First Nations People in Picture Books

First Nations People in Picture Books

FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE IN PICTURE BOOKS ALBERTA LIBRARY CONFERENCE, JASPER, APRIL 30, 2018 PRESENTED BY GAIL DE VOS, SLIS [email protected] ALBERTA TREATIES Treaty 8: 24 Alberta First Nations Signed at Lesser Slave Lake in

1899; Covers portions of northern Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and part of Northwest Territories Treaty 6: 16 Alberta First Nations Signed at Carlton and Fort Pitt in 1876; Covers central Alberta & Saskatchewan Treaty 7: 5 Alberta First Nations

Signed at the Blackfoot Crossing of Bow River and Fort Macleod in Stories are powerful. Through story, we find out that we all share the human experience, no matter what culture we come

from.Canada is a diverse country, and children should be exposed to other cultures in an Words and stories live: they help us to keep other beings alive, and they reinforce the

bonds between ourselves and all our relations, to invoke a key phrase in many indigenous cultures, and world views, as well as in indigenous studies (5) TWO CATEGORIES THAT DOMINATE THE FIELD OF ABORIGINAL CHILDRENS

LITERATURE Retellings of traditional tales and legends Fictional stories about aboriginal

youths in historical and contemporary settings CITE AND RESPECT THE SOURCE Retold folktales, myths and legends specify the source for the story and details regarding changes the author made in retelling the story.

The retold story reflects the tribe from which it originated. CONTEMPORARY TALES Can be fiction or nonfiction Can rely on traditional stories or not We exist as contemporary

peoples, too, and our experiences in the 21st century are no less authentically indigenous (Vowel, 97) PRIMARY CHARACTERISTICS: Avoidance of the historical past, especially the 19th Century, as setting

Attempt to bridge oral tribal literature and contemporary written literature by depicting an egalitarian relationship between humans and other living things, including the land Creation of resourceful, vibrant, and tenacious characters who act as counterpoints to the stereotypes of

native peoples as an unsophisticated and dying race. (Wolf and DePaquate (90) A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND FAMILY Typically depict older generations playing crucial roles in helping

aboriginal children establish or strengthen their place in aboriginal communities through the passing on of traditional knowledges. AUTHENTICITY OF VOICE

We believe native children should have books that do not demean or embarrass them or their heritage, but neither should they put them on a pedestal or in a glass casechildren who are not native should be able to choose titles about native Americansbe they set in historical or modern timesthat are free of outdated, stereotypical notions

and free of factual errors (Reese) DIVERSITY Despite the diversity of tribe and lifestyle, most books that children read about native Americans are not about a specific tribe. Rather than creating culturally specific

artwork, illustrators have intended to mix elements from different tribes, such as including a tipi and a totem pole COMMON PITFALLS IN SELECTING FIRST NATIONS PICTURE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN

(Unfortunately the list keeps growing) NOT KNOWING ENOUGH As a society, we receive little formal information to be able to notice

errors [when reviewing and selecting books] (Reese) Click icon to add picture The emergence of social media platforms has

created amazing possibilities for indigenous peoples to combat centuries-old stereotypes and misconceptions. Fighting cultural appropriation is not just a way of lashing out at people

engaged at it. There is a real desire to get accurate information out there, for indigenous and nonindigenous peoples alike. (Vowel, 88). CULTURAL APPROPRIATION Until recently, Within childrens literature the

word appropriation usually refers to the taking of stories without crediting the source of the story (Reese) There is a category of symbols in Canadian culture that is restricted within that culture. Not everyone can

use those restricted symbols. There are rules about how you can earn them, who can fashion the symbols for you, who can present you with these symbols,

What you can do with the symbols. (Vowel, 82) MOST APPROPRIATED IN POPULAR CULTURE For the most part, headdresses are restricted items. In particular, the

headdress worn by most nonindigenous peoples imitates those worn traditionally by only a handful of plains nations (Vowel, 84) when authors write outside their own cultures, it is irresponsible not to consult several sourcesthey must be mindful of biases that exist in terms of who prepared the

source, and when.it is necessary to ask expert readers with extensive knowledge of the culture to critique the manuscript prior to publication and to listen to their recommendations (Reese) NOT NATIVE ENOUGH

There are specific protocols (rules) in telling stories that lay this provenance out for those listening. The person telling the story describes how he or she came to know the story, often sharing the circumstances surrounding being gifted with this piece of entertainment and

knowledge. SELECTION CRITERIA Questions to ask when selecting picture books written by and about indigenous peoples IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK TO

DETERMINE AUTHENTICITY 1.Which specific indigenous nation is this story from? (Cherokee, Cree, Dene, Navajo?) 2.Which community is this story from? (e.g. Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Enoch Cree nation. It needs to be a community that actually exists or existed at the specific time a version of the story was told.)

3.Who from the community told this story? Is the story sensitive to the culture presented? Are the facts correct? The terms First Nations or Aboriginal can refer to a diverse group of people, each

with its own culture, language and history. Each is distinct and should be regarded as such in the literature. Common stereotypes: an aboriginal person

depicted as the strong savage, the European as the heartless oppressor. Are Native peoples portrayed as savages, or primitive craftspeople, or simple tribal people, now extinct?

Does the book invite understanding and acceptance? How will it affect a childs selfimage? Who is the author? If the author is not from the culture being written about, does he or she cite references? Does he or she

have a reputation for doing thorough research before writing? What is the authors perspective? Do the text and illustrations complement each other, adding to

the effectiveness of the total book? How is language used? Language should not be used to demean another group. Are there special

words with special meanings? If so, are they explained? 1) In ABC books, is E for Eskimo or I for Indian present? 2) In Counting books, are Indians counted?

3) Are children shown as playing Indian? 4) Are animals dressed as Indians? 5) Do Indians have ridiculous names, like Indian Two Feet, or Little Chief? Is there an ethnocentric Western focus on

material objects, such as baskets, pottery, rugs? Examples include depicting these objects strictly as art, or as a means to trade with Euro-Americans. ARE NATIVE PEOPLES SHOWN AS RELENTLESSLY ECOLOGICAL?

Are elders treated as a dispensable burden upon their People, to be abandoned in times of trouble or famine? Are they portrayed as

querulous, petulant, RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS ADDITIONAL PICTURE BOOKS THAT ADDRESS THE VARIOUS EXPERIENCES IN CANADA 150 years of operation 150,000 children who attended

6000 children (at least) who died while in the system 67 % of schools run by the Roman Catholic church, 20% by the Anglican church, 10% by the United church, 3% by the Presbyterian church

1996 the year the last school closed TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION OF CANADA (TRC) We are explaining what is wrong, why it

happened/happens, and what has to be done in order to create real change (175). THE COMMISSION BELIEVES EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO RECONCILIATION QUESTIONS TO ASK

Dont we learn enough about indigenous peoples in elementary and secondary school? What about

inclusion of indigenous topics in k-12. What about our library collections? YOUNGING SAID THESE ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY EDITORS

ABOUT INDIGENOUS LITERATURE: That non-Indigenous people can write about Indigenous communities and interpret their culture through their own perspectives. That because Indigenous

people are modern, they are no longer authentic. Editors assume that "when Indigenous peoples participate in modernity, they Indigenous people are written about in the past tense, when they are in fact very much alive and

thriving. That Indigenous literature is a subcategory of CanLit. That publishers have the right to publish traditional

stories a trend Younging sees in children's literature.

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