Saturday, March 13, 2010

American Indians in California - Resources

On When Turtles Fly, Deborah Miranda is compiling resources for teachers to use in lesson plans about California. She began this project a few weeks ago, with her post titled 4th Grade California Mission Projects.

When we think of California today, we do not, for the most part, teach about American Indians who were there prior to it becoming "California." When we teach about the Gold Rush, we do it in a celebratory or adventurous fashion, and we fail to teach students that those miners (amongst others) committed horrific crimes against Native people. When we teach about the Missions, we gloss over the treatment of Native people at those missions, and we ignore the legacy the Missions had on the lives of Native people. Some Native people embraced Christianity; some imported elements of Christianity to their existing systems of worship; others rejected it.

Here's Deborah's bio, from her page:
I am a member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay area in California. Currently I am an Associate Professor in the English Department at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. I teach Composition, Native American Literatures, American Ethnic Literatures, Women's Literatures, Creative Writing (Poetry and Memoir), among other courses. My first book of poetry, Indian Cartography, was published by Greenfield Review Press in 1999 and won the First Book Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. The Zen of La Llorona, my second collection, was published by Salt Press in 2004.

We can do better, if we are open to revisiting what we were taught. Bookmark her site!
  • If you're a teacher, use it to develop your lesson plans. 
  • If you're a writer, use it to do research.
  • If you're an editor or reviewer, use it to fact check manuscripts and books.


UU said...

Hi Debbie, I've just discovered your site and I've been reading it for the better part of an afternoon so far. I love it. I'm 24 yo, a woman, daughter of immigrant parents (from Nigeria) and for some reason or another I've been think about having and raising children. Part of my obessesion of my daydreams is teaching my future child the truth as best as possible. I looked at your list of recommended books for children's literature about Sovereign Nations peoples and the context as it relates to the present, past and future. This also applies to representations of other people that make up the marginalized groups of America.

I always felt strange that my parents came from their homeland, which was colonized by the British and suffered colonizing atrocities to a new homeland that has suffered even more extensive colonizing atrocities. Almost like it was inescapable if they wanted a better life for themselves and their future families. I don't want my future children to be ignorant of how they came to be here and all the intricate cogs in the machine that keep this country running the way it has so far.

I just wanted to thank you for making this blog, your inspiring people, if you didn't already know.

Beth said...

I hope plenty of teachers do check out that site about California's spotted history with Natve American. I remember 7 years ago, at a telephone reference desk in Sacrament, I got a call from a new teacher. She had been teaching her students about how the American's bought California from the Spanish, when her students asked who the Spanish bought it from. She had no idea and was calling to ask me, a reference librarian, who owned California before the Spanish. I was stunned. I told her it belonged to the Native American's but the Spanish didn't exactly buy it. They more or less stole it, but I'm not sure she believed me. I wish that I had this Internet resource back then.