If you care about American Indians, you're likely aware of what is going on in North Dakota. You may have read David Archambault's opinion piece in the New York Times on August 24th. He's the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He began with this:
It is a spectacular sight: thousands of Indians camped on the banks of the Cannonball River, on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Our elders of the Seven Council Fires, as the Oceti Sakowin, or Great Sioux Nation, is known, sit in deliberation and prayer, awaiting a federal court decision on whether construction of a $3.7 billion oil pipeline from the Bakken region to Southern Illinois will be halted.The decision to say 'no' to the Dakota Access Pipeline is one that matters for Native people and for anyone whose health will be at risk when that proposed pipeline leaks. As the people who are gathering there and elsewhere are saying, this is about water. We all need it. The people of Standing Rock are taking action to protect their rights, and everyone's water. With each day, I see resolutions from tribal councils who declare that they stand with Standing Rock. I'm also starting to see resolutions from entities that aren't Native.
You may have friends, or your children may have friends, who aren't where you are in terms of knowing that we're part of today's society. Far too many people think we no longer exist, and far too many think that if we wear jeans and drive cars, then, we aren't "real" Indians. They don't know what "real" Indians are!
I hope you'll follow the news and tell others to follow it, too, but I also want you to make sure that the books you give to your children and students are ones that don't frame us in narrow, stereotypical ways. Check out, for example, this response from elders and leaders, to a story at the New York Times that was clearly biased.
If you want to get your child or students a book that accurately depicts someone of the Great Sioux Nation, pick up Joseph Marshall's In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse. The main character in the story is a blue-eyed Lakota boy, on a road trip with his grandfather. It's a winner.