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little house on the prairie controversy
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little house on the prairie controversy

little house on the prairie controversy

I have the whole collection of Little House on the Prairie books. If my son chooses to read the books one day, I hope he’ll do so with a critical mind, considering himself an ally to those whose stories history textbooks have attempted to erase. I would strongly recommend that you get your hands on a copy of “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown and read the chapter on “Little Crow’s War” for a better understanding of the Dakota uprising in Minnesota. What happened with Native Americans is just horrible and sad, but I say that with both a European lineage AND a Native American lineage. An educator since 1983, Laura McLemore was destined to a lifelong love of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Well- written! Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name will be removed from the title of a major children’s book award, over concerns about her depiction of other races in her almost century-old stories. She did not have information at her fingertips. I have their handwritten marriage certificate from 1860 in Brown County. This treaty said that the Osage would sell their land to the Leavenworth, Lawrence, and Galveston Railroad and buy land from the Cherokee further south and move there. Laura tells several stories of Indians coming to the Ingalls’ home and demanding food and other goods. I think reading the books with children and taking the opportunity to use some of the racist viewpoints of characters to open up a discussion about race in America is a great thing. Few people today realize, and perhaps Laura herself didn’t know, that a section of Kansas was once called Indian Territory. But I suggest that rather than banning books or refusing to read them, we use them as a platform for examining the history of the United States. Melissa Gilbert as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls. People need to be aware of the times of which they are reading, but to blatantly call it racism, seems inappropriate as well. I don’t care who you are or how mad you can be at someone but killing women and children and babies YES babies, makes it a massacre! This series featured characters and places from the book series, but took drastic creative liberty with the story telling (as should be expected from a television show). To this day it makes me sad that Native Americans were forced onto reservations where they were basically starved, cheated and forced to give up their traditions, native tongues. Frankly, I love to meet people from other countries, learn their ways, and for the most part, taste “their” food. I’m working on addressing this now. This is history folks, good, bad, and ugly. Little House on the Prairie, a television show based on Laura Wilder's life, aired in 1974 and ran until 1982. When the Osage returned from their trip they found their home and their lands occupied by all kinds of settlers who, in their minds, were stealing from them. Wilder depicted Native people as curiosities or even as subhuman, as when she notes, in Little House on the Prairie, that 'there were no people. The Indians in the area saw this as an opportunity to retake land that they felt belonged to them. The Sioux Uprising or Dakota Wars resulted in the looting and burning of homesteads and the killing of white settlers in the area, including women and children. Wilder mentions the “Minnesota Massacre” in her account of Mrs. Scott’s hatred for the Osage: “The only good Indian was a dead Indian. This is the second year I’ve taught Little House on the Prairie in my 5th grade class and it has opened up some very frank and meaningful conversations about prejudice, racism, and historical context. For nearly 10 years, beginning in 1974 and ending in 1984, the Ingalls family of Little House on the Prairie personified all the wholesome charm of settlers surviving in the old American West. Under the provisions of earlier treaties, the Osage had the right to charge squatters rent if they wanted to. It’s just like people were, and some still are, afraid of those who ride motorcycles. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. There was nothing to fear from Indians.” Later Pa balances Mr. and Mrs. Scott’s hateful declaration when he makes this statement about Soldat du Chêne: “That’s one good Indian.’ No matter what Mr. Scott said, Pa did not believe that the only good Indian was a dead Indian.”. I cannot imagine traveling across country by wagon! The federal government denied any responsibility for protecting the settlers in Minnesota. As an adult I have always read the books with a historical perspective and as being a product of their times. The Little House books are among those. I never read racism into the words, but I also knew, even at my young age, that times were different in Laura’s day. Imagine you are reading a book that you loved as a child, perhaps you are reading it to your young child, or that you are reading it for the very first time. Created by Blanche Hanalis. That said, there are certainly things in the book that have been an issue for many, many years. This article made me question why I had never questioned the reason the Ingalls Family settled on land that didn’t belong to them, even when I was a child and didn’t have a great knowledge of history. Laura says “They drove away and left it lonely and empty in the clearing…They were going to Indian country.” But, they didn’t go there directly. I came to this post exactly as one of the readers you described: an adult revisiting a beloved childhood story …then coming upon “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” My knee jerk reaction was “okay scratch this of the list to share with my future kids!” But you are completely right: Ingalls’ work is a great platform to discuss racism and xenophobia. Charles Ingalls sold his farm in Wisconsin in 1868. In Little House on the Prairie Ma tells Laura that “Pa had word from a man in Washington that the Indian Territory would be open to a settlement soon. How would they tell the story to someone else? Read RT Privacy policy to find out more. But in the 1970s, the debate about the books’ intentions was far in the future. It is appropriate to call it that because that’s what it was. Only Indians lived there.' Books: Little House series fanfiction archive with over 166 stories. These kinds of questions will help children understand the historical perspective and that right or wrong, people have their own belief systems, then and now. Photo Credit: Getty Images: Bettmann/ Contributor *This piece was originally published on February 15th, 2019. One thing I do love about the books is the way Laura described how her parents worked, to build a small cabin, raise crops, it is amazing that some children find the books boring. When I was a child it did not occur to me that the books were racist since she was repeating what she heard or remembered hearing as a way of preserving the stories. I have books from my childhood that I read to my kids. I grew up reading the books and I still read them since it offers a glimpse into a world that we just can’t experience. When most of the settlers arrived in Indian Territory, the Osage people were off on their annual hunting trips further west and it may have appeared that the land was unoccupied. While one may assume that we’re all going along in 2019, you never know what children are being exposed to at home, as evidenced by our current rise in racially motivated attacks. Here Albert's bad choice to smoke leads to the death of Mary's baby and Mrs. Garvey. Why are some people trying to erase history and rewrite to suit their views??? Re-naming an event does not give one side or the other greater legitimacy. I call them teachable moments. I am now 72. What better way to learn our history than by reading a classic like Little House on the Prairie and using it as a platform for discussion? NBCU Photo Bank/ Getty Little House on the Prairie begins with the Ingalls family leaving their little house in Wisconsin. Let us use common sense, face our past errors honestly, and not doom ourselves to repeat them Explaining to children that during this time, the settlers did not understand the cultures of the various Native tribes and would say things and make sad choices out of fear is a simple truth every child can appreciate. Loved: “What better way to learn our history than by reading a classic like Little House on the Prairie and using it as a platform for discussion?”. She was simply quoting someone else’s thoughts, which were likely stated more out of fear than anything. The real story behind the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ controversy August 8, 2018 In a unanimous decision, the Association for Library Service to Children renamed a lifetime achievement award honoring Laura Ingalls Wilder for her contribution to children’s literature. You don’t find any, of them, any worse than someone, who drives a car. And , let’s not forget that there was a black woman in Little House on the Prairie as well (again I am referring to the TV show not the books) she was either a schoolteacher or a helper at NELLY’s restaurant I forgot which but she was well respected and loved in the show The newspapers were full of graphic accounts of what was then referred to as the “Minnesota Massacre.” Undoubtedly Ma had read these accounts. I first read the books when I was about 12 or so. I suggest we talk about whether Ma’s fears were justified. I never thought her remarks about the Indians were “racist” as I was seeing them through the eyes of another naive 8 or 9 year old girl. And of course, she was writing historical fiction, not an autobiography. Little House on the Prairie 1935, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Teachers should do this. Whatever a massacre was, it was something that grown-ups would not talk about when little girls were listening.”. June 28, 2018. Additionally, it is helpful to point out that Wilder presents a more favorable point of view using Pa as a counterpoint. Liberal use of the ‘N word’ saw Mark Twain’s ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ banned in a Philadelphia high school in 2015. Nice refuge from parents who fought all the time. Don’t make it a big thing and it won’t be. Does racism still exist and if so, is it found in every race? These are just a few of the more notable depictions of corporal punishment on the small screen. Obviously, she was cast as older than that in both Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie. For nearly 100 years, the “ Little House ” books (and the subsequent television series) have been cherished by kids and adults around the world. This episode was, and always will be, the most talked about episode of Little House on the Prairie. We have a book on great white sharks from my childhood. Despite the fact that Laura Ingalls Wilder gives us a important historical look at social perspectives through this book, it is still considered bad. Whoa now. “Minnesota Massacre” is about the most racist and blatant one-sided take on the 1862 Dakota Conflict you can find, its an old an sensationalized text that should not be taught to children. What a breath of fresh air in these tumultuous and divisive times. Encounter difference in race and culture by Dee Brown mega-popular book series was famously made into an popular! 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