Wednesday, October 17, 2007

2008 Lacapa Spirit Prize - Call for submissions

The Lacapa Spirit Prize --- a literary prize for children's books about the peoples, cultures, and landscape of the southwest --- is accepting submissions for the 2008 prize.

For prize information and application materials, click here: Lacapa Spirit Prize. Posted there is information about last year's winners.

An excerpt from the website:

Named for Michael Lacapa, children’s book illustrator and writer who died in 2005, the award honors the legacy of his artistic vision and talent for storytelling. This prize acknowledges great books for children that best embody the spirit of the peoples, culture and natural landscape of the Southwest. Books published in the two years prior to the award are eligible for consideration.

Michael's book Less Than Half, More Than Whole, profoundly impacted me. It demonstrated---in a beautiful way---that our stories and experiences as people of today, could be portrayed in children's books.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"The only good Indian is a dead Indian"

Did you know...

the phrase "the only good Indian is a dead Indian"

appears in the acclaimed Little House on the Prairie three times?

Could you/would you hand that book to a Native child?

Could you/should you hand that book to a non-Native child?

How would you/could you/should you use that book?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Thanksgiving Lesson Plans

With November approaching, teachers across the country are getting ready to teach about Thanksgiving and the "Indians."

In some classes, students will dress up to reenact the "First Thanksgiving." But... What "Indians" will they dress like? What will they "wear" for this reenactment? Will they emulate stereotypical "Indians" or, is the teacher among those who know how crucial it is to be specific----to identify a tribe, to make certain anything taught is correct with respect to that tribe's location, history, clothing, food, politics, etc.

Teachers have good intentions, but with respect to the ways they were trained and socialized to think about American Indian, their good intentions are actually contributing to misperceptions about who we are. I wrote about a flawed lesson plan last year. Click here to read that post.

My colleagues at Oyate prepared some excellent resources on "Thanksgiving." The resources are on-line. Please download them. Read and think. If you're a teacher, there is still time to revise your lesson plans. If you're a parent, give the materials to your child's teachers and librarian.

To find the materials, click here.

Look, especially at the "Books to Avoid" page on Thanksgiving... You will be dismayed to see how many there are, and further dismayed to realize that you have those books on your shelves right now.

To order books that counter those on the "Books to Avoid" list, to help all children learn about American Indians, look through Oyate's catalog. Order books from Oyate. It is the best source for these materials, and it is a not-for-profit organization, too.