The Game of Silence

The Game of Silence is a 2005 novel by Louise Erdrich. It is the second novel in "The Birchbark" series that began with The Birchbark House.[1][2] The two novels both feature the family of the Ojibwe girl Omakayas.

The Game of Silence
AuthorLouise Erdrich
CountryUnited States
Series"The Birchbark Series"
Publication date
AwardsScott O'Dell Award (2006)
Preceded byThe Birchbark House (1999) 
Followed byThe Porcupine Year (2008)
Chickadee (2012) 

Plot summaryEdit

The story picks up from the previous novel in 1850,[2] when Omakayas is 9 years old and with the arrival of a group of Ojibwe refugees who have been driven off their land by the government. The title refers to the "game" that the elders use to keep the children quiet when the adults are having serious conversations, in this case, discussions with the refugees about how to interpret the government's actions and how to respond. The elders send four men on a year-long quest to uncover the causes of the government's hostility, only to learn that the answer is government rapacity and complete disregard for the Indians' rights. The story ends with Omakayas' people having to leave their home for new land out west.[3]

Meanwhile, Omakayas is growing up and learning to control her spiritual gifts, including healing and communicating with the spirits, and learning the values of her community, such as that her gifts are to be used to help others, that individualism and the group can co-exist, and that it is better to patiently work with the white people rather than resist and lose their lives.[3]



  1. ^ "The Birchbark House". National Book Foundation. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "The Game of Silence". HarperCollins. Archived from the original on February 9, 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  3. ^ a b MacLeod, Anne Scott (June 19, 2005). "The Game of Silence". New York Times. Archived from the original on October 4, 2020. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  4. ^ "Horn Book Fanfare: Best Books of 2005". The Horn Book Magazine. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2022.