February 07, 2007

Another stereotypical children's book

Sharon Creech's Walk Two MoonsThis beautifully written and compelling story is deeply flawed by the “Indian” material that is thrown together with no cultural or historical context and really has nothing to do with anything actually Native. Neither does Salamanca, although frequently referring to her “Indian blood,” and constantly repeating the overdone maxim about “walking two moons in another man’s moccasins.” (In chapter 44, the phrase is actually used nine times in four pages!) Most of what she says—such as that she was given her name because her parents didn’t realize that the name of the “Indian tribe to which my great-great-grandmother belonged” was actually “Seneca”—is ridiculous.

When Sal and her grandma discuss whether to use the term “Native American” or “Indian,” she recalls her mother saying that “Indian sounds much more brave and elegant” and that the “Indian-ness” in their background made them “appreciate the gifts of nature” and makes them “closer to the earth.” Does the author really think that there is some kind of a genetic Indian-earth-nature connection?
(Excerpted from Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature, 2/5/07.)

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