As a teacher, Bruchac was my go-to author for middle grade and young adult books written about America's First Nations. His exceptional writing ability and prolific writing production, along with his own Abenaki ancestry, gave his books the quality and credibility that made me keep going back. His biographies of Sacajawea and Pocahontas are unique and inspiring. Code Talkers, about Navajo Marines using their language as a secret code during WWII, is iconic. And his horror stories based on Native American legend, such as Skeleton Man, glued my reluctant 5th grade readers’ bugged-out eyes to books. Peacemaker is based on the most important story in the oral tradition of the Iroquois Confederacy. Twelve-year-old Okwaho shows us how the vicious warfare between these nations ended because of one man's persuasive power. I’m drawn to both the tension and the simplicity of this book, and I'm thrilled to see writing about peace! Our constant need to focus on war has me so weary, and I’m just grateful to Joseph Bruchac for writing so well about a moment when peace happened despite long odds.— Tim McCarthy
A twelve-year-old Iroquois boy rethinks his calling after witnessing the arrival of a mystical figure with a message of peace in this historical novel based on the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Twelve-year-old Okwaho's life has suddenly changed. While out hunting with his best friend, his friend is kidnapped by marauders from a neighboring tribe. Okwaho barely escapes back to his village where everyone lives in fear of raids and killings: The five tribes of the Iroquois have been at war with each other for far too long, and no one can even remember what it was like to live in peace.
Okwaho seeks only revenge, which will just perpetuate the violence. But before he can retaliate, a visitor with a message of peace, as told in the lore of the of the Iroquois nation, comes to him in the woods. The Peacemaker--a vision in white buckskin with a calm demeanor and soothing words--tells the boy that he can convince even the most warlike leaders of the wisdom of peace. Okwaho joins the legions of others who believe, and is present when the great treaty creating the Iroquois Confederacy is enacted.
About the Author
Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed children’s book author, poet, novelist, and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. He is the coauthor of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series with Michael Caduto. Bruchac's poems, articles, and stories have appeared in hundreds of publications from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored many books for adults and children including Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two, Skeleton Man, and The Heart of a Chief.
Praise for Peacemaker
“The included stories allow Bruchac to share much about Iroquioan family life, culture, and worldviews, and should put to rest the numerous errors to be found in Longfellow’s poem, “The Song of Hiawatha.” Told with grace, this will be welcomed in history classes and those look for successful examples of nonviolent anti-bullying strategies.”—Booklist
“Bruchac brings a fresh point of view to this briskly told fictionalization of the Iroquois Confederacy’s beginnings.”—Publishers Weekly