Omakayas is a Objiwa girl who lives on an island in the Great Lakes in the 1840's. This book follows the course of her life for one year. Her father is a fir trapper and is gone most of the time. All of the members of the family have their own responsibilities to do. Omakayas isn't as good at beading as her older sister, or as cute as her younger brothers, but she has a special connection with animals, especially a mother bear that lives near by and two bear cubs. Watching her granddaughter's affinity with nature, Omakayas' grandmother wonders if Omakayas has what it takes to become a healer like herself.
I have been meaning to read this series for a long time. All of the installments have received starred reviews in the major journals. The stars are well deserved and I am going to be recommending this to lots of people in the future. It is like "Little House in the Big Woods" from a Native American point of view--interesting and tender, and full of family values. I just noticed that it first came out in 1999, so it is older than I thought, but the most recent installment of the series (#5) just came out last year.