Crooked River

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The year is 1812. A white trapper is murdered. And a young Chippewa Indian stands accused. Captured and shackled in leg irons and chains, Indian John awaits his trial in a settler's loft. In a world of crude frontier justice where evidence is often overlooked in favor of vengeance, he struggles to make sense of the white man's court. His young lawyer faces the wrath of a settlement hungry to see the Indian hang. And 13-year-old Rebecca Carver, terrified by the captive Indian right in her home, must decide for herself whatand whois right. At stake is a life. Inspired by a true story,Crooked Rivertakes a probing look at prejudice and early American justice. From the Hardcover edition.
Curriculet Details
65 Questions
59 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for middle school students contains interactive videos exploring point of view, elements of plot, historical fiction, and protagonists/antagonists. The annotations provide background information about the historical period of the early 1800's and of the Native American tribe, the Chippewas. Students will explore the themes of intolerance and of friendship that reaches across cultural boundaries. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Homework #7

What season is it according to the first stanza of this poem? 
Explain the fate of each of the characters in this poem: Little Otter, Ten Claws, and the speaker. 

Chapter - 1

It is important to remember while you read this novel that we no longer use the name "Indian" to describe people of this heritage. We call them "Native Americans." Many Americans at the time of this novel also used the term "savages." 
We learn from this page that the novel takes place in the Ohio frontier. So far the characters are our narrator and her older sister, Laura. They have their Pa, but have somehow lost their mother. 
Rebecca is our narrator. Do you know what type of point of view that is called? Watch this video on the different types of point of view. Make sure you identify which point of view this novel is written in once you've finished.  (This annotation contains a video)
So this is a big family. There's Pa, Rebecca, Laura, Mercy, Amos, Lorenzo, and Cousin George. That's seven! 
Rebecca speaks with a certain dialect. She says "kilt" and "git" This novel takes place in the early 1800's, and many American children did not attend school. 

Chapter - 2

The subtle details in this sentence give us more clues about the setting. Which of the following is most likely the time period that this novel takes place? 
Chippewas are one of the largest groups of Native Americans in North America. Many bands still live in America today in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. An even larger population resides in Canada. Chippewas are part of the Algonquin body of Native Americans. They are also called Ojibwas.  (This annotation contains an image)
This is the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio. It was named Cuyahoga by the Native Americans, which is translated as "Crooked River." You can see how it earned its name by the picture below.  (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what we've learned so far, which word below best describes Pa's character? 

Chapter - 3

The inside of Rebecca's log cabin may look something like this. (This annotation contains an image)
This is what the Indians call the "white men." 
What is the best interpretation of these two lines? 
It seems that this novel is from two separate points of view: We get Rebecca's perspective as a first person narrator, but then we get a poem from the Indian's perspective. Both voices are considered first person point of view. 

Chapter - 4

Put yourself in the narrator's shoes. How would you feel if you had a murderer staying in your house? Good readers make connections to the characters and story often during reading. It helps to keep them engaged in the novel. Watch this video on making connections. Think about the different kinds of connections you make while reading this novel. (This annotation contains a video)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Indian John has a son, Little Otter, and a daughter, Yellow Wing, who is only four years old. 
The Chippewas lived in this type of lodge.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter - 5

The writer uses a great deal of figurative language. Figurative language is found in all types of writing. It helps readers understand things, events, and people in unique ways. It's important to be able to recognize the different types of figurative language. Watch this video for a review and see how many you already know.  (This annotation contains a video)
This paragraph not only further characterizes Pa, but it gives us more background information. The narrator's mother died giving birth to her younger sister, Mercy. Before the twentieth century, when most women gave birth at home instead of in a hospital, many women died during childbirth because of hemorrhaging (bleeding). Today, women may still hemorrhage, but doctors are present to stop the bleeding. 
Which type of figurative language is represented in the highlighted text? 
Pa implies that Laura and Rebecca are worthless and need to learn to do more on their own, but yet these two young girls, Laura, seventeen and Rebecca, thirteen do more hard work than most teens today. By early morning, they've already started a fire and cooked for a family of seven. Children in the past had to grow up much more quickly than children do today. This novel is historical fiction and one of its benefits is that we learn a great deal about the historical period while enjoying a good story. Watch this video about the other elements of historical fiction.  (This annotation contains a video)
Dishes weren't made of china or plastic, but of pewter.  (This annotation contains an image)
This just means that the rattlesnake is probably quite a few years old. These snakes add a new segment each time they molt their skin which can be as often as several times per year.  (This annotation contains an image)
We now know that these poems from Indian John's perspective reflect what is happening at the same time as the events with Rebecca and her family. So it seems the writer is telling the story by alternating two different perspectives of the same events. 
Which of the following lines from this poem is NOT a simile? 

Chapter - 6

Explain the difference between Laura's and Rebecca's attitude toward Indian John? 
List three things from this poem that reflect Chippewa culture. 
What do you think Indian John wants in trade from Bird Eyes (Rebecca)? 

Chapter - 7

Based on this paragraph, what is Pa's attitude toward the Indians? 
Below is a symbol of the Chippewa tribe. Notice it is very similar to the one which marks each poem.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter - 8

What four things has Rebecca brought to Indian John? 

Chapter - 9

A trapper hunts wild animals and sells their hides, meat, and fur. (This annotation contains an image)
Rebecca feels ________________ over Indian John. 
You may want to stop and make a prediction or an inference here. Making predictions and inferences keep readers engaged in the story. They prove that you are thinking about what you are reading. Watch this video on making inferences. Then think about what Rebecca may mean when she says, "I didn't know then what an unfortunate mistake that would later turn out to be."  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter - 10

These first two sentences contain two examples of what type of figurative language? 
James Madison was president of America from 1809 until 1817. This detail gives us a better idea of the time period of this novel.  (This annotation contains an image)
Which word below represents an inference you could make about how Indian John feels about these "visits" from the other settlers? 
These thoughts of Rebecca's show that she "empathizes" with Indian John, which means she tries to put herself in his place and feel what he must be feeling. This shows she cares about him and respects him as a human being. Most of the time in fiction, the protagonist has honorable feelings and values. That's why the protagonist is often referred to as the "hero" or "good guy" in the story. Rebecca is the protagonist in this novel. Watch this video on protagonists and antagonists. Who do you think the antagonist is in this novel?  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter - 11

This is Indian John's real name. Explain how this visit is different from the other people's visits. 
Explain how you think Peter and Indian John were once acquainted. In other words, what was their relationship? Use details from the poem to explain your answer. 

Chapter - 12

Do you have a prediction here? 
In America we refer to this band of Native Americans as Chippewas, but in Canada they are called Ojibweys. 
Peter Kelley was raised to ______________ Indian people and their culture. 
This sentence reveals that Pa has a good deal of authority in the settlement. 
A tomahawk, a Native American weapon, is similar to a hatchet or ax.  (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz #1 

Chapter - 13

How does this paragraph further develop Pa's character? 
Below is a picture of an arrowhead. These artifacts can still be found in America today.  (This annotation contains an image)
In your own words, explain what Rebecca is thinking about. What has she just realized? 
Rebecca claims, "The earth was stubborn." What type of figurative language is that? 
This "old story" is an example of a Native American fable. Fables are a type of story in folklore where the characters are animals who have human traits. Often the fable conveys a very clear moral or lesson through its story. What is the lesson or theme of this fable about the Man and the Fox? 
Amik was probably very hurt when Peter first visited him because Peter asked what he had done to the white men. Amik expected more of his friend and felt he should have known without asking that Amik had done nothing wrong. 

Chapter - 14

What might we infer from the highlighted sentence? 
The highlighted text shows that Peter is feeling 
Red Hair (Peter) brings one of Amik's (Indian John's) snowshoes. Amik remembers that his wife, Rice Bird, made them for him. You should be wondering why this shoe might be important to the case. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter - 15

Loaf sugar is sold as a moist loaf rather than granulated sugar in a sack. (This annotation contains an image)
Native Americans often used plants and herbs for medicines. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is true about Ma's feelings toward the Indians? 
From this line in the poem, we can infer that Kitche Manitou is a  
Maple sugar is made from maple syrup, which, of course, is made from the sap of maple trees. 

Chapter - 16

Rebecca is talking about fever and chills. 
Do you think Indian John will get a fair trial in this settlement? Explain your answer using details from the novel. 
What Amos explained to Rebecca doesn't make sense, does it? According to Amos, you must be guilty if you are going to trial. In America we have always believed that a man is innocent until PROVEN guilty. Amos, and many others in the community, are very confused on what they call "justice." 

Chapter - 17

Peter Kelley seems to be naive of the way this settlement truly feels about Indians. 

Chapter - 18

A "portmanteau" is similar to the briefcases that most lawyers carry today.  (This annotation contains an image)
Explain how these two stanzas show that Indian John is deeply connected to nature. Be sure to use details from the poem in your answer. 
Think about these lines for a minute. The "gichi-mookomaanag" are the white men. Indian John claims they are "blind and "deaf." In what sense do you think he means white men are "blind" and "deaf"? Does this perhaps relate to the intolerance they feel towards the Indians? 
What can we infer from these lines of the poem? 

Chapter - 19

Why do you think Pa and the men take the time to paint stripes on Indian John's face before the trial? 
At this point in the story, the suspense is really building. We call this part of the plot "Rising Action," the succession of challenges and events that the protagonist faces that lead to the climax. Watch this video on the elements of plot. See if you can recall details you learned in the exposition. Then try to make a prediction about a possible climax.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter - 20

Which is the best explanation for Rebecca feeling, "a small flicker of hope"? 
This must mean that Pa is  
List three details from this paragraph that show how the mood changes in the crowd now that Mr. Kelley has approached the witness. 
This means Indian John tricked the white men easily and saved his son. 

Chapter - 21

What can we infer happened to Ten Claws? 

Chapter - 22

Which type of figurative language is used to describe the character in the highlighted text? 
This personification of Ten Claws's tomahawk shows that it is  
This implies that Ten Claws is the one who killed the white trapper. 

Chapter - 23

Do you think this judge is fair? Explain your answer using details from the story. 

Chapter - 24

Indian blankets were hand woven. They often wore blankets wrapped around them as cloaks instead of coats. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following lists of words helps to depict Mr. Nichols as a fierce character? 
What is the best interpretation of the highlighted lines from the poem? 

Chapter - 25

The "will-o'-the-wisp" that Rebecca refers to are a part of folklore and are similar to fairies or ghost lights. They are told to be seen by travelers at night in the distance, especially over swamps and bogs. Supposedly, their purpose is to lure people towards them and away from the safety of the road or path. (This annotation contains an image)
Think about what you remember concerning Peter Kelley and the snowshoe. 
List three details from this paragraph that show Mr. Phelps is probably lying. 
Which of the following sentences contains a simile? 

Chapter - 26

Do you remember this part of the novel? 

Chapter - 27

What is Rebecca's internal conflict? 
What do you think? Do you believe Laura, or do you think she did see the feather, but doesn't want to admit it. 

Chapter - 28

This is a form of figurative language called hyperbole. Hyperbole is an extreme exaggeration used to make a point. Here it is used to convey how quiet the room was when Peter Kelley began to call his witnesses. For further explanation of hyperbole and its purpose, watch this video.  (This annotation contains a video)
These two stanzas bring out the ___________________ differences between the Indian's and white man's culture. 

Chapter - 29

What do we call a person who does what John Bigson does? 
American Indians gave names to each of the full moons to keep track of the passing year. The names are associated with the entire month until the next full moon occurs. Different tribes have different names for the moons. The Chippewa tribe calls the moon of March, the "snow crust moon." (This annotation contains an image)
Who is the "white chief and his twelve strangers"? 
What can we infer happened to the Indian's traps? 

Chapter - 30

Quiz #2 

Chapter - 31

Explain why Mr. Root is wrong by saying this. 
Which words in the paragraph help contribute to the dreary mood? 
This statement by Indian John compares the Indian game of "moccasin" to the white man's trial system. Jury members are like the guessers in the game. As players, they must not be fooled by all of the "dancing arms or loud drum," but rather focus on the truth. The "marked musket ball" must represent the "truth" that the players are trying to keep their eyes on. 

Chapter - 32

The highlighted phrase certainly helps create an ominous tone. What type of figurative language is this? 
It seems that Indian John means that he has tried to stay out of the conflicts between his people and the white men. 

Chapter - 33

Amos compares an Indian to a wolf--as if an Indian is an animal and a predator, ruled by instinct only. This shows that he believes his thinking is just common sense rather than prejudice. 
According to Native American culture, the Thunder Beings are powerful beings who bring destructive storms to the land. Thunder Beings, or storm spirits, are said to have the power to give life, but also take it away. They can destroy with the wind, cause flood and drought, or burn with lightening; but at the same time, they can also renew and bring the vital rains and nurture all life on earth. Below is one of many illustrations of these important gods of Native American mythology.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter - 34

Which theme is represented by Mr. Kelley's highlighted quote? 
Why does Indian John (Amik) tell Red Hair (Peter) and Rice Bird to do these things? 

Chapter - 35

Rebecca has solved her internal conflict over whether or not to turn her back on her family and community to save Indian John. She will follow her heart and do what she believes is right. Think of other stories where the protagonist makes the very same choice. In a famous American novel by Mark Twain, the protagonist Huck Finn makes a similar decision. He frees his friend Jim, an African American slave, even though he knows it will make him an enemy of his community.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter - 36

Below is a picture of what the gallows may look like.  (This annotation contains an image)
This might be a good plan since the boys have been climbing up there to carve their names. 

Chapter - 37

Think about the elements of plot. Which part of the plot is approaching? 
Which of the following quotes best develops the theme of man's intolerance of those who are different? 
To help create an eerie mood, the writer uses a lot of figurative language here. Which of the following is a simile? 
Explain some possible problems that you foresee with Rebecca's plan. 

Chapter - 38

The militia is a group of citizens who come together armed and ready to fight or protect the community. They are not professional fighters or part of the military. (This annotation contains an image)
What does this simile from the poem suggest? 
The last lines of this poem have an effective sound. What literary device is present here? 

Chapter - 39

For what purpose does the writer use the simile comparing the people to, "...a swarm of sickening flies?" 
Kitche Manitou is the Great Spirit, or Creator, of Indian John's tribe. Click on the link and read the story of creation. Then answer the question that follows. to the story, what is man's greatest gift? 
This is a sign that who or what is coming? 

Chapter - 41

This could be symbolic of the Thunder Beings' ___________________. 
What do you think is the question Rebecca is too afraid to ask? 
In your own words, explain what happens at the hanging and what has become of Indian John. 

Chapter - 43

Using evidence from the text, which war is the narrator referring to? 
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text? 
List two details from this poem that show that many years have passed. 
Quiz #3