"The Good Path" by Thomas Peacock

AFTON, Minn. ? "The Good Path" by Thomas Peacock was released in August by Afton Historical Society Press. The book is 128 pages long and contains 122 illustrations including photographs by Marlene Wisuri, paintings, historical photographs and diagrams. It is available in soft cover edition only.

Peacock, a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, has both his master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. He is an associate professor of education at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he teaches educational leadership. Peacock is the author of "Ojibwe: Waasa Inaabidaa" ("We look in all directions") also by Afton. It is the companion volume to a six-part public television documentary produced by WDSE in Duluth.

Wisuri has an MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and has taught photography and photographic history at several colleges and universities. Her work has been exhibited nationally as well as in Finland and Norway. Wisuri is currently the director of the Carlton County Historical Society in Cloquet, Minn.

"The Good Path" tells the story of the Ojibwe people and teaches the nine universal lessons central to their philosophy. The book is designed to be a learning tool for school children and will be placed in selected classrooms throughout Minnesota as part of Afton Historical Society Press's "Books for Schools Program."

While the book is packed with facts, I found the traditional spoken storytelling style entertaining and easy to follow. Complex lessons ? such as how the Ojibwe descended from the Lenni Lenape, who journeyed from the West coast to the Atlantic Ocean and back again to Madeline Island on Lake Superior ? flow in a gentle and logical succession.

"The Good Path" teaches its lessons through short stories handed down through the generations. Chapter three, "Grandmother Moon," illustrates why we should honor women. "The Time of the Sixth Fire," in chapter eight shows how the people could overcome the destruction of their culture through courage. "In the Ojibwe world-view, common threads exist among culture stories, beliefs and history," said Peacock. "All represent fractions of the truth, and that is why the Ojibwe do not refer to the cultural stories or beliefs as 'legends' or 'myths.'"

The accompanying photographs and illustrations show the people and places mentioned in each story to make each fact easier to process and remember. An activities guide at the end of each chapter helps the reader reflect on the previous lesson and offers project ideas to make each story more personally relevant.

I recommend "The Good Path" to people of all ages and cultures as a painless way to experience the perspective of the Ojibwe and perhaps find a few similarities to themselves. The book is available through www.aftonpress.com, by calling (800) 436-8443 or by writing Afton Press, P.O. Box 100, Afton, Minn. 55001.