Ethnic Studies Reviews
Red Thunder by David Matheson
With his first book, Red Thunder, David Matheson creates an idyllic tribute to his people, the Schee-tsu-umsh/Coeur d'Alene tribe. This book is a great introductory piece into Native American cultures and ideal for anyone initially exploring ethnic studies.
The structure of the book reveals its goal to become part of the educational cannon with not only a glossary (which seems unnecessary as each word becomes defined as it is introduced in the text) but also a reading group guide with discussion questions and a section on life lessons presented throughout the book. With the scope of these educational tools as well as its very basic writing structure, Red Thunder seems best suited for a junior high or high school level.
For anyone with a background in this area, Matheson has little to offer for a fresh perspective. The stories that unfold are general enough to be universal, so much so that the tale seems to blend in with every other telling of the Native American experience of that time period. Matheson's endeavor is an educational one, not a creative one.