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Exploring Native American Children's Literature

Published on Dec 02, 2015

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Exploring Native American Children's Literature

Samantha Dillane

Native American Diversity

  • 500 different tribes
  • Each tribe is represented by distinct lifestyles, traditions, religions, symbols and folklore.
  • Children's literature has inaccurately depicted Native American people and cultures.

History of Children's Literature
Early 1900s

History of Children's Literature

History of Children's Literature

History of Children's Literature

History of Children's Literature

Is this book Native?

“No human culture is inaccessible to someone who makes the effort to understand, to learn, to inhabit another world”

Cultural Misrepresentation

Historical Inaccuracy & Sensitivity

Book Selection Considerations

  • Do not marginalize the literature.
  • Ensure the cultural accuracy.
  • Ensure the historical accuracy.
  • Avoid any prejudices, stereotypes, derogatory names or outdated information.

Good: Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Bad: This First Thanksgiving Day

Untitled Slide

Caldwell-Woods, N. & Mitten, L.A. (1991). Selective biography and guide for “I” is not for Indian: The portrayal of Native Americans in books for young people. Atlanta: American Library Association.
Native American Children’s Literature. (2008). Children’s Literature Review, 130, 123- 187.
Reese, D. (1999). Authenticity & Sensitivity: Goals for writing and reviewing books with Native American themes. School Library Journal, 11, 36-37.
Reese, D. (2008). Native voices. School Library Journal, 11, 53-60.
Russell, D.L. (2005). Native American picture books of change: The art of historic children’s editions. The Lion and the Unicorn, 29 [1], 133-135.
Stewart, M. P. (2002). Judging authors by the color of their skin? Quality Native American children’s literature. MELUS, 27, 179-196.