Thursday, April 10, 2008

PC Little House

We are reading Little House on the Prairie now. We read a chapter a night, taking turns. It is great fun; I used to love Little House. My girl would like one aspect of the story changed, however. On her turns at reading, she never says Indian; she always changes it to Native American. I explain that a long, long time ago in 1935, they used the word Indian and it was okay, and that is why the author wrote it that way. She thought about that for a minute and responded that maybe they didn’t know the word Indian might hurt people, but she does. I always read the words as written, but I think she is right I do know better, so I will change my reading to Native American too. PC and history can be tricky!


Claudia in Toronto said...

I'm from Canada. In 1954, I went on James Bay (Rupert's House) as a Registered Nurse to take charge of the Nursing Station of a small village (500 Crees). We called them Indians. Today they are called Autochtones. It means: Natives. Same people! A different name doesn't change the historical fact that we took over the country that was theirs.

I came here via Captain Hogwash. I like his birds. I like your music. Thank you!

Teacher mom said...

Claudia, Thanks for coming by! I agree with you that a name doesn't change what happened. I was just teaching my students about what I think are the three shames of America, What we did to the Native Americans, What we did to African Americans and the Japanese Internment Camps. I think it bodes well though that even six year old know that it wasn't right. Don't you agree that at the very least using the word "Native" sends the message that we do know what our ancestors did was wrong, that we know we live on what was their native land?

Claudia in Toronto said...

Yes! I agree. We should acknowledge that it was done. We cannot return to the past.It was done long ago by our ancestors. We have to make sure that people are treated fairly today with opportunities to become successful, to participate in the building of our nations, to be truly Americans or Canadians. We have to be careful not to encourage entitlements. "You have to do this FOR ME TODAY, because your ancestors did THIS to my ancestors."

It's a big subject and very difficult. I'm sure you're handling it well. You have an interesting, thoughtful blog. All the best.