Red River Stallion
Amelia Otterchild Mackenzie is a fourteen-year-old living on Canada’s Hudson Bay in the early 19th century. Abandoned first by her Scottish father and then by her stepfather, she is taken in by her Cree relatives after her mother’s death. When Amelia is rescued by Foxfire, a magnificent stallion she believes is the personification of her pawakan (or spirit animal), Amelia’s life changes forever. She decides to join the horse’s owner, a woman on the way to the Red RiverValley to meet her husband. The Red RiverValley is also where Amelia’s father headed soon after her birth, promising to send for her and her mother. Amelia is determined to find him.
Amelia journeys to a new life of discovery and unravels family mysteries while surviving bear attack, roaring rapids, and first love. The use of the derogatory term “half breed” by the Cree themselves, and the unusual practice of a girl going on a vision quest, gave this reader pause. But Red River Stallion is beautifully written from the viewpoint of a vibrant young woman with her feet in two worlds (“Cree is the language of dreams, thoughts, and lullabies”). Amelia’s adventures are compelling and her rich and complex life is never over-simplified. Her deep connection to Foxfire shines throughout. Recommended for ages 10 and up.