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Bear Dancer: The Story of a Ute Girl
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Bear Dancer: The Story of a Ute Girl

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Elk Girl, sister of a Ute chief, lives a traditional life with her tribe high in the Rocky Mountains in 1860. Elk Girl is bold: She loves to hunt deer with her brother, and she races her pony to win. She also knows the importance of ceremonies like the Bear Dance, which wakes the bears from hibernation and celebrates spring. But all of that changes when Cheyenne warriors c ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 15th 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published September 27th 2005)
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Tristyn Page
Oct 30, 2013 Tristyn Page rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was very good because of the difference in it.In the story Bear Dancer, there is a young girl that loves in the Rocky Mountains. One day she is taken and traded between Indian tribes for 4 years. Finally she is sold to her worst enemy , the white people. These people are different from others, they are kind and give her things. But, this is not her home. She makes her way across the mountains and hitches a ride with a nice man who brings her to a boom town. From there she waits for an ...more
Oct 11, 2010 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
I really enjoyed this one, but then, I am very interested in the history of the American Indian and the how North America changed quickly and forever with the advent of the white settlers. It follows a young Ute girl (based on the true story of Elk Tooth Dress) who is first kidnapped by a rival tribe, then at one point taken by white settlers, and then her effort to return home, only to find her home largely destroyed. I appreciated the way that the book portrayed what it was like to be an Ameri ...more
A quick, yet stirring read. Based on the true story of the Ute girl, Elk Tooth Dress.
The Ute Indians lived in the area of the Rocky Mountains for many years before Whites arrived and destroyed their tribe and culture and took their land through treaties. Elk Girl's story takes place at the end of the Ute's freedom. Elk Girl is the sister of one the tribe's leader, a man who has seen what Whites will do and tries to warn the rest of the tribe. But they all feel like the mountains will protect the
Destri Vias
Elk tooth dress lived in the Shining mountains with the Ute tribe. Until one day she is captured by the Cheyenne they eventually sold her to the Arapahos to be a slave. After about two years she escapes and goes back to her tribe to find that they have to leave the mountains and live on a reservation.
The plot in this book was ok but no the best, I think because it was written for a younger grade. The charters were easy to believe and realistic. This book Was backed on a true story and the them
Ccl Children's
This book is a fictionalized account of two years in the life of Elk Tooth Dress, later known as Susan Johnson. She was a member of the Tabeguache Ute tribe, who made their home in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. She was kidnapped in 1861 by a band of Cheyenne hunters. This book follows the next two years of her life, until she is returned home. Some of the alliances in this story surprised me. I visited the Rocky Mountains and the lovely area around the Gunnison River over the summer, so it was enj ...more
Dec 13, 2014 Carly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I would have liked it more had I known at the beginning it was based on a true story. Short enough I would read it again to like it this time.
May 21, 2015 Benji rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really like it but I got a better sense of what slavery and indians were like.
Kandyce Barber
Excellent. 4th grade students can use for the "Utah" read.
Mar 04, 2015 Luna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy read but amazing story. Intense and heart-warming.
Jan 07, 2008 Nitrorockets rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This is author writes mostly for young adults and has won two ALA award for others books. This book is meant for young readers, between 8-12 years old, which makes it a quick read. I enjoyed the book so much that I can't believe how fast it went.She did a beautiful job writing about, Cutshutchous, or Elk Tooth Dress, Chief Ouray's sister. To hear her love of the mountains, those mountains, you can feel the connection. She takes you back to the time in Elk Girl's life when she was 15 and follows ...more
Jun 22, 2011 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elk Girl was a member of the Ute tribe and lived in the 1860's. The story is based on her life and begins when she is kidnapped at age 10 and forced into slavery by the Arapahoes. She is rescued by a white soldier and lives with a "white" pioneer family for another year. She is finally returned home to her village to find them riddled with small-pox and starving. As an adult, Elk girl (Susan Johnson, her married name)was instrumental in dealing with treaties and a hostage crisis in 1879. only 19 ...more
Nov 27, 2007 Buffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
This is the story of a Ute named Elk Girl. Based on Chief Ourays sister. She is taken by Cheyenne Indians and must be their slave for a while. She is then sold to the Arapahoes and is their slave. Then a white soldier saves her. His wife takes care of her and lets her live with them. She teaches Elk Girl english. Elk Girl runs away to go home and people help her along the way. They all want her to help Chief Ouray give up their land. A great story.
In late 19th cent. CO, Elk Girl, sister of chief Ouray, is made a slave by Cheyenne and Arapaho, rescued by white “enemies” and returned to a greatly changed Ute tribe.

Not as emotionally involving as I like, but engaging and interesting topic. Based on real person, but fictionalized.
Oct 10, 2012 Stefany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ndn-lit
An okay book, but it felt very superficial. I wasn't able to relate to Elk Girl at all, although I did feel sympathy for her throughout the book. Things felt rushed and barely described. It definitely felt like a young YA book, like around 12-14 or so?
Brandon Mcgee
It was a good book and has some interesting history. I have seen similar stories about Native Americans. It is sad some of the stuff they went through.
Lisa Anderson
Jan 20, 2010 Lisa Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again, read for my daughters book club at school. Very good subtle teachings of why we should not be predjudice. Good for 4th-6th. I also enjoyed it.
Jan 11, 2013 Francesca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though I read this book quite a while ago, it was good enough for me to still remember it. So, the author must have done something right:)
Dec 11, 2008 Hailey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was AMAZING!!!!!! I loved it sooooooo much. It was a great story about a Ute girl and her hardships.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
In 1860 a Ute girl becomes slave to first the Cheyenne and then the Arapaho before she escapes to freedom.
Dec 22, 2009 H.M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was thoroughly depressing, but well written. And it was too short!
Courtney Lund
Feb 23, 2009 Courtney Lund rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is about the old tribes i would suggest to everyone
Oct 01, 2007 Noelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is a j fiction book, but it grabbed me by the heart.
Carlyn Nielsen
Carlyn Nielsen rated it it was ok
Aug 25, 2016
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Thelma Hatch Wyss lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is married. She is the author of Here at the Scenic-Vu Motel, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; Ten Miles from Winnemucca, a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year; and on the McElderry list, Bear Dancer: The Story of a Ute Girl, which won the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Reg ...more
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