Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hopi Runners

For young adults who visit your library looking for information about athletes or marathon runners, consider offering them an article from a journal....  Here's the opening sentences:
On the afternoon of April 20, 1912, fifteen-thousand people lined the streets of Los Angeles to witness 151 contestants compete in the Los Angeles Times Modified Marathon. Officials of the Times hosted the marathon to secure a Western candidate for the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, and news of the event attracted runners from across the nation. Two Hopi runners, Guy Maktima and Philip Zeyouma, from the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona, stood beside the many athletes who gathered near the start line and waited for the sound of the pistol to begin the race.
Sound good? The author of the article, Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (he is Hopi), continues, saying that nobody took much notice of the Hopi runners. That changed halfway through the race:
When word spread among the thousands of spectators that the "Little Hopis" had broken away from the lead group, people rushed to the finish line and waited for the runners to make their final approach.
Want more? The article, "Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930" is in the March 2010 issue of American Quarterly.  I read about the article at Matt's blog, Beyond the Mesas. Here's an excerpt from there:
Not long after the school established its cross-country team, Zeyouma won the Los Angeles Times Modified Marathon in April 1912. His victory also gave him an opportunity to compete in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden.
Congratulations, Matt, on the article, AND on having YOUR photographs used on the journal's front and back cover!

Teacher, librarians, parents... if you want a copy of the article and don't have access to it, send me an email and I'll send it to you. Write to me at dreese dot nambe at gmail dot com. 

Stereotyping, Bias, and American Indians

What are you doing at 11:00 AM on April 13th? Set aside an hour to attend a free, online conversation called "How do we change a stereotype?"

The session part of the Smithsonian Institution's Problem Solving with Smithsonian Experts series. The host for "How do we change a stereotype?" will be Paul Chaat Smith. I've written about him several times here on American Indians in Children's Literature. (See Paul Chaat Smith on Brother Eagle Sister Sky and The Education of Little Tree. And buy a copy of his book, Everything You Know about Indians is Wrong.)

The promo for the session is: 
The American Indian Experience: From the Margins to the Center
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) opened its doors in Washington in 2004. The goal? Nothing less than to change how we see the lives of Native peoples. NMAI curator Paul Chaat Smith leads a discussion on hard lessons and brilliant mistakes from the front lines of Washington’s most controversial museum.
Hard lessons? Brilliant mistakes? Most educators have been learned some hard lessons, and, we've made some brilliant mistakes, too! And why is it "Washington's most controversial museum"? I wonder what we will learn from Smith? I registered for the session and encourage you to do so, too. Go to "How do we change a stereotype" for details. The registration link is bottom right of the page.

As you think about your teaching---how, when, and why---you include American Indians, take a look at Julia Good Fox's blog post, "Texas is Not Alone: Moving Past U.S. Dis-education about Tribal Nations."  For those of you who follow Education news, you know she's referring to the textbook fiasco in Texas. Good Fox talks about her work with public school teachers. She is Pawnee.