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Lands of our Ancestors was reviewed and endorsed by the Director of the Santa Ynez Chumash Culture Department (Nakia Zavalla), a Chumash Language Teacher and member of the California Indian Education Oversight Committee (Kathleen Marshall) and the Santa Ynez Chumash Elders Board

Shelley Alden Brooks, PhD., California History-Social Science Project, University of California, Davis

I want to say how much I enjoyed reading the three Lands of our Ancestors books. I was struck by how powerfully you conveyed the devastating history on a level that young readers can engage with. I am glad to know about this series and am thankful that you went to the effort to write this history so students can have a fuller understanding of our state's history.

Dr. Rose Borunda, Professor, College of Education, CSU-Sacramento

Lands of our Ancestors Book One provides children the opportunity to learn about the impact that the Mission system had on the Chumash community. The narrative in this historical novel is a unique and fresh approach because it is written from the lens of a Chumash child. Accompanied with a teacher’s guide that addresses state standards, children gain not only knowledge about events during the Mission Era but also a perspective that develops their capacity to think critically about California History.

Dessa Drake, 4th Grade Teacher, Templeton, CA

My students described Lands of our Ancestors Book One as adventurous and exciting and hope the author will consider a sequel or series (which he did). Mr. Robinson succeeded in hooking them, and they are dying to know whether Kilik, Tuhuy, and the children made it to Sacred Mountain and if their parents survived. Students said they appreciated a story from a Native perspective and now they understand why Native people attacked the missions. One student described it as the best “mission story” he'd heard and another as the best “Native” book he’d read.

Carey McKinnon, Branch Supervisor, Santa Barbara Library System

Lands of Our Ancestors addresses a difficult and extremely important subject in an engaging and readable children's historical novel, perfect for inclusion into California history curriculum. The story of how native peoples experienced enslavement by the Spanish Catholic founders of the Mission system in California is told from the perspective of a young Chumash boy, Kilik. There is much to appreciate as Gary Robinson's light but sure touch involves us in Kilik's world, grounded in a sense of place and knit together with close family ties and cultural traditions. When his world changes in ways he could never have foreseen, he struggles to understand, and to decide how to act.

I loved reading this-- was drawn in by the immediacy of the boy, his playfulness, need for recognition from his father and other male figures, his relationships with his smart and pesky sister and his patient mother. (The characters speak with some modern idiosyncrasies, but not enough to take us out of the world of the book). Kilik's journey from child to young person of responsibility, through/during great shifting of his world, is what drives our interest throughout the book and what makes it work.

Jessica Cantrell, Tribal Librarian, Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria

I highly recommend the Lands of our Ancestors series by Gary Robinson. Working with local California public schools I know there is not enough accurate materials out there, especially told from an Indigenous perspective. Gary fills this gap with his books. Another amazing thing for teachers is the lesson plans have already been created. If you want accurate materials about Indigenous peoples during the Spanish Missions era, the Mexican Rancho period, or California statehood look no further than Robinson’s Lands of Our Ancestors.

Cindra Weber, San Bernardino City Schools Indian Ed Coordinator

The Lands of our Ancestors series of historical novels provides young readers with a realistic view of California history as experienced by Native Americans. While studying Book One, many of our students couldn’t wait for the next day’s class in order to find out what happens to Kilik, Tuhuy and the other Native children. These books, with their available teacher guides, give educators an effective way to teach California history to students.

Paul H. Gelles, Ph.D.; Former Professor of Anthropology, University of California

Lands of Our Ancestors Book One is an accessible, first-hand account of what life among the Chumash at the time of the Spanish invasion may have been like. Through the eyes of a native boy, Kilik, this book provides an inside look at colonialism and the drastic changes mposed upon the native peoples of California. Rather than building a mission in fourth grade, students should read this book to gain a better understanding of the violence and upheaval caused by the Spaniard's "civilizing" mission. Highly recommended.

Marcus V. Lopez Chairman, Barbareño Chumash Tribal Council Snr. Producer, American Indian Airwaves/Coyote Radio/KPFK, Southern California

Presenting the question of genocide and terror in our California history is a difficult proposition. However, Mr. Robinson, in Lands of our Ancestors, creates an interesting and provocative narrative of a Chumash family, interaction with European culture and issues that are essential to the Chumash regarding honor, valor and character.

Lands of our Ancestors is a good novel for our children--a pleasurable read that explains a serious period in the setting of Chumash families, society and the challenges of the massive intrusion towards a People. A creative, inventive narrative of atonement, that with proper orientation and instructions, can lead to further discussion, which has long been ignored. Makes a great read and gift.

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