Friday, November 26, 2010

Scott Andrews (Cherokee) on OF THEE I SING

Scott Andrews is a professor at Cal State University, Northridge, where he teaches in English and in the American Indian Studies program. Dean Radar is also an English professor, teaching at the University of San Francisco. Dean publishes a blog called The Weekly Rader where he looks at the intersection of media, art, politics, and culture. On Tuesday, Dean published Scott's Of Thee I Sing: A Semiotic Review.  Here's one excerpt:  
Seeing the image of Sitting Bull as Real Estate is surprising in this context.  A book like Of Thee I Sing is intended to remind us of famous, admirable people from American history – to make them visible to us again.  It is odd, then, that in this act of remembrance, Sitting Bull is not present. 
 Scott analyzes the illustrations and ends with this:
Of course, it is better to have an Indian in the book than not.  But it would be nice to have an Indian who lives on the ground like a human rather than in the ground like a specter or ghost.
Click over to read his entire essay. You can read my first post about it here. I have yet to get a copy of the book to see what the text itself says. 
Scott writes that it is better to have an Indian in the book than not. I'm not sure I agree. We (American Indians) are overrepresented in children's and young adult literature.  You can see some of what I mean by "overrepresented" in my notes on SLJ's Top 100 Children's Novels, a list compiled by Elizabeth Bird. 
And you can also tune in (online) to Native America Calling on Dec 2nd when they discuss Of Thee I Sing. Guests that day include Ernie LaPointe (one of Sitting Bull's descendants) and Rhonda LeValdo, a Native journalist.