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Children's Fiction Native Canadian

Long Powwow Nights

by (author) David Bouchard & Pam Aleekuk

illustrated by Leonard Paul

performed by (orchestra, band, ensemble) Buffy Sainte-Marie

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2009
Native Canadian, Dance, General
Recommended Age
8 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


The Powwow is a time-honored Native American custom. It is a celebration of life and spirituality, a remembrance of traditions, uniting a people through dance and ritual.

Long Powwow Nights takes you on a wonderful journey, honoring these mystical dancers who keep their traditions alive through dance and song. In its poetic verses, David Bouchard skillfully narrates the story of a mother's dedication to her roots and her efforts to impress upon her child the importance of culture and identity.

Internationally revered Native American artist, Leonard Paul, brings the story alive with his beautiful renditions of powwow dancers, warriors, and stunning landscape.

The book is accompanied by a CD, which includes music by internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter, Buffy Sainte- Marie.

About the authors

British Columbia's best-selling author and most sought-after public speaker has presented to hundreds of thousands of educators, parents and students the world over. This former teacher and principal of 28 years champions literacy. His message is spelled out in his best selling books The Gift of Reading and For the Love of Reading.
"The greatest gift we can give our children is the gift of reading and there is no magic in giving it. There is no toy or program that will do the job for us. It takes time, commitment and most of all, fire. We cannot hope to light a fire in the hearts of others without a fire burning in our own. Light and stoke yours, then spread the flame fast and furious. Let literacy be your legacy."
Bouchard outlines individual roles and responsibilities in ascertaining that all children are given the gift of reading. He inspires like none other and leaves his listeners with a concrete plan and the rejuvenation needed to face literacy issues head on.
Born and raised on the Canadian prairie, the author of over twenty five best selling books now lives in British Columbia with his wife Vicki and their combined family of seven.
David Bouchard's books have won several prestigious awards, among them: the Governor General's Award for The Song Within My Heart in 2004 and the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry award for Voices From the Wild in 1997. If You're not from the Prairie is listed on MacLean's list of the Top Twenty Children's books in the history of Canada.
You can access his web page at


David Bouchard's profile page

Pam Aleekuk grew up on the prairies and is of M�tis descent. She has worked for many years in the aboriginal community both in Canada's North as well as with the First Nations of Alberta. Pamela has been nominated twice for the Governor General's Award for Excellence in teaching Canadian History. Currently Pamela is an educator working in Edmonton and enjoys teaching English, and writing in her spare time.

Pam Aleekuk's profile page

Known internationally for his exquisitely detailed portrayals of nature and its creatures, Leonard Paul, a First Nation Mi’kmaq visual artist, was born in Halifax in 1953. Leonard has had numerous solo art exhibitions, national and international exposure since he started painting for the public in 1976, the year his daughter Tayla was born. He is a master watercolorist and a consummate technician in mediums: drawing, oils and airbrushing. His artwork has been described as high-realism where careful attention is focused on art applications and arduous details. Leonard is a full-time professional artist, although he spent time as acting Director of Indian Brook R.O.C.K.S., an arts/cultural program in Indian Brook First Nation, dedicated to promoting cultural arts among youth.

Leonard Paul's profile page

Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Native Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist, was born on the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in the Qu'Appele Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada. She holds degrees in teaching and Oriental philosophy, and graduated in the top ten of her class. Throughout her varied career she has focused on love, war, religion, people's rights and mysticism.

Buffy Sainte-Marie's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Leonard Paul's wonderful artwork is the major strength of Long Powwow Nights. The magnificent paintings have a photographic realism that, given the subject matter, is beautiful and awe-inspiring. . . Long Powwow Nights is a stunning book that will especially appeal to First Nation People and to anyone who has enjoyed the opportunity to attend a powwow ceremony.
Highly recommended."
CM Magazine

"The incantatory verse that animates this song of praise to a mother who kept the magic of the powwow alive for her son's generation casts a spell, to be sure, but [Leonard Paul's stunning paintings of dancers in full-feathered dress and face paint eclipse all else."
The Globe and Mail

"Breathtaking colour paintings of traditionally clothed dancers and dance scenes intensify the passion of the ritual and the Powwow experience. Readers are also inspired through included audio media by Buffy Sainte-Marie, along with English and Mi'kmaq readings by the authors. This book is a wonderful tribute to the traditional culture of the Mi'kmaq nation, as well as an enriching resource for non-natives, and a celebration of First Nations People."
Rated E (Excellent)
Resource Links

"Long Powwow Nights is an ambitious book, a poetic elegy. . . Leonard Paul's superb paintings, printed full bleed, show in detail the dramatic black and white raven-like facial paint of the dancers as well as their full dance regalia and their exotic daily garb. . . On the enclosed CD, Buffy Sainte-Marie provides moving musical accompaniment to the spoken word. . . Together these talented artists have created a stirring multi-media experience for readers young and old."

"This book takes a beautiful look at some of the valued traditions from the Native Americans. I had absolutely no idea about their culture and I was fascinated as I turned the pages and analyzed the various pictures. This book is beautiful as well as informative and I thought it did a great job of telling us about someone else's 'true life and story'."

Librarian Reviews

Long Powwow Nights

music by Buffy Sainte-Marie

Metis author and teacher, David Bouchard, brings us two more collaborative works of art, poetry and music from different First Nations cultures. Red Deer Press has also published Bouchard’s An Aboriginal Carol, The Drum Calls Softly and Nokum is My Teacher. In the latest two, Long Powwow Nights and The Secret of Your Name, Bouchard continues to explore his Native heritage and to convey the beauty and complexity of it to a Native and non-Native audience of both children and adults.

In four-line stanzas, the author remembers his mother and how she danced the traditional dances at the powwow. He speaks of her desire to express herself and give voice to her culture through her dancing: “I remember you mother — still vibrant and young / Dancing beneath the warm prairie sun. / I now know those days were an endless desire / That burned deep within you like the flames of our fire.” She dances for 20 years, passing on to her son her wisdom and the traditions that will be his. When she dies, he remembers her as his teacher and guide through life. Every other page repeats an eight-line refrain. The text is bilingual — in English (or a French edition is also available) and Mi’kmaq.

The art is the real star here — magnificent paintings done by Native artist Leonard Paul in the style of high realism. They are portraits of the dancers in full regalia, occasionally in motion. There is fine detail in the costumes and a pensive look in the faces. The final painting echoes the text, “Meegwetch mystic dancers — dark Ravens you were,” with a dark painting of a giant raven head and dancers by the fire under moonlight.

The book includes a CD with a reading of the story in English by Bouchard and in Mi’kmaq by Patsy Paul-Martin, and includes the song, Darling Don’t Cry, by acclaimed singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2010. Volume 33 No. 4.

Long Powwow Nights

Written in poetic verse, this beautifully narrated story of a mother’s efforts to impress upon her child the importance of culture and identity combines the passion and beauty of Native culture through words, paintings and song. Beautiful renditions of powwow dancers and warriors bring the text to life, and a music CD is also included.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

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