Heading West traces the vivid saga of Native American and pioneer men, women, and children from the colonial beginnings of the westward expansion to the last of the homesteaders in late 20th century Alaska. In many respects, life in the backwoods and on the prairie was similar to modern life—children attended school and had daily chores, parents worked hard to provide for their families, and communities gathered for church and social events. But unlike today, pioneers lived against a backdrop of isolation, harsh weather, disease, and even plagues of locust. And for Native Americans, the westward expansion of settlers posed the most direct threat to their centuriesold cultures.
But pioneer life was not all hardship. Settlers were able to build lives and communities, and experience a freedom brought on by new possibilities. Author Pat McCarthy has woven dozens of firsthand accounts from journals and autobiographies of the era to form a rich and detailed story. Readers will find more than 20 activities to help them better understand their pioneering ancestors. Children will churn butter, dip candles, track animals, play Blind Man’s Bluff, create a homestead diorama, and more. And before they finish, readers won’t have just headed west, but back in time as well.