Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Read Bruchac's SKELETON MAN for "All Hallows Read"

Update on Sep 30 2023: I (Debbie Reese) no longer recommend Bruchac's work. For details see Is Joseph Bruchac truly Abenaki?

On Sunday, October 7, 2012, the Eat Sleep Read group on Facebook posted this image:

Isn't the image cool? I like it a lot and am sharing it here, along with a book recommendation...

I recommend you give, and read, Joe Bruchac's Skeleton Man. It is one of my favorites. I still remember reading it aloud with my daughter. We were so engrossed in it that we were startled when my husband came home from work that day!

I have a couple of other recommendations...

Avoid wearing "Indian costumes" to events. They are usually stereotypical.

And all those stories with Indian ghosts? Avoid them, too! I see those ghosts in a lot of stories, and it irks me (sometimes, 'irks' is an understatement).

People sure seem to like Indian ghosts that haunt places! I know, for example, that a lot of people liked Gensler's The Revenant but I didn't. Her ghosts put me off. So did the ghosts in the melon patch in Peck's Season of Gifts

Monday, October 08, 2012

Anyone in TUSD teaching from RETHINKING COLUMBUS?

Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson's edited volume, Rethinking Columbus, was being used in the Tucson Unified School District a year ago, but was subsequently removed from the classrooms when the district shut down its Mexican American Studies classes.

Rethinking Columbus is an outstanding book, offering readers the opportunity to develop and apply critical thinking skills to events--like Columbus Day--that carry bias in favor of one viewpoint, at the expense of the viewpoint and perspective of others.

When Rethinking Columbus was removed from the classrooms in Tucson, essays and poems by Native writers were also removed. Their essays and poems are in Rethinking Columbus. Among them are:

  • Suzan Shown Harjo, who wrote "We Have No Reason to Celebrate"
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie, who wrote "My Country, 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying"
  • Joseph Bruchac, who wrote "A Friend of the Indians"
  • Cornel Pewewardy, who wrote "A Barbie-Doll Pocahontas"
  • N. Scott Momaday, who wrote "The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee"
  • Michael Dorris, who wrote "Why I'm Not Thankful for Thanksgiving"
  • Leslie Marmon, who wrote "Ceremony"
  • Wendy Rose, who wrote "Three Thousand Dollar Death Song"
  • Winona LaDuke, who wrote "To the Women of the World: Our Future, Our Responsibility"

In addition to Rethinking Columbus and the Alexie and Zepeda books, over 50 other books were removed.

When you remove a class, you remove its 
syllabus and everything on it. 

As TUSD administrators moved forward in shutting down the Mexican American Studies courses, they prevented students from reading Sherman Alexie's Ten Little Indians and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and Ofelia Zepeda's Ocean Power. 

The teachers who taught in the program were reassigned and no longer called Mexican American Studies teachers. As they created new syllabi, they were also told they could not teach from a Mexican American Studies perspective.

But, I wonder...  Are teachers who were not previously teaching in the Mexican American Studies classes teaching Rethinking Columbus this year? Or Alexie? Or Zepeda?