First Indian on the moon

Took the Snork Maiden to the library over the weekend to get some books for her “Multicultural Fair Project.”  She wants to learn about a Native American people who are local to this area.  (I am conscious of not wanting to be one of those parents who take over their kids’ projects: a classmate’s mom remarked to me the other day, “We have to finish our project this weekend.”  But I do go as far as forbidding her to get all of her sources from the Internet.)  As New Kid recently remarked, U.S. schoolchildren are getting a slightly more accurate, respectful and nuanced portrayal of Native American life than they did a generation or two ago (of course, there probably wasn’t much of anywhere to go but up).  The juvenile 970 (General History of North America) shelves in our public library certainly bear this out, sporting multiple series of books about Native American peoples, such as The Library of Native Americans and Lifeways.  Two of the three books she got were published within the last five years.

I am doubly ignorant of her topic, having attended elementary school in the 1970s, and also having grown up in a different state and learned about its history in my elementary-school curriculum instead of that of the state in which we’re currently living–which means that my knowledge of state history is inferior to that of most fourth-graders.  (Do you remember the fellow from Ohio who became the first person in 59 years to notice that the Ohio statehood date carved into the Lincoln Memorial was wrong?  “It’s common knowledge that Ohio joined the Union in 1803,” he huffed to the New York Times.  “Anyone who has had seventh-grade history would know that.”  Well, maybe, although chances are you are more likely to know it if you are actually from Ohio.  Not that people from Ohio don’t visit the Lincoln Memorial in droves, of course.)

Anyway, I also notice that there’s a museum/interpretive center run by this particular tribe less than 45 minutes away, so–roadtrip!  Probably on Saturday, as it closes about an hour after school lets out. 

Looking up titles to pick the title of this post also reminded me of all the good reviews garnered by the amazingly multitalented Sherman Alexie’s new YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, so I’ve ordered a copy.  (For me; the Snork Maiden probably isn’t old enough.) 

And for the younger set, the blog American Indians in Children’s Literature looks like a terrific resource.  (The blogger, Debbie Reese, says that Alexie has a second YA novel in the works, titled Radioactive Love Song.  She also recommends the website Oyate for information about Native portrayals in children’s literature.)


One response to this post.

  1. […] ignorance of our state’s history and blamed it on growing up in another state (as I did in this post). Today, for unrelated reasons–actually, for no reason I can think of except that I have to […]


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