As many of you know, there are a LOT of materials available on American Indians, but, many (I'd say most) are outdated and/or biased in ways that continue to present American Indians as victims, savages, or tragic heroes.
I'm really glad people are seeking other materials. As the population of American Indians grows, particularly those in positions/places to effect change in curriculum (either by writing books, doing research, or planning curriculum), we'll see more and more positive change, and (hopefully) a decrease in stereotypical information (like the 'Indian' way of saying 'hello' I wrote about yesterday).
So! Here's my suggestion on how to proceed.
There are two excellent encyclopedias, both published in the 90s, both infused with the work of Native scholars, and more updated viewpoints of Native peoples. Both have entries written by Native scholars, political leaders, tribal leaders. Each entry is supported with "for further reading." Order each one for your library. When a class is doing a particular research project, look it up in both encyclopedias. See what the entry says, who wrote it, and what their sources were. Look for additional items by the author of the entry, and look for their sources, too. The two encyclopedia's are:
- Davis, Mary B. (1996) Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Publishing Inc.
- Hoxie, Frederick E. (1996) Encyclopedia of North American Indians. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
ALSO, get these three books. They are also excellent and teachers/librarians/students will find them helpful.
- Francis, Lee. (1996) Native Time: A Historical Time Line of Native America. New York: St. Martin
- Champagne, Duane. (1994) Chronology of Native North American History. Detroit: Gale Research
- Champagne, Duane. (1994) Native America: Portrait of the Peoples. Detroit: Visible Ink Press
Using the Internet:
Go to Lisa Mitten's website. Lisa is in the American Indian Library Association, and maintains a webpage with links to homepages of Native Tribes/Nations. Those maintained BY the tribe are marked with a drum icon. Here's her page:
FINALLY, when using the web, make sure students go to Elaine Cubbins website BEFORE they start using the web to find material on American Indians. She, too, is in the American Indian Library Association. Her page is about evaluating webpages with Native content.
All these resources are listed somewhere here on my blog. The encyclopedias and books are at the bottom of my recommended books list, and the websites are listed in the section of my page called "Excellent Websites about American Indians."
Update, May 8, 2008...
An excellent set of books for elementary-middle school use is called "American Indian Contributions to the World," edited by Emory Dean Keoke and Kay Marie Porterfield. There are five books in the set:
- Food, Farming, and Hunting
- Trade, Transportation, and Warfare
- Science and
- Medicine and Health
- Buildings, Clothing, and Art
Update, April 9, 2011
Read the scholarship and research of people in American Indian Studies! See "Native Professional Associations and Journals" on the left (scroll down).