Well, after your presentation I called home to talk with Amaya, who is a voracious reader. "How would you describe the portrayal of Native Americans in Little House?" I asked her. "Oh, mom, you would hate it," she replied: "they're wild savages." Then she thought for a moment and added, "Actually most of the books about pioneer days give the same portrayal, unless they're written from the Indians' perspective." [Yes, she's only 9!] How scary that my fourth grader already sees this pattern clearly. She also commented that when children at her mostly white elementary school play at recess, they often do the war whoop. I should add that the curriculum at my children's school does include factual history about Columbus (not just the Columbus-as-hero model) and tribal diversity, and both of my children's teachers have made an effort to include diverse perspectives in their reading curricula. But as you mentioned in your presentation, these educational efforts don't seem to translate on the playground.
As you might guess, I came home from NALS with some new books for my kids, including Erdrich's The Birchbark House for Amaya! And I'm looking forward to sharing your blog with teachers and librarians in my community. Thank you again for your work.
Westfield State College