The Representation of Indigenous Peoples in Children’s Literature by Jill Deinken / Redwood Falls Public Library

//The Representation of Indigenous Peoples in Children’s Literature by Jill Deinken / Redwood Falls Public Library

The Representation of Indigenous Peoples in Children’s Literature by Jill Deinken / Redwood Falls Public Library

I attended the workshop on November 9 at St Catherine’s University. There were 2 large group sessions featuring Dr. Debbie Reese and Dr Dawn Quigley as well as 2 small group break out sessions lead by each of the speakers. They talked about the inappropriate/negative use of Native Americans in children’s books as well as the lack of good options to choose from. We talked about guidelines for appropriate books and what types of books need to be taken out of the classrooms and off the shelves. The book that was discussed the most is “Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There were many excerpts pulled from the book and we were asked to evaluate those passages. ALL of the passages that reference Indians were undeniably negative. While I agree that the book should probably no longer be used in elementary school curriculum, I don’t know that I believe it needs to be pulled off the shelves (although I do understand the argument). I live 6 miles from the Lower Sioux Indian Reservation and an hour from Walnut Grove. I believe our relationship with the Lower Sioux is good and improving all the time. I am VERY intentional in what I choose for our collection and make every effort I can to have accurate depictions of Native Americans. I intend to have some conversations regarding this book with several people from the Reservation as well as other educators and librarians. I will then decide where to go from there. I believe wholly in non-censorship of our collections. That’s why we draw attention to ALL types of literature and feature Banned Books Week. This book is Laura’s opinion on what was going on in the area at the time and her impression of Indians is very negative indeed. I will be doing a lot of research on this topic this winter. This workshop certainly made me think about this book.

2019-11-14T10:37:00+00:00Scholarship Reports|