Saturday, June 10, 2006

Third post to the blog... I hope to post on a weekly basis, with news re children's books about American Indians, but also response(s) to emails I get from readers.

Larry Whitler posted the title of a book he wrote, called Oreo and Braun: XOB, The Full Circle Quest
and noted that some of the story is about a Native American man and his son and prejudice they experienced in 1886.

Larry---what tribe is the man? My blog is called "American Indians in Children's Literature." I use the global term "American Indians" because my discussions are on that topic, broadly speaking. However, I try to be specific when I discuss Native people or characters, if I have access to that information. For example, I do not say I am American Indian. Instead, I specifically say I am from Nambe Pueblo. This is important practice, as it gets across the idea that there are over 500 federally-recognized tribes in the United States. This specificity serves to counter the monolithic image of THE American Indian.

Also of interest regarding Larry's book... I don't know the book, but went over the the Amazon site to see what I could learn about it there. NOWHERE does it say that there is Native American content. Why is that? I pose that as a question to readers... Why do we, as a society, not see American Indians? Why are we (American Indians) glossed over, or viewed simply as part of the landscape, oftentimes not worth mentioning?

Even in Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, a lot of people omit reference to American Indians when they talk about that book. Why? In that book, in particular, there is a great deal of content about American Indians, specifically the Osage people. Look over the internet lesson plans. How many of those lesson plans have any mention of American Indians?

A bit of exciting news...

The Northern Arizona Book Festival has established the Michael Lacapa Spirit Prize. It will be awarded to an exceptional children's book, set in the southwest, published within the last two years. When a website with info is up, I'll post the link here.

2 comments:

rinda m. byers said...

I read your post on the child lit serve thingie about Sherman Alexie.

I'm a fan eagerly awaiting his books for YA and children (although I think some of his "for adult" work is being used already with YA, which it ought to be)

I wrote a blog on him called "Why Sherman Alexie is My Writer, Warrior Hero and Why He Ought To Be Yours Too: Friday, 2/3/06 (scroll back about 4 pages in the archives if the link doesn't work to find it) that you may enjoy.

http://www.xanga.com/rindawriter?nextdate=1%2f18%2f2006+22%3a56%3a5.350&direction=p

My grandmother was Chickasaw: I loved her dearly and was very close to her and look a lot like her.

I can't wait for his new books to come out!

Anonymous said...

I know this post is ten years old, but at the time you made this post, Amazon's Look Inside! and Search Inside This Book functions didn't exist yet (I think). Anyway, now I have looked inside the book (Oreo and Braun) and searched for "Indian". In the section where the protagonists meet the Indian boy, Oreo whispers to Braun to say "How!", to which Braun gives him "a dumb look", and then introduces himself to the boy. Then Oreo whispers to Braun again, this time telling him to "offer him a peace pipe", to which Braun says out loud "A peace pipe?! You've been watching too many movies!" The boy then says, "Besides, my dad won't let me smoke," and then introduces himself as Hawk. Hawk surmises that Braun "must be strong to have such a name". Later, the kids meet Hawk's father, who is named Talon and serves them "scrambled duck eggs and maize flapjacks", which the kids accept because they "smell delicious". Later, they meet some bad men who pull a gun on them and taunt Talon and Hawk with "How", "Redskin", "Injun", and "chief", before robbing them of their horses. Based on that stuff, I'm still not sure if you'd recommend the book.