In 1919, Annette Wynne's For Days and Days: A Year Round Treasury of Child Verse was published. In it is a poem that is easily found today. That poem is "Indian Children." You can find it, as Brendan did, on teacher lesson plan sites. When I started looking around, I saw that you can also find Youtube videos of children reciting it.
The poem tells us that American Indians no longer exist. You could read the poem as a lament, or you could read it as a celebration. Either way, it doesn't matter. The bottom line for Wynne, and, I suspect, for teachers who use it today, is that we are no longer here. We are, of course, alive and well.
Here it is:
by Annette Wynne
Where we walk to school each day
Indian children used to play-
All about our native land,
Where the shops and houses stand.
Note "we" in the first line and "our" in the third line. Neither word includes Native children. Both refer to white children and their families who now claim the land. What does a teacher tell her students about where those Indian children went? And, what does she tell them about how that land became theirs?
And the trees were very tall,
And there were no streets at all,
Not a church and not a steeple-
Only woods and Indian people.
References to religious structures and houses and shops, but not banks. Or saloons... A pristine, but incomplete image.
Only wigwams on the ground,
And at night bears prowling round-
What a different place today
Where we live and work and play!
If read as a lament, there is sadness that there are no longer wigwams and bears. No mention, in that stanza, of the children mentioned in the first stanza. If read as a celebration, there is gladness that there are no longer wigwams and bears.
A troubling poem, no matter how you slice it. Do you know someone who uses it? Do you know how and why it is used?
Another thought: The title doesn't fit the poem! It isn't about Indian children. Can you suggest a new title for it?