The children come in from lunch, breathless and windblown. They quickly settle into their chairs so Bernard can start reading.
"The children learn about pioneer life and the pioneer spirit. They see examples of the life skills we talk so much about, like resourcefulness, integrity and caring," she says. "They see a time when family was most important."
I wonder how many Native kids she's read to in those 32 years? She is in Arizona...
How many kids, in these 32 years, heard her say "The only good Indian is a dead Indian."
I wonder how the Native kids felt hearing that, and, I wonder what effect it had on the non-Native kids?
Comment: The problem goes beyond sending a negative message about Indians. It's obvious to me that "pioneer life and the pioneer spirit" are code words for Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism. You can see what author Wilder was really pushing in Wilder the Typical Conservative and my other Little House on the Prairie postings.
If Bernard really wanted to teach about "resourcefulness, integrity, and caring," she could just as easily read a book about Indians. Unlike the pioneers, they had enough integrity to uphold the treaties they signed.
For more on the subject, see The Myth of American Self-Reliance.