November 02, 2006

Why the raven is black, etc.

American Indian "Pourquoi" tales"Engage your students in an exploration of Native American heritage through a study of Native American pourquoi tales. Pourquoi tales explain why something or someone, usually in nature, is the way it is. Have your students read a variety of Native American pourquoi tales and then write original texts."

The activity is very popular, most adults did this activity when they were kids. It seems harmless and fun, but is it?

Is it harmless to take a peoples way of thinking about the world and use it as a playful model for a writing activity?

Would you do this with Genesis?
(Excerpted from Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature, 11/02/06.)


Rob said...

I wouldn't have a problem if some English teacher said, "The Bible tells us that God (almost) exterminated the human race with a great flood. Your writing assignment is to think of another way God could've committed genocide on a global scale. Be creative." But I suspect some parents would protest this innocent intellectual exercise.

Rob said...

It may be harmful if someone uses Indians in creative writing without doing it authentically--with the utmost respect and care. It may be harmful even if someone does it authentically.