indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Q&A with blogger on Native representations in children's books

Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment
More on: aura bogado, books, debbie reese, mascots, stereotypes, youth
     

Aura Bogado interviews blogger Debbie Reese (Nambe Pueblo) about the depiction of Native people in books:
Can you tell me how you became interested in Native representation in children’s books?
For several years I taught kindergarten and first grade and, of course, I used story a lot. I became interested in studying what’s called family literacy so in 1994 I went to grad school at the University of Illinois. [When] I got there [I] realized how much power the Chief Illniwek mascot had over what people seemed to believe they knew about American Indians. That took me by surprise; I grew up in northern New Mexico and lived in Oklahoma for awhile [so] there was never a question about who we were. Native people heavily populated the circles I traveled in so everybody knew what was the real thing and what was fake. At University of Illinois, which was very white, I wanted to understand why this mascot had so much power. I noticed that children’s books had the very same image of a character in a headdress that is so popular in mainstream America. Clifford the Big Red Dog, for example, dressed as an Indian for Halloween wearing a big headdress. He embodied the stereotypes of the stoic and stern Indian. I saw similar images in [a] Berenstain Bears book [among] others. So I was sticking with my interest in children’s literature, but looking at it in a more politicized way by focusing on what kinds of messages the books were passing along to children, to help me understand why people would be so attracted and attached to a mascot.

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) tracks diversity in children’s books, and the New York Times recently highlighted that work. Can you talk about the quantity of Natives in children’s books—but also about the quality of those books?
What I found in my analysis of that CCBC study is that all except one of the books that were published by mainstream publishers, sell the best, and get promoted the most are by white writers. And all of those have problematic stereotypes in them. Some are really bad—like Susan Cooper’s “Ghost Hawk”— and some are not so bad, but with pretty bad context. So the major publishers really mess it up. It’s the small publishers such as Lee and Low and Cinco Puntos Press, that publish books by authors of color and American Indians, and those books are better. They don’t stereotype and they are just better books. But those books don’t get circulated in the same numbers because small presses don’t have the economic power to distribute like the big publishers do.

Get the Story:
Aura Bogado: How Children’s Books Fuel Mascot Stereotypes (Colorlines 4/7)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Mark Trahant: Don't plan on getting sick if you're from Indian Country
Director of Office of Indian Energy deletes offensive Twitter account
States cheer decision on grizzly bears amid tribal concerns about hunts
New York Times editorial board reconsiders stance on racist trademarks
Marijuana firm promises big investments with help of ex-Seminole leader
National Indian Gaming Association chooses David Bean as vice chair
Secretary Zinke removes protections for grizzlies over tribal objections
Court sets final deadline for remaining payments from Cobell settlement
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act strengthens our families
Peter d'Errico: Navajo authors offer fresh perspective on sovereignty
Native woman was jailed and forced to ride with assailant during trial
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe challenges new permit for uranium operation
Montana tribes get new member of Congress who pleaded to assault
Connecticut tribes welcome court decision favoring new casino law
Pueblo tribes dispute state's demand for $40M in gaming revenues
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe remains confident of approval of casino
Nooksack Tribe accepting slot tickets while casino remains closed
Key House committee under fire for moving slowly on tribal agenda
Tribes go it alone on climate change as Trump team shifts priorities
Bryan Newland: President Trump's budget threatens tribal treaties
Steve Russell: The GI Bill changed the United States for the better
Harold Monteau: Democrats lack proactive agenda, proactive strategy
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe orders 20 non-citizens to leave reservation
Wilton Rancheria accused of working too closely with city on casino
Witness list for hearing on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Arne Vainio: What does the princess want to be when she grows up?
Doug George-Kanentiio: 'Spirit Game' brings Iroquois lacrosse to life
Cronkite News: Navajo activist vows fight against racist NFL mascot
Eric Hannel: Addressing the health care crisis among Native Americans
Bill for tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies advances in California
Ramapough Lunaape Nation wins reversal of ruling on prayer camp
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still waits on casino ruling from Trump team
Another former leader of Winnebago Tribe pleads in gaming theft case
Supreme Court ruling poses hurdle for opponents of racist NFL mascot
Change the Mascot campaign responds to negative Supreme Court ruling
Secretary Zinke set for another hearing on Interior Department budget
Mark Trahant: Republicans write health reform bill behind closed doors
Jeff Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band focuses on protecting our groundwater
Steven Newcomb: Asserting our traditions in the era of Donald Trump
Shasta Dazen: 'Family Spirit' program incorporates our tribal traditions
Secretary Zinke shuffles top Indian Affairs officials at Interior Department
Choctaw Nation travels to Ireland to dedicate 'Kindred Spirits' sculpture
Nooksack Tribe closes doors to casino after being hit with federal order
Muscogee Nation asserts authority at allotment where casino was proposed
Mark Trahant: Dakota Access decision offers a chance to return to respect
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe hails 'victory' in Dakota Access Pipeline case
Nooksack Tribe told to close casino amid leadership and citizenship feud
Kristi Noem: Enough is enough - It's time to fix the Indian Health Service
Second hearing scheduled on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Trump nominee for appeals court seen as favorable to tribal interests
Terese Mailhot: We don't tell Native women how brilliant they really are
Indian Country cheers as judge orders review of Dakota Access Pipeline
Jacqueline Keeler: Connecting the Dakota Access Pipeline to history
Cronkite News: Tribes win decision in water rights dispute in Arizona
Secretary Zinke rejects complaints about consultation and Bears Ears
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approves two bills at meeting
Embattled Indian Health Service hospital losing top executive again
>>> more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.