Cover image for Thunder Bear and Ko : the Buffalo nation and Nambe Pueblo
Thunder Bear and Ko : the Buffalo nation and Nambe Pueblo
Hazen-Hammond, Susan.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Describes the life of Thunder Bear Yates and his family in Nambe Pueblo, where they are trying to preserve the traditions of their ancestors as well as the buffalo that are sacred to their people.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 6.4 1.0 27681.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.T35 H36 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A few years ago, Pueblo Indians won a court battle against the state of New Mexico to save a buffalo herd from sport hunting. Award-winning author and journalist Susan Hazen-Hammond was invited to document the arrival of the buffalo at Nambe Pueblo. Through the eyes and experiences of Thunder Bear Yates, an eight-year-old boy, she shows the importance of the buffalo to Pueblo history, culture, and spirituality; and how this successful fight helped rekindle the community's interest in its own past.

Gorgeous full-color photographs of the majestic buffalo and the distinctive Southwestern landscape accompany this extraordinary story of grassroots activism, cultural identity, and the special bonds that can exist between animals and people. As Thunder Bear's father says, "The Indian nation and the buffalo nation have been linked since time began". This book is a celebration of that shared history.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5. The setting for this photo essay is a pueblo village in New Mexico where eight-year-old Thunder Bear Yates is preparing for his future role as a tribe leader. When the Pueblos learn the New Mexico government plans to allow the sacred buffalo to be killed for sport, they work together to convince officials to call off the hunt. As part of the agreement, five buffalo come to live at Nambe Pueblo to join an existing herd. Their arrival has a great impact on Thunder Bear, who connects spiritually with the buffalo and, by extension, with his own ancestors. Accompanying photographs are sharp and clear, though the absence of captions and labels may occasionally leave readers wondering what they are looking at. That aside, Thunder Bear's story is nicely told, and the attractive volume will easily fit into a multicultural collection and be a useful supplement to the study of New Mexico or the Pueblo Indians. --Lauren Peterson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thunder Bear, an eight-year-old boy growing up in a New Mexico Pueblo village, is at the center of Hazen-Hammond's (Timelines of Native American History) first children's book; at the same time, her crisp color photographs and supple text offer a broader portrait of the rituals and beliefs of the Pueblo nation. The author's primary focus is on the spiritual connection between the Pueblo people and "Ko," or buffalo, which had all but become extinct 100 years ago. Thunder Bear's grandfather, the spiritual leader of their branch of the Pueblo, earlier played an important role in bringing buffalo back to their town, Nambe Pueblo. Now Thunder Bear's father, the tribe's Buffalo Keeper, experiences a "spiritual and cultural renewal" after a new group of buffalo arrives in the village as a result of a court decision‘much cheered by the Pueblo‘to prohibit buffalo-hunting on a portion of state-owned land. Youngsters will learn much about the age-old bond between Thunder Bear's people and their sacred buffalo "brothers," but still more intriguing is the extent to which Pueblo traditions are embedded in contemporary life. Photos clearly document the integration of old and new: animal skins hang from curtain rods above Thunder Bear's family computer and a grazing buffalo scratches its neck on the author's shiny red car. The lack of captions should not discourage browsers‘images and text are carefully coordinated, inviting the reader to dip in at any page. Ages 7-11. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Through an interesting text and full-color photographs, Hazen-Hammond tells the tale of Nambe Pueblo and its spiritual leaders, the Yates family. The book focuses on eight-year-old Thunder Bear, who will one day lead his people, and his grandfather and father, who have taken on the responsibility of caring for and protecting the bison and educating their community in traditional practices. After joining the fight to save a group of buffalo living on state land from hunters, they welcomed five rescued animals into their thriving herd. The intriguing design and colors of the pages support the bright, welcoming tone of the work. Information about celebrations, costumes, and the uses of the buffalo is incorporated throughout. The author writes about sacred practices, but acknowledges there were limitations on what she was allowed to see and photograph. While occasionally leaning toward the precious, the book is appealing and uplifting. This thoughtful exploration into one group's culture and their environmental recovery successes will be useful for cultural-studies units.-Mary B. McCarthy, Windsor Severance Library District, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.