Saturday, November 01, 2008

Posters for your classroom or library

The American Library Association has this poster available at their site. It is the art from the cover of Tim Tingle's outstanding picture book, Crossing Bok Chitto. That art is by Jeanne Rorex Bridges. What is especially cool is that the poster includes the title in the Choctaw language. Awesome! The poster is $16.00, and there are bookmarks, too, for $8.50.

You can order the book from Oyate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Alexie on Colbert Report

If you're in Canada and unable to see the video clip above, click here.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Copies of Tomson Highway's picture books....

Great news! For those who act fast, that is! Lakehead University bookstore has copies of Tomson Highway's three picture books. According to their website, they've got seven or eight copies of each one. To get to the books, start here. Enter "Highway" in the search box on the top right.

Back in 2002, Highway was interviewed (click here to listen) and spoke about his writing, language and the Cree language specifically, and the influence of television.

Highway is at Lakehead University (in Canada) this semester as Artist-in-Residence in the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

American Indians and November

With a few days left in October, librarians and teachers across the country are (likely) in the midst of planning activities about American Indians. Why? Because that month is "American Indian Heritage Month."

I urge parents, teachers, and librarians to provide children and patrons with books that portray American Indians in the present day. Given that Thanksgiving happens in November, there is strong precedent for doing the "Pilgrim and Indian" theme. Don't do it! You have the opportunity to disrupt the deeply embedded notion that American Indians and instruction about American Indians belong in the past.

The single best resource for you is an excellent book called A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children. It's got critical reviews of hundreds of books that portray American Indians. If you can, get the book from Oyate. A paperback copy costs $37.00. If you were to try to get all the information on your own, you'd spend hours and a lot of money in copy machines and you still wouldn't get the perspective and depth you'll find in A Broken Flute. The phone number for Oyate is 510-848-6700.

If you have a friend who is a teacher, get him/her a copy as a gift. If you are able, get a copy for your local library and donate it in the name of someone you care about.

And, don't confine reading or teaching about American Indians to the month of November. Read books by writers like Cynthia Leitich Smith all year long.

Did Rasmussen call you?

Rasmussen Reports called my home a few minutes ago... I guess the information I gave them will be folded into the next "Daily Presidential Tracking Poll."

Among the questions asked was one where my choices were:

African American
Asian American

Why isn't "American Indian" or "Native American" among the options?

I was asked a slew of questions about favorability, party affiliation, age, gender, education, issue I am most concerned with...

And the final question of "if the election were held today, who would you vote for? Press 1 for Obama, and 2 for McCain."

I pressed 1 for Obama. I am among First Americans for Obama.

I'm also following the campaign of Denise Juneau. She's running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Montana. Juneau is tribally enrolled with the Three Affiliated Tribes. Those tribes are the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara. Juneau's opponent calls Juneau "a young Indian."

Did reading that last sentence give you pause? It should, but I'm not surprised if it didn't. Try substituting "a young Indian" with, say "a young Black." Her opponent is saying "Vote for me (white woman)! I'm running against a young Indian." Indian Country Today ran a piece on Juneau.

I've written before on this blog about Montana's Indian Education for All initiative. As director of Indian education in Montana, Juneau has oversight for the initiative. It is a model worth looking at.

I hope Ms. Juneau prevails.