rd Psalm; Native Americans

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 3202

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 3202S

Psalm for a Winter Twilight Cover

Inspired by the Native American version of the 23rd Psalm, Psalm for a Winter Twilight is a moving study of the contrasts and similarities between Native Americans and whites in the abysmal time of American history when the Native Americans had already been defeated, and white men persisted in driving them, often starving, from their homes and land.

It was a time of maniacal vengeance on both sides, and innocent children were slaughtered. It was a time of tragic cultural ignorance and a mean-spirited sense of superiority spurred on by fear. But there was also a commonality in people—a possibility of understanding. And the story, which opens in blood-red violence, closes in the cooler glow of the possibility of brotherhood under a Greater Being. This night is one of the commonality of humankind and peace, when Native Americans and white people share the transcending beauty of the 23rd Psalm in sign and spoken English.

The novel addresses knee-jerk emotions and considered actions. It speaks to the better side of people: the minister and his wife who adopt two orphaned Native American children and raise them as their own, the once-proud chief and his small band of survivors who opt to trust, the U.S. Army officer who is wrestling with his military oath and his religious/humane convictions. There are the young soldiers and homesteaders driven by punishing overkill, too, but this night, in a house of God, they are held off. At the center of the story stand the two adopted children, now teenagers. They are the interpreter and the bridge.

From their first encounters with Christian missionaries, the North American Plains Indians used sign language to communicate the Psalm among tribes that spoke different oral languages. In 1894, Isabel Crawford, a Baptist missionary to the Kiowa tribe in Oklahoma, translated the sign version into literal English. The Native American version of the 23rd Psalm is included in this story in a slightly edited form.

Inspired by the Native American version of the 23rd Psalm, Psalm for a Winter Twilight is a moving study of the contrasts and similarities between Native Americans and whites in the abysmal time of American history when the Native Americans had already been defeated, and white men persisted in driving them, often starving, from their homes and land.

It was a time of maniacal vengeance on both sides, and innocent children were slaughtered. It was a time of tragic cultural ignorance and a mean-spirited sense of superiority spurred on by fear. But there was also a commonality in people—a possibility of understanding. And the story, which opens in blood-red violence, closes in the cooler glow of the possibility of brotherhood under a Greater Being. This night is one of the commonality of humankind and peace, when Native Americans and white people share the transcending beauty of the 23rd Psalm in sign and spoken English.

The novel addresses knee-jerk emotions and considered actions. It speaks to the better side of people: the minister and his wife who adopt two orphaned Native American children and raise them as their own, the once-proud chief and his small band of survivors who opt to trust, the U.S. Army officer who is wrestling with his military oath and his religious/humane convictions. There are the young soldiers and homesteaders driven by punishing overkill, too, but this night, in a house of God, they are held off. At the center of the story stand the two adopted children, now teenagers. They are the interpreter and the bridge.

From their first encounters with Christian missionaries, the North American Plains Indians used sign language to communicate the Psalm among tribes that spoke different oral languages. In 1894, Isabel Crawford, a Baptist missionary to the Kiowa tribe in Oklahoma, translated the sign version into literal English. The Native American version of the 23rd Psalm is included in this story in a slightly edited form.

Psalm for a Winter Twilight Cover

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