February 26, 2011

Three dubious literary "classics"

In The Education of Little Tree, a children's "classic," generic Cherokee Indians send their boy to a boarding school to be civilized. The book was considered an authentic Indian narrative until its author was revealed to be a white supremacist.

In Little House on the Prairie, another children's "classic," Indians are intimidating and unclean "savages." What most people don't know is that Charles Ingalls was squatting illegally on Osage Indian land and that his daughter the author was a staunch conservative.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Hiawatha is the classic romantic Indian and probably the best-known fictional Indian before Tonto. People have adapted the epic poem into movies, plays, music, and other genres.

For literature that put this questionable literature to shame, see The Best Indian Books


Jaine said...

Interesting, I have been recommended The Education of Little True by two people recently - I tried to follow the links and they wouldn't work but the good literature link worked - thanks, I wont bother with Little True and will read 'Lone Ranger and Tonto fist fight in heaven' instead.

Jaine said...

doh, I mean Little Tree