Friday, October 05, 2012

"What Happened After Chief Short Cake Died?" and "Squaw Bury Short Cake"

The title for today's blog post comes from this math worksheet:

The photo was taken by the mother of a Native student in a school in Wisconsin. Indian Country Today has the full story, and I urge you to read it, talk with fellow teachers in your school, and evaluate teaching materials in your school, library, or home, with an eye towards identifying similarly offensive materials as this math worksheet.

Natives names carry significance---just like the naming of any people, anywhere---and this worksheet trivializes Native people by mocking Native names. It happens a lot. And "squaw" though widely recognized as derogatory, appears in a lot of children books.

Curious about the origin of the question/answer math worksheet, I found the "joke" in these places:

I also figured out that the book the math worksheet is published in is Masterminds Multiplication & Division: Reproducible Skill Builders & Higher Order Thinking Activities Based on NCTM Standards, published 1995 by Incentive Publications. Masterminds Multiplication & Division is apparently used in a lot of schools. Is it in yours?