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Opening in the summer of 1847, this story follows an Ojibwe family through four seasons; it focuses on young Omakayas, who turns “eight winters old” during the course of the novel. In nearly step-by-step details, the story describes how they build a summer home out of birchbark, gather with extended family to harvest rice in the autumn, treat an attack of smallpox during the winter, and make maple syrup in the spring to stock their own larder and to sell to others.

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