Monday, April 20, 2015


Several people in Canada have written to ask me about a self-published book that is being promoted via social media.

From the author's website is this:
"Medicine Wheel: Stories of a Hoop Dancer" is a recently published children's book written by Teddy Anderson, a professional hoop dancer of the First Nation's style who has performed in 20 countries across the world. His performances, as well as the book, teach the concept of using the First Nation's symbol of the Medicine Wheel."
Performing in a "First Nation's style" --- is a huge red flag. Anderson isn't saying he's Native, but he is using his version of Native cultures to promote a "one family" philosophy that we're all supposed to revere.

And woah! Check out the stereotypical depictions of children around the world!

There is so much wrong with the illustrations!

And inside the book, the writer/illustrator match their idea of a medicine wheel to skin tones of the children on the cover. That child with the spear? His face is paired with the black quadrant of the wheel; the girl on bottom left? She's paired with yellow....

Anderson has good intentions but is contributing to existing problems of appropriation and misrepresentation. Don't buy his book, and don't book him to perform at your school.

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